The Dutch winter and how to survive it

April 15, 2019
  Sometimes commonplaces might be true.

There is one that says: Southern Europeans struggle to survive in the Northern European winter. So, imagine to put an Italian girl in the middle of the Dutch winter and watch her try to survive!

The morning

Light-blue bike parked by a street wallShe gets ready to survive in Jumanji: big boots, scarf, cap, windcheater, rain jacket, hood, ski gloves and – of course – sunglasses. She takes her bike. While she finishes to dry her seat, her glasses are becoming completely wet. Start biking. The wind is against her – it is always against her! It is a strong cold wind that seems to be composed by many tiny blades that scratch her face. She hasn’t realized to have such amount of skin face uncovered! After a while, she thinks she is smarter than the Dutch wind, so she changes direction.  The first big mistake of the day. Dutch wind is always smarter than you! Turned the corner she finds a wind wall. This is the moment she really takes into account the possibility to give up and go by walking. This is also the moment she mostly misses her Vespa. All around, other people ride fast and easy like in a sunny summer day. “I can’t give up now”, she thinks, while at the same time a woman with two kids overtakes her. She can see her destination. "It is done", she thinks. The second huge mistake of the day. It is never done until it is really done. She forgets the pedal brake – panic! – she tries to brake with her feet and she clumsily drops off her bike looking around with embarrassment. Wet, tired and with an expression of fatigue carved on her face due to the wind, she crosses the doorstep of the building. She seems to have finished all the energy of the day, but the day has just begun.

The Evening

People talking at restaurantItalian restaurant. Everybody wants to go to the Italian restaurant. “It will be the last big mistake of this day”, she thinks. She is convinced that it is possible to eat good Italian food only in Italy. She comes in, and all around there is pizza smell, a proper pizza smell. Wow! She is chatting with Dutch and international friends. Everybody speaks about their day. Somebody spent all day in a library. A public library with many International and Dutch books, free Wi-Fi and delicious banana bread. Super! Other visited different museums with a special card, very cheap and convenient. Great! Someone else went to a film library and watched several different old movies coming from all around the world. Fantastic! The Dutch friend shows at the table a video of his canoe training in a canal. He is also saying that during some winter if there is enough ice, it is possible to ice-skate on canals. Incredible! Everybody ask her if the pizza is like those ones you can find in Italy. Definitely! She replies. She would have never thought to give this answer. At the end of the dinner, a newcomer Italian waiter asks her some tips about surviving to the Dutch winter and she suddenly realizes that commonplaces are likely to not be true. “Don't worry” she replies with a big smile “you will survive and you will also enjoy it!”.  

Agnese Soverini, Kickstart student