For four weeks, we swapped homes with Cora and Hans, a sweet and fun-loving couple from the Hague. We got to experience city life in the Netherlands (bikes, history, gin and very tall people), and they got to try on Southern living for a minute (heat, churches, music and hospitality). They wrote up a few thoughts about their time here in the States for me to post here. It’s always interesting to view your home through the eyes of an outsider. So take a look at what they saw.
Big n Beautiful by Hans and Cora
Talking about over-weight people (unbelievable by the way, never seen in our whole lives, so many and so huge), the toilet problem seems a minor detail to us. It looks like a phenomenon that found fertile circumstances in the USA.
A big country with endless space, limitless resources and people that are proud to show the world they enjoy.
Nashville has space, a lot of space (500 inhabitants/km2; The Hague 6359 inh /km2). For stand alone housing and for cars. At least for the middle and high class people space in and around the house is a normal thing.
Coming from the big n beautiful motto, houses are relatively big and comfortable. As far as we can see, big, comfortable and attainable by car are crucial in the way public and private space is designed. It has nothing to do with a laziness of American people. Although lots of roads have an indicated bicycle lane, no way that a bike is an appropriate device of transport.
So what do you do in Nashville when it’s so hot (and there are so many bugs and mosquitoes)? Going from the air-conditioning at the house to the air-conditioned shopping malls, restaurants or bars. Why are they so cold that you are freezing? In the Netherlands cafe’s temperature is high so people will drink more.
Shopping Americans visit a mall where all kind of shops are gathered and there is enough space for parking. There are no separate shops for bread, meat, vegetables etc. Always you have to go by car. Never going by bike or walking, always needing the car is in our opinion really not comfortable.
What are you doing when living four weeks in other people’s house, like Ashley asked? We don’t have any urge to snuffle in any kind of stuff like paperwork. But of course we look in every cupboard in the kitchen, out of curiosity and moreover we want to see how Ashley and Justin cook, what they eat (and Cora couldn’t manage her impulse to put up the hairpiece of Ashley, or is it Justin’s?)
We tried to build one food processor of the various components, but that was quite difficult :-(. Not one we could use. A few hours later we noticed that there was in a light in the plug in what caused that it didn’t function at that moment.
We had a wonderful time in Nashville. All music shows were really fascinating. We exchanged the car too, so we could go everywhere. Ashley has a super car which brings us everywhere. Although in our opinion it’s a big one, there are bigger ones here in Tennessee :-). We are in love with the pick-ups! We cannot imagine that every man driving a pick-up needs it to carry material for work or so.
And is the environment not an item in Tennessee? Could you not hang up your clean wash outside instead of spoiling energy while using a dryer (I suppose it’s not meant the way we did)?
Nashville you have to discover, it takes time to find all the different interesting places, miles away from each other.
The friendliness – people are definitely more polite and more friendly than in our country- we would like to export to the Netherlands, always the question how you are doing, always saying something friendly.
Going back to the bed item. Why do we have two mattresses? It’s a matter of luxury. At a certain grown up age 🙂 you don’t like it anymore that with each little movement of your partner you wake up to move with him/her. So you can split the mattresses, keep one eiderdown to live in love together.
– Hans and Cora
I also wanted to post Hans’ enlightening comments following my post about Dutch toilets, for anyone who may not have seen them: