With the diamond capital of the world not far away in Antwerp, our wedding anniversary around the corner, and LOTR always on our minds, you might expect this post to be about jewelry. Not so. Unfortunately.
The unexpected rings in the Netherlands are at the front door and they are numerous. Does the closed gate at the top of the driveway give pause? Nope. How about two big dogs running toward said gate barking their heads off? Nope. I think the only way to bypass this part of the expat experience is to do away with the front door.
In our first few months here it was often helpful folks at the door. For instance, the team that cleaned the windows for the previous tenant dropped by with their card. The neighbors came with a bouquet of flowers to welcome us and have us over for coffee. The police rang to inquire about a break-in on our street, had we heard or seen anything around 11pm the night before.
In the US we might have the occasional unexpected knock from missionaries–haven’t seen them in Holland yet, though I’ll be sure to invite them to my church as usual. So who’s at the door? (Anyone else humming a song now?) Usually charitable solicitation folks for animal rescues, refugees, Doctors without Borders, etc. You name it, they’ve been by my house. Their visits are not only legal but encouraged. Ones with locked piggy banks want a bit of change. No biggie. Ones with paperwork want to sign you up for a monthly gift via direct bank transfer. (Highly discouraged by our boss.) Ones carrying nothing, well…they might have just hit your car.
At Dutch culture class I asked our local instructor if I was expected to answer the door or if I could hidey-hole away and ignore the ringing summons. “Oh no, you should answer.” She said, “Why not? It would be rude not to.”
Huh. Funny how the ringers didn’t think it might be rude to interrupt what I was doing. Oh–there’s the door bell again. Gutter drainage cleaners will be blocking my driveway for the next few hours. Too bad that won’t keep the ringers away.
Kristin King is an author, publisher, mother of 4 sons, president of a nonprofit, and American expat living in Holland. She’s got nothing going on that someone should worry about interrupting. Her first book series, Begotten Bloods (BB), is paranormal romance/suspense.