Two years in Norwich

I’ve been living in Norwich for exactly two years today! It seems like yesterday I arrived here, not knowing what to expect but excited to start a new life in the UK…

Of course I am still Dutch “to the klokhuis” as Paul puts it (he once tried to say “to the core” in Dutch but didn’t realize that “klokhuis” is just the core of an apple, not of anything else!), but I did take over some English habits: toast and marmite for breakfast (while Paul eats hagelslag on his toast!), tea with milk (which my family thinks is ridiculous), baked potato for dinner, trifle for dessert, driving on the left (would be a bit dangerous if I didn’t do that… hehe… but I mean I now get confused in the Netherlands!)… and much much more.

Oh I think I should mention The Beautiful South, a music group that seems to be famous everywhere except in the Netherlands so I didn’t discover them till I got here… just in time for them to split up after 20 years! I absolutely LOVE their music and have listened to hardly anything else for the past year. Their lyrics are just brilliant, as Wikipedia puts it: The band’s music was bubbly, catchy, lightweight pop but Heaton’s sour, savage and amusing worldview on everything and anything (alcoholism, religion, sex, politics and, mostly, the down side of relationships) is always lurking beneath the surface of the quirky melodies.

Some things you’ll never see me doing though: eating English breakfast, follow football/rugby/cricket/horse races/dog races etc, laugh at the typical British humour (but I do like Mr Bean!!! And Gromit from Wallace and Gromit), drink as much alcohol as some people here, wear my skirts as short as the girls here… hehe.

Some things about the food here: they think SPRUITJES (Brussels sprouts) are a delicacy… and serve it even for Christmas dinner. Speaking about Christmas dinner, their idea of a Christmas dessert is also a mystery to me – Christmas pudding is weeks old when you eat it and soaked in rum. Fish and chips will never be a favourite (the chips are always dripping with fat and tasteless) – and I will also never put VINEGAR on my chips (who thought that was a good idea??), or cheese for that matter. And they eat WAY too many beans here… If you mention Heinz, they think “baked beans” and not “ketchup”, I thought that was quite bizarre.

They make up for this all by being the best at making cakes and desserts, so I’m not complaining!!

The English language is rarely a problem for me, I am still learning and improving though. My main problems are when we use 1 Dutch word for 2 English words… like “als” is both “if” and “when” – not knowing the difference sometimes gets me in embarrassing problems. And I still can’t do the proper pronunciation of the “th” without spitting ;) I also can’t hear and therefore pronounce the differences between words like: bad/bed/bat or pan/pen. All the same to me… A while ago Paul said something about “debt” and I understood “death” – quite confusing!!

Ok that was enough text, here are some nice photos of Norwich! These are all taken in late July, but never made it to my blog.

The church in the centre with an amazing sky! And the market next to the church.

Norwich Norwich

More photos of the market. This market is open 6 days a week and has lots of good stalls! These photos show some of the typical English customers, see for yourself ;)

Norwich Norwich

Norwich Norwich

This is Elm Hill, a cute old cobbled street in the city centre.

Norwich Norwich

Near the river that runs through the centre:

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The oldest pub in Norwich – Adam and Eve, and a colourful garden:

Norwich Norwich

And the cathedral:

Norwich Norwich

Norwich is beautiful, and I love living here! People often ask me if (when? hehe) I am going back to the Netherlands after my PhD. To be honest, I don’t think so. I don’t have plans to return to the Netherlands at all. Not that I don’t like it there, I love going back but I don’t feel the urge to go back for good. I wouldn’t mind staying in England! We’ll see what happens. At the moment Paul is finishing his PhD and he is applying for jobs in the UK as well as abroad, I’m curious where he will end up as it will no doubt influence my future plans as well!

Ok, that’s all, I should do some more work now!! :)

Hanneke

One Response to “Two years in Norwich”

  1. gerard says:

    Such a great piece of text! And great pictures! I have never read annything like that!

    Just do what your heart tells you.

    It would be great too see, that you stay there and be happy.

    Lots of youngsters want to got out from holland nowwadays. As i read today’s newspaper.

    I agree, why not. If you have the chance. Take it. The world is big enough.

    Greetings! Gerard.

    Is that OK english? :o)