Hubby is my constant companion in life and travels. I asked if he wanted a nickname for the blog, something more interesting than “Hubby,” but being the practical being that he is, he declined – Hubby serves the purpose.
You can read a bit of our story here. Dating and marrying a foreigner definitely has its perks. For one thing, you get to learn about a different culture and explore the country through a local’s eyes. Like most Americans, I didn’t know much about Holland beyond Amsterdam’s image of a free-for-all crazy sex and drug-induced city. I’ve visited Holland three times so far and I’ve only visited Amsterdam twice – once for an overnight visit and twice on day visits. Being with Hubby means that I get to explore a side of the country that most tourists don’t.
Hubby lived in a city called Monster, part of the municipality Westland. No, it doesn’t have a special meaning in Dutch. Well according to Hubby it doesn’t. I have yet to find out why the city is called Monster so let me know if you do! Monster just about 10 mins south of The Hague. When we first met, Hubby said that he comes from a place full of greenhouses. I didn’t realize how prevalent the greenhouses are in that area until I saw photos. Literally, there are rows and rows of greenhouses in the area. The area is known for supplying Europe and beyond with flowers and vegetables. What is most striking is that while in the U.S., you wouldn’t see this type of industry except in the rural areas with very few residents, in Westland there are houses right next to and between the greenhouses. And again, it’s only about 10 mins away from a major international city. Holland is a very dense country so they have to make use of the land as wisely as possible.
Showing a tourist around has forced both of us to see more of our own country. When you grow up in an area, you tend not to explore it beyond your everyday routine. I’d never gone to Alcatraz Island and the last time I visited the Golden Gate Bridge was when I was about 5. Likewise, Hubby had never visited the Anne Frank or Van Gogh museums.
Sharing certain aspects of my own culture with a foreigner has been, and still is, an adventure. Maple syrup, biscuits, fluffy pancakes, and big trucks are just some of Hubby’s favorite American things. Throw in the fact that I am Chinese-American with no prior exposure to Europeans, and he is from a small town with hardly any minority population, and you get quite an interesting experience. I’m still trying to get Hubby to slurp his noodles. He’s still trying to get me to remember to bring my reusable shopping bags to the market.
Traveling with your significant other definitely requires a lot of patience. I admit I very quickly lose my patience and can become a b**** very quickly, a snarky comment just waiting to roll off my tongue. Hubby luckily is very calm and rational. So while I’m spinning around like a crazy woman, he just figures I’ll eventually tire out and waits for that moment to happen. Sometimes the silent treatment doesn’t work really well. Like when I complained to Hubby that my feet were hurting (lesson learned – choose comfort over style, even if it’s Paris) but he insisted we keep walking till we reached the Arc de Triomphe. I was so mad I refused to climb up with him. When I realized he wasn’t coming down to apologize and get me, I went up but by the time I climbed the 283 steps, it started raining hard. I have no one else to blame except myself for that one.
Of course there is no one else I’d rather be with. I appreciate his calmness and definitely his ability to find our way to any location just by looking at a map. So in the coming months there will be posts on Hubby’s dear homeland in addition to our other adventures. Hope you enjoy.