Sixteenth day (Or: Flowers for sale)

Today Marco went back to work after the holidays. It has been pretty interesting having the apartment to myself, but unfortunately I didn’t get as much work done as I had hoped.

One of the things that I started on was reviewing Dutch pronunciation, in the hopes that I would be able to figure out how to say new words without giving Marco a blank stare. Little things like realizing that most vowels can be doubled: aa, ee, oo, etc. But ‘ii’ doesn’t exist – it is written as ‘ie’ instead, like ‘bier’. But mostly the diphthongs annoy me – ou, etc.

After lunch I decided to venture outside for a while and walk to American Book Center. Even with Google Maps it wasn’t that easy – although it was mainly just trying to get my bearings (again). Amusingly, the walk home was much quicker and easier. But at least now I know how to walk back there without a map.

Somewhere along the way I took a picture of some flowers for sale:

flowers for sale in the Hague

When I walked to the apartment entrance, another person who lived in the complex was coming out of the door with her dog. She said hallo so I said hi back. But then she said something else, and I wasn’t quite sure exactly what it was. But all I got out was a confused “um…” before she said Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! (Happy New Year) which at least I understood. But then my brain was still in English mode and I said “you too!” before the Dutch started to slip into my thoughts. (For the record, she grinned a bit and said something minor in English after; I forgot what.)

It’s been interesting listening to Dutch news today. So far I have battled with teletekst (channel 888 – subtitles for certain channels)  trying to get that figured out. It’s technically for people who are hard of hearing but it’s obviously helpful for foreigners as well. But not every channel has it, and sometimes it is not really obvious which channels do and don’t support it.

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