On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


The Continuing Saga of Ahmed's Mother

We started getting wrong-number calls for Ahmed's mother again this week. They seem to be calling from his school, which begs the question: why don't they ask him what his phone number is?

The third call was particularly annoying:

Me: Hello?

Woman on phone(in Dutch): blah blah blah moeder van Ahmed blah blah blah

Me: Spreekt u engels?

Woman on phone (with a big sigh and major attitude): Oooh, I see. You want me to talk in English.

Me (pissed that someone would call my house and cop attitude about me not speaking Dutch): Yeah, I guess so if you want to talk to me.

Woman on phone (a bit taken back that I'd challenge her): Oh ok. blah blah blah Ahmed's mother...

As soon as I got off the phone, what-I-should-have-said immediately raced through my mind. Had I had a split second more to think about it, she would have gotten an earful about calling my house and acting like a beotch. A couple of more seconds to think about it and I might have gone way off.

It's one thing to be annoyed with me when I'm out and about in the tightly-cramped Dutch world. It's another thing to come into my space and act all superior. Except for Soo, who teaches himself obscure languages for fun, there's no real reason for me to learn Dutch except to be polite while I'm living here. But as I pointed out recently, no one believes Americans when they're polite anyway.



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