Real Talk: Wanting & Having

Sun tea by Morethanexpat

I am working on my 2013 Summer Bucket LIst. Yesterday, my husband found this 2 liter jar for me that will work nicely for sun tea. Apparently, sun tea jugs – the gallon-sized, glass jars with a wide mouth, screw top plastic lid with carrying handle, and plastic spout jutting out the side – have not made it to The Netherlands yet. Growing up in the Midwest, these are synonymous with Summer for me.

Add it to the list of the things you cannot find here. Another thing I cannot find are adult and child sized reusable, plastic drink bottles. I like having a plastic bottle with a cap that can go through the dishwasher and that I can fill up at home before I leave the house. And it needs to fit into my stroller caddy. A stroller caddy (under 50 euros) also does not seem to exist here.

In the end, I brought all of these things home with us from the U.S. last month. I bought E four Playtex insulated, no spill sippy cups and myself two Rubbermaid water bottle. Thanks to Amazon, I picked out two different types of stroller caddies and my mom gave them to me for my birthday. I know, sexy gift, right? But it was exactly what I wanted.

I even had trouble finding similar (priced) items on Amazon.co.uk that could be shipped to The Netherlands. What do they expect parents here to do? Let their kids drink out of glasses? Yes, that is exactly what more patient and attentive parents do. Or maybe other children are not as obsessed with turning their cups upside down, creating a puddle of liquid, saying “Uh Oh!”, and then fixating on cleaning up the mess with a paper towel. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat….

I have lived in The Netherlands for eight years. I have learned to live without many things. For the rest, there is either Amazon.co.uk or my mother sending/bringing over care packages to us. Partly by choice, but mostly out of ignorance, we live with less stuff than I think we would if we live in the U.S.

Most people do here. Why? Houses are smaller. The savings rate is higher. They do not know any different. And, for better and worse, capitalism is not as strong. Maybe it is because The Netherlands is relatively small. I mean how big are the adult and child sippy cup markets in a nation of 16.7 million people?   

I am no saint. When I shop here, I catch myself day dreaming about roaming the aisles of Target or Kohl’s. I cyber stalk Amazon.co.uk at night. When I visit the U.S., I bring back suitcases full of new stuff. My husband (a Dutchie) and I have even entertained the idea of opening popular U.S. stores in The Netherlands.

On the other hand, the predatory side of capitalism also does not really exist. In the late 90’s, credit card companies never gave away credit cards and t-shirts to teenagers at college campuses (like at mine). Sub-prime house loans were never a big thing here. For instance, my husband was furious last weekend when he saw that a well known bank had placed an ATM machine outside a casino in our neighborhood. My initial response was, “That is capitalism. It is a person’s choice to use the ATM and to go to a casino in the first place.” It seemed completely logical to me and, if anything, I was surprised a bank had not thought of this earlier. My husband found it predatory and unethical. I agreed. But, so what?  

My husband compared it to opening up a liquor store next door to a rehab clinic. I refrained from telling him that a Dairy Queen we visited during our trip to the U.S. to see my parents is in the same parking lot as a gym and a Weight Watchers, but that he had not even noticed.   

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2 thoughts on “Real Talk: Wanting & Having

  1. I am fairly sure they sold sippy cups in Italy too. And Italians are behind on just about EVERYTHING in Europe. That’s interesting. Maybe they just use bottles longer?

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