First Impressions-Breast Pump Bottles, Canvas Bags & Dutch Efficiency

Several first impressions that hit me like a bus several weeks after arriving. My point of reference when Canada is mentioned is really in fact Toronto, the only place I have lived in Canada. If things are different in your part of Canada, I would love to hear about it!

dopper-breast-pump-11. Breast Pump Water Bottles. The footed caps on these Dutch Dopper bottles was something to scratch my head for when I first arrived. Especially when spotted sticking out on the side of a backpack. Perhaps favoured for it’s convenience, you can take it apart and use it as a cup too. Its popularity seems comparable to the North America SIG water bottle. Is there a reason why they look so representative of breastpumps? When my current water bottle breaks I would like to try out one of the Dopper bottles.

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2. It’s not hipster to bring your own cloth bag/used plastic bag for shopping.
Everyone for the most part brings their own bag (tote, canvas, reused plastic, bike basket). I love that about here. Diminishing plastic waste is something that has been growing in Toronto in the last few years. Though most stores now still continue give bags, some paper based, consumers for the most part don’t really need to think about bringing their own. Stores in Toronto charge $ 0.05 per plastic bag, a price that I didn’t like paying but sometimes I paid for it when I didn’t go prepared. I was shocked to encounter grocery stores in the Netherlands that sell plastic bags for € 0.10 – €0.20 (3 to 4 times more expensive than Canada $..!!). Always have a cloth bag handy (a must when shopping without a car).

3. The Dutch are Efficient. The one word I would use to describe the Dutch for most of their approaches and systems (some systems are a little “too efficient” and overly tedious for my habitualized North American approach. Maybe for for another post). Efficiency also  means efficient technology. Here are some examples of the Dutch efficiency I encountered: Continue reading

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Sad Avocados 

Twice a week the open market (farmer’s market) takes place in the city centre. Missing the good old Costco avocado bags, I set out for a mission to find avocados for the best price.

*Disclaimer 1) you are more then welcome to click away if you find avocados or someone rating avocados boring 2) the word avocado will be excessively used in this post. I can’t avoid it hence the post’s title 3) not all farmer market avocados may be of poor quality, this only reflects my purchase experience * 

Having tried the two pack “Eetrijp Avocados” from Jumbo and Albert Heijn I was feeling adventurous in the open market today when the sign “1 kilo for 2 euros” behind the counter called for my attention.  The Eetrijp avocados are always perfectly ripe when I buy them. They always have my thumbs up for the quality. The prices are generally €2.79 or dependent on sales so a little pricey for two avocados I think.

The colours in the market are really lovely. But you gotta haggle and set yourself  up front so the vendor can ask you what you want.  Something I quickly realized after 4 women were served before me even as I was waiting before they arrived at scene.

Meevrouw, een kilo druiven en een kilo avocados alsjeblieft” the few words I could muster. While loading my bike I realized that hmm..more than half the avocados were bruised, damaged and overripe. After contemplating on asking for new ones, I did. The new ones were also. Bruised, damaged and overripe. I gave up and made a mental note that it’s probably safer and more worth my buck to buy avocados from the grocery stores in the future. Continue reading

Basic Dutch Skills, Toegangs and Basterd Sugar

Goedenmiddag~It’s been a little over two weeks since I moved from Toronto to Wageningen (Wagonwagon as my Canadian friends call it). I busied with various registration processes & paper work for the first week, participated in orientation week, met many other nice new students and familiarized myself with the city via fiets (bike) as the Dutch do it.

wageningen sign

Current language level: Albert Heijn Dutch
*as the German comedian described his own language skills when he was new the country
*Albert Heijn is the most known grocer in the Netherlands Continue reading

Introduction- we arrived 


Life packed away. Suitcases loaded. Toronto -> Munich -> Amsterdam.


On the way from the Schipol airport.


After landing, we stayed in Arnhem for the weekend. Before anything else, I’ll let my dad’s first impressions tell you how things are going:

“這裡的水好甜~好棒! “
“The water here tastes incredibly sweet. The water tastes amazing!”
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“這裡的牛奶好棒
“The milk here tastes amazing!”
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“這裡的早餐好棒
“The hotel breakfast here tastes amazing!”
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“這裡的蛋好棒
“The eggs here taste amazing!”
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“這裡的水果好甜~好棒!
“The fruits here taste amazing!”
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“Now I know why you wanted to come here”

Hope you had a good day. I will return with an update shortly.