Member Mumble #7 Nena Namysl
I am currently sitting in an empty house. All my roommates have gone home, to Spain, Italy, Belgium, America. Some will come back next term, some won’t. I will not. I cannot describe how weird it feels that I might never see some of them again. Even weirder that this, the University of Kent, was my home for three months and I will probably never live in it again, I don’t even know when or if I’ll be back to visit it. A few weeks back, when I started writing the member mumble, I asked my roommates what I should write about.
‘About us, duh!’ they replied.
At that moment, we were saying goodbye to yet another one of my roommates, the youngest of us and the only fresher and non-international from London. He is having a very dramatic (and staged) goodbye with one of the Americans on the song ‘goodbye my lover’. We are playing it every time someone leaves, and right now I’m playing ‘All by myself’ on a loop. As I cannot describe how that feels, I’ll go over every crazy thing they taught me about their countries.
Even though I could get along really well with the Americans, it became clear that the European cultures differed so much from theirs. Women really do walk around with guns in their pockets and pepper spray on their keychain. If it’s not Vegas, they can’t gamble. In the state Tennessee it was, until recently, impossible to buy alcohol on Sunday, and they can never by it after 8 p.m. (that just doesn’t make sense to me, isn’t that the appropriate time to drink). My roommates drive cars and own guns, but can’t drink. And Trump, I realised that is all we hear about America these days, but there is so much more to know. Something funny I learned is that Belgians celebrate Sinterklaas, but they do it a little different than us. They celebrate it on the 6 th of December and leave tangerines and beer out for the Sint and his helpers. The Sint rides a donkey instead of a horse, and to them that makes total sense. Those who do not know our tradition were stunned after I showed them pictures of Sinterklaas en Zwarte Piet. I tried to explain, but those pictures just don’t help. My time in England has made me appreciate my own culture. Thank god for our flat landscape. Thank god for bikes, and buses and trains that come on time and which I can afford (thanks to student OV, but still, it’s cheaper). Being in England has given meaning to what it means to be Dutch, and I have to say, I believe it’s one of the best cultures to be a part of.