PERSONAL

Delft: Home is Where the Best Stamppot is.

Centrum van Delft

The word ‘home’ has always been an interesting concept for me. As someone who has lived in two homes with my parents and three homes on my own and three -soon to be four- homes with my now-husband, then-boyfriend; the whole meaning of ‘home’ gets rather complicated. As I’m getting ready to move and try the whole ‘living in two different houses in two different countries’ plan (hello commuting), I can’t help but wonder: What makes a house, a home?

Ever changing; sometimes it is your possessions. To give an example, like that vase you put fresh flowers every week, the photo frames you hand picked one by one or -if you enjoy your hot drinks as much as me regardless of what day, time or season it is-, your beloved mugs. Wherever you go as long as you have your possessions, it suddenly becomes home.

Sometimes, it is who you are with. Either it is your family, your significant other or even your pet; wherever they are, everywhere feels like home. It can be your two cats -like my Misa and Taco, your dog by your side or even your fish tank, it doesn’t matter.

And sometimes it is the city itself. It’s very much like that familiar, warm feeling slowly oozing in your chest whenever you wander the streets. It is saying ‘Hi!’ to the café owner every time you pass by, or stopping at the same flower shop every week for some fresh tulips. You know the whole city is your home.

When I think of all the different cities I’ve been and all the houses that I’ve lived in, I realize they have all had a different way of becoming my home. Some are definitely more missed than the others.

All these thoughts bring me to my next destination: Delft. A relatively small city right between Rotterdam and Den Haag, is where I’ll be for the next upcoming years. As I think more about it, it becomes more and more clear that this city already feels unique.

I have certainly traveled to the Netherlands before but it wasn’t until I met my husband that I had the chance to visit Delft. As soon as you step outside of the train station and walk into the old town, this city somehow captures you. Historical, cozy, small and vibrant. Just visiting De Markt is enough to make me feel content. Even doing nothing much but visiting the little cafés scattered in this town is very well enough to fill up my whole day.

That’s why when we’ve decided to get married, it wasn’t so hard to pick the perfect location. We wanted to get married in Delft. Preferably, in the Stadhuis, right at the glorious Markt. And 6 months after that day, we were already making plans for me to start my new study at a new university, in a new house that we have just bought, only minutes away from the cityhall that we’ve gotten married at. Now, I have to admit that was truly something that we would have never thought of only a year before.

Me, joining my husband in a new country this year in March, I am already about the pack my bags once more for a new chapter that awaits us in the horizon. To make things more interesting -or challenging, if you will- instead of one, I will very soon have two houses to call home.

Would I like to have more time to adjust or o simply do everything without have to hurry? Of course! Picking furniture online and trying to squeeze everything to the limited time we had whenever we visit is no easy task, but with the streets of Delft that I so adore in my heart and our new beginning ahead of us, somehow I am not so worried. After all, home is where the best stamppot is.

A little note to all non-Dutchies out there like myself; stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish made from a combination of potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables. These veggie pairings are usually include sauerkraut, endive, kale, carrots and onions. It is best enjoyed during the cold, grey winter months. Certainly more often while feeling homesick.

-Ceren

If you would like to see more photos of Delft, come and find me on Instagram  @crn.spymn !

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Gezelligheid: More of a Feeling Than a Word

I was sitting under the sun, on a chilly but bright day, sipping my fresh mint tea and snacking on a toast with cheese that is decorated with a tiny little Dutch Flag while watching people passing-by either with their dog or a stroller, or sometimes both. On a day like this there is one word that seems to be lingering on everyone’s sentences that I couldn’t help but notice: Gezellig.

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Delft Centrum

 Me being used to asking my husband about explanation when it comes to anything that is related to the Netherlands, I turned to him and asked: ‘What does ‘gezellig’ mean?’

Somehow there was something about this word that got him puzzled. His reply was: ‘You can’t explain it, there isn’t an exact word for it in English.’

But, how? English is a quite extensive language afterall. Surely there has to be some meaning to it, right? Well, the answer is yes and no. From what I understand from my brief search on the internet; it is more of a feeling rather than a word. To get an idea; it is a cozy, comfortable, warm and familiar feeling.

Waking up to a snowy Christmas morning and opening your presents as a child in your warm living room is, for example, gezellig.

Going out to a nice restaurant with your friends and getting tipsy by the candlelight over a delicious dinner and enjoying yourself is, very gezellig.

Coming home after a long day at work and reading a book under a blanket while your cats are laying by your side is also gezellig.

Walking your dog in a park on a day that is just the right temperature, before the city is awake and ending it with a coffee and a croissant from your favourite cafe is, indeed, gezellig.

It is of course different for everyone; but in general everything that makes you feel content, joyous, cozy and maybe even appreciative of what you have can be described with one tiny word and Dutch are embracing it to the fullest!

 If you asked me several years ago how I feel about this whole concept, I would be less than keen about it all, but now, I kind of like it. As if it allows you to be more aware of your surroundings somehow and more connected to that moment instead of being hurled up in the past and overthinking the future. So, when you think about it, isn’t that what ‘mindfullness’ is? Did the Dutch knew about it all along and kept it all to themselves? Hard to say…

I shook my head slightly to get back to the reality of my surroundings. I was sitting on a dinner table, surrounded by few loved ones and having gourmetten that night, by far one on my favourite Dutch traditions. As my father-in-law poured me another drink, my mother-in-law turned to me and asked:

Gezellig hè?’

Ceren

If you would like to see more photos of this little Dutch city Delft, don’t forget to find me on Instagram!

 

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