Coming to America!

Amanya Gonzales, Writer

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Known for its Van Gogh museum and jaw dropping landscape, the Netherlands sound like something out of a Disney movie. However, to Marijn Plomp, it’s just home.

Imagine learning another language and moving across the world. For Marjin, this is reality. Coming from the Netherlands, Plomp has decided to make a dramatic change in her life and stay a year in Elkhart.

While foods such as meals as burgers and snacks like Hot Cheetos sound normal to Americans, it is all new to Plomp. However, during her short time in America, Plomp has already found a liking to certain foods. Her favorite by far, she admits, is fudge. “I really love the way it tastes!” Plomp exclaims. In contrast, this may not seem uncommon for American teens to eat it, but it’s not what she is used to. A typical dish Plomp recounts from home is a dish called Stroopwafels. Essentially, it is a waffle made brown sugar, butter, flour, and one extra-special ingredient—caramel.

Yet, beyond the food itself, the entire dining experience is intriguing to Plomp. “Fast food is so good and is my absolute favorite thing to eat,” she confides. “The best place I have eaten at so far has to be Five Guys.” Despite having the bigger chains such as McDonald’s, the Netherland’s lacks some of the smaller, more cherished chains locals take for granted.

Not only is the food different but the culture is beyond one’s wildest imagination. The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch and is, therefore, what most of its residents speak. The Dutch are said to be more independent and focus on the individual rather than a community, Plomp explains. One trait that matters to the Dutch, she says, are manners. In the Netherlands, it is considered rude to place one’s elbows on the table or leave the table at all—even to use the restroom! While this may seem odd to this generation of Americans, it is just their normal to theirs. When greeting each other, she adds, it is not uncommon for them to kiss each other on the cheeks or maintain strong eye contact. Although Americans are not as “touchy-feely,” Plomp notes the extreme kindness and friendliness she has received. “In America, it is more common for people to give compliments than back home,” she observes. “I am not used to people always telling me such lovely things, and it really makes my day.”

So far, the experience has been truly enlightening. “In my short time here,” Plomp states, “I have already learned so much. The culture and people of America are very different from the people back home.” In the three months she has resided in here, Plomp has discovered new tastes, new music, and an entire new culture. “The music is much different!” she adds. Selena Gomez is one of the musicians that I love the most! Her music is so good, and it isn’t like the typical music from back home.”

A common saying everyone is bound to have heard is Go big or go home. From cities like L.A. to the mile-high burgers, all in America can be described as super-sized. “Back home, everyone rides their bikes or walks,” Plomp explains. “In America, everyone drives and Ubers. It is a whole lot bigger and fast paced.”

The future seems big and scary, but for Plomp, it’s exciting. “I hope to be happy,” she notes. “I have always wanted to live somewhere else, and America always looked cool. Not only that, but I have always wanted to learn another language.”

   Even though Plomp has only lived in Elkhart for three months, it shows she is ready for a brave new world. After all, Plomp is wild at heart!