As you near the one-year mark of living in the Netherlands, you realize that not only are you accustomed to living Dutch, you ARE Dutch. How do you know?
You understand there is no description more dismal than “ongezellig,” and (bonus point!), can pronounce this word using proper fricative g’s and accompanying note of disproval.
You understand that “leuk,” and “lekker” both mean nice, but that lekker means nice to the senses, such as tasty, warm, or luscious, and should probably not be used to describe your colleague or your boss. Bonus point, you can use the words “leuk,” “lekker” and “gezellig,” properly nuanced, in one sentence.
You appreciate the economy of using one word, “snoepen,” to refer to the act of eating sweets and perhaps doing so on the sly.
You routinely add the diminutive “je” to everyday words. Bonus point, you can ask for a “mesje” (knife) and not be misunderstood as asking for a “meisje” (girl). Important if you happen to be near a red light district!
You no longer giggle when you see the street names “Fockstraat” and “Kockstraat,” and can say the words “uitvaart” and “rondvaart” with a straight face.
When shopping for cheese, you understand the difference between “jong” (young) and “belegen” (mature) and (bonus point!) understand that “jong belegen” is not an oxymoron.
You can distinguish between yogurt and kwark. And, (bonus point!) you prefer kwark.
You have an Albert Heijn bonus card and always have your own bag handy.
You think of “haring hapjes” (raw herring) as Dutch sashimi.
You understand that “half seven” is 6:30, not 7:30.
You can say “24” as “4 and 20” without thinking of blackbirds baked in pie.
You are no longer surprised when traffic comes to a halt so that the bridge on the road can lift up and let several boats go by.
You stop mentally placing the word “death” in front of the Dutch word for stair, “trap.”
You think Douwe Egberts, not Starbucks.
You continually complain about the weather and, (bonus point!) have referred to it as “hondeweer” (dog weather).
You believe that bicycle traffic signals are only suggestions.
You can lock your bike to just about anything, can locate it when you get back, and (bonus point!) can extricate it from the dozens of bike parked all around it without knocking most of them over.
You can drink coffee and text while riding your bike, (bonus point!) sometimes both at the same time.
You understand there is no arguing with “dat kan niet.”
You buy fresh flowers just because they are so pretty and (bonus point!) so cheap.
When inadvertently making eye contact with people through curtainless windows, you smile and wave and they smile and wave back.
You can identify drop (black licorice) by sight, and (bonus point!) you like the salty ones.
You know that animals speak Dutch, too: cows boe, frogs kwaken, pigs knor, birds tjilpen, and chickens say “tok tok.”
You can read all the Dutch subtitles on English TV programs and (bonus point!) have learned all the important epithets in doing so.
You can no longer imagine living anywhere else!