The social interactions

Today’s my birthday! I’m surprisingly fine with (very soon) being closer to 40 than 30. No age crisis quite yet. As Dutch custom has it, I also brought treats for my colleagues. Unfortunately, Dutch custom also has it that the proper way to congratulate someone on their birthday is to kiss their cheeks. And not once, but three friggin’ times per person.

Think of that, and add anti-social me, and you can see why this is not my favorite day of the year.

Fun notes regarding the cheek kissing in NL: iamexpat & stuffdutchpeoplelike.


Proper home made Swedish kanelbullar. (And yes they’re all different sizes because I’m not very good at making them. They were still delicious though.)

Now the monkey comes out of the sleeve!

I work for an American company but almost all my colleagues are Dutch, and communicate mainly in Dutch except when they occasionally switch to English for various reasons. Something they (this may sound like a generalization, but I swear it goes for like 90% of them so it should be fairly correct) like to do is use sayings, which might even turn into a recurring thing here if I keep writing. “Weird Dutch sayings”.

One of the weirder ones is “Now the monkey comes out of the sleeve!”. Supposedly this means that someone is showing their true intentions with something. It has yet to be explained to me in a satisfactory manner exactly where this comes from. Some say it’s involving someone who cheated in cards by having a monkey in their sleeve… sounds dubious to say the least.

They also call @ “monkey tail”, which is kind of cute and not really weird at all if you’re Swedish and have ever called @ “a with a trunk”.