Sure, I am Always Talkin’ Food, but I teach NT2 (Dutch as a second language) on the side. Mainly to young foreigners who came to Amsterdam for or with love. For privacy reasons the names in these columns are fictitious.
We are on a so called “field trip”. I was rather dreading this part of the course because of the images on my mind of tour guides with umbrellas in their raised hands and a string of docile devotees following them like ducklings.
But my students see this very differently. They always operate in groups anyway. And they love treasure hunts and games.
The field trip is therefore the most popular component of the language course. Apart from the borrel in the kroeg, where we drink biertjes and play games – maybe a crossword puzzle or the very retro Pim-Pam-Pet.
In Dutch, of course.
‘Do you speak Dutch with your partner?’ I ask my students during our field trip.
They all answer in the negative. English is without exception everybody’s official language, even though they all came here with their Dutch love.
Not that they don’t want to speak Dutch, but their partner finds these slow talks too tiresome.
To me it seems such a waste, dismissing a free private teacher in your own home.
While my students are searching for a plaque with an old Dutch proverb on it, I see a friend of mine coming towards me.
She curiously wants to know who I am with.
After my explanation, she immediately shifts to English.
‘They speak Dutch, you know,' I chuckle. ‘This is a Dutch class.’
‘Dan zal ik heeel lang-zaam praa-ten… (then I'll speak vee-ry sloow-ly)' she articulates as if talking to an aunt who is hearing impaired.
‘You really don't have to.’
My friend then approaches my students in Dutch, only to automatically switch back to English halfway through. She admits laughingly in English: 'Sorry. I can't help myself.’
Later when my friend is out of earshot, the Argentinian Evita remarks dryly: 'Look, it wasn’t us.’
More than a kroeg
If it looks like a kroeg and it feels like a kroeg, then it still could be something much more than a regular Amsterdam kroeg with biertjes. Like the newly opened Café twee prinsen, which not only serves great bites, but also beautiful wines. Think: burrata with chilli oil. Think: orange wines. The brownish decor is just so very Amsterdam, and so is the stoepterras (sidewalk terrace).
Café twee prinsen - coffee, lunch, wine & snacks, Prinsenstraat 27, Amsterdam. 7 days from 10 AM till late.
Thanks for reading Always Talkin' Food! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.