UnHoly Smoke! from Expatrordinary Amsterdam




Living in a new country gives you certain perspective. You see things differently than at home, sometimes better and sometimes not. I am in the honeymoon phase. Life is pretty cool, the city is amazing, the people are great. We’ve suffered through a few hiccups, but overall it’s been smooth sailing and we are excited for this experience. This tolerant and open socialist society feels a lot like home but way more liberal. While many things have changed in the Netherlands since living here 20 years ago, some have not. One of them is the amount of smokers. I think there are more of them.

Sitting in my new Dutch living room complete with double-wide windows and beautiful stained glass at the very top and 14 foot ceilings and reading or watching my AMERICAN Netflix, (if you need to know the secret to getting this here, message me), it creeps in. I have already grown to love opening these enormous windows without screens here, and love that fresh Dutch air, but even with them closed, the smoke creeps in. I feel it necessary to cough and say, how? I need some kind of smoke removal system in my house of non-smokers. Smoke seeps in from everywhere…. I hate it. I am a non smoker. As is my family. We are a family of cigarette haters.

Every morning if I don’t have my sweeper in hand, I kick the cigarette butts out of the way of the front of my flat. I tossed the idea round to husband and daughter about putting a sign in the window – please do not smoke in front of the windows, but my husband said “No, we live in Europe, you have to just suck it up.” Then I say, “Was it as bad as this the last time we lived here?” And my husband reminds me, “Yes, you didn’t like it then either.” I guess I blocked that negative out. Living in the city on a street that gets a fair share of walkers… and smokers, we have to suck it up – literally. I guess that old saying is true, “You have to take the good with the bad.” The good news is I will certainly appreciate the next time I am home and see all those NO SMOKING signs.


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