Warm Apple Juice


I am sitting in the lobby of the cultural center of a small Dutch town. In the concert hall, a fest is being held by a Russian school in the Netherlands. A Dutch father is also playing with his daughter in the lobby. Apparently, an older child together with a Russian speaking mother are at the concert and the younger girl is just not interested.

At a certain moment, the father turns to the lady selling drinks in a cafeteria ‘Can we have apple juice? But only not from the fridge?

At that moment the ‘movie’ should stop and the voice-over should explain. A typical Dutch man is a tall healthy sportive guy two meters tall. He was probably brought up in a quite rigid and strict environment: a lot of time outside, little attention to physical comfort, walking without hats in winter, visiting a doctor only if you are sure you are dying, twenty kilometers cycling to school one way. And all of this is just normal.

And now a voice-over for those who are not familiar with a standard Soviet childhood: you really have to keep your ears, nose, and throat warm, otherwise you will get a cold. Immediately.

…The lady looks at the father surprised and with a ‘Are you crazy?’ impression on her face. But she replied calmly ‘No, everything is in the fridge’. The father does not give up (apparently this is not his first time). ‘Could you please warm it up in the microwave?’ I will not describe the lady’s shocked face. I want to share my thoughts – I was thinking, this is the real intercultural connection. Not sure what you should tell a Dutch man in order to convince him of the necessity of warm apple juice. I think this is just love in its essence.

P.S. One more post, if you want to know about Dutch childcare.