Living in the “Low Lands” with the Tallest People in the World
With an average height of 6’ (185 cm) and myself being 154 cm I decided to move here. Why? Education is good, price of it cheap and it’s an all in all beautiful country. But is it the only place with such qualities, probably not. So I should say that the primary reason can be stated as unknown.
My fair share of short-girl struggles has been quite extensive as it’s my second year here and well, everyone is freaking tall. However, I can still thank the Dutch education system quality that encourages many internationals to join in the battle of surviving in the tall-people habitat. Neck hurts So for all the future shorties coming in or for the curious minds that want to have a little laugh and hopefully lace with a bit sympathy here is my diary of surviving in Netherlands 101.
- Nationality jokes
“So all the people in Bulgaria are that short?” or “You’re not Dutch, right?” and another comments in that nature can literally annoy you to death. But living here, has made very much used to the Dutch humor or sarcasm. Now, it’s just funny and may I say smart comebacks help. A lot. I have made myself repertoire mostly about Holland’s flatness and people being taller than they should, obviously, but that’s where I am so I am allowed to embrace it. Right? Do mind that annoyance can be present but don’t worry no-one has charged with offence yet.
- Jokes in general
“How’s the weather down there?”, “You would win limbo every time, and you don’t even have to bend backwards.” (There more about bending but this is not the place for them.), “Aren’t you still in high school?” Some of the many jokes us shorties have to hear, well, saying everyday won’t be big word so yeah every day. Depending on my current mood or the hours of sleep the previous night the situation can go two ways. One, I laugh it off or say something about the fact the poisons are usually in small bottles and two I get annoyed and say a swear word or two. Nevertheless, it’s something we are reminded all the time, particularly in the country with the tallest people in the world so embracing it works best just not when it’s too early in the morning and my mouth hasn’t tasted coffee yet.
- Bike problems
I got two words for you. Children’s bikes. Pretty much the only option, because Dutch bikes are huge. Once I saw one that was actually taller than me. The question how was in my mind for the whole day and still haunts me sometimes. But back to what actually suits people that are not as tall, as I said children’s bikes. It’s embarrassing, and sometimes they have stickers (people here usually buy them second-hand) which of course creates even more jokes, you can’t cycle as fast and that means if you’re cycling somewhere with friends at the and you end losing them on the way or are just as sweaty as you can get while trying to reach their speed. Believe me, I never could. Then, there is the fact that heels are a no. To me at least, I have seen women cycling in stilettos here and how they do it is beyond me. I tried once and I fell off my bike. Twice.
- Bus expenses
The whole heels problem brings me to the second problem. Bus expenses. Public transport is pretty expensive and you either swap heels for you little bike or just ride the bus. And let’s admit it, it is way more comfortable, and for all of lazy girls and fashionistas life just gets easier. Yes, you pay more, but you can wear your tallest booties and your mini skirt, not be sweaty (kind of the most important one) and look like a million bucks. That is what I say when they ask me why don’t use the bike. And in my defense, I am not totally trying to mask the fact that I am too lazy to cycle or maybe I am but that’s a secret…
- Bathroom mirrors
No consideration whatsoever that there are shorter people in this country in literally every bathroom I’ve been in. Usually I see half of my head in the bathroom mirrors or there have been occasion that I don’t even see that which leaves me jumping around to check if my make-up is okay. Upside is you add a little exercise but if it’s in a public bathroom you may get a few “She is weird” looks from the girls around you.
So I recently moved to a new place that is a pretty old building and the municipality decided to renovate it and just as I moved they were done with the whole house. I remember it was one of the first times I was cooking in the kitchen trying to reach a plate and my landlady came in swearing in Dutch saying that while reconstructing the cabinets had to be put higher as people are now even taller and it is a an actual requirement. Interestingly enough, my land lady is not the tallest person either so trust me cooking in that kitchen requires a ladder or something. Struggle is real, people.
- Shoe sizes
This one is a bit weird as I thought that living in a place with such tall people, they would actually have my shoe size but no. I rarely find my size in shops, and once I spotted these amazing boots and they were on sale and they didn’t have my size and I asked a sales assistant who just said they don’t bring in a lot of pairs of smaller sizes cause they end up without selling them. And the boots were so cute…
- Clothes sizes
Same goes for clothes, but there is a great upside here. Children’s department. Yes, people I sometimes shop there and according to H&M’s height requirements I am a 12-year old. Yayy me. I chose to not look at that as pathetic but as an opportunity to spend less money (poor student life) and have seen kids’ collection recently, they are pretty good. Don’t judge, I know I am not the only shorty doing it…
- Partying problems
Yeah, it can be said. I have had people crushing into me or spilling their drink all over my head and then saying “I didn’t see you there”. Like that is fun. Also losing my friends in the crowd of tall people. Not fun, I had to go home alone once to find them there thinking I had left before them. Otherwise it’s really fun, people here do know how to party…
- Finding a boyfriend
Last but not least, there is finding a boyfriend or in other words, me trying to think of a reason why I don’t have one, yet. So as I pretty much reach their waist, I mean it won’t even be cute, even though I do really like tall guys. There is a line, though and then it can be exhausting having to wear heels. All. The. Time.
With one last note, I can just say that despite everything, I just love it here. Everyone is amazing and embracing my shortness is something I’ve done a while ago. Hopefully, I have made you all laugh as my seriousness here is as tall as me. Till next time, my lazy petite fashionistas…