How the Dutch can be second when America comes first

It has been quite a month (or three). I’ve learned to recognize myself as a ‘slow processor’ and now finally dare to say to people: “Sorry, can I get back to you? I need to think that over.”

For the past few weeks I have written many half-finished stories, blogs and articles and nothing got finished. And nothing was any good. Nothing.

I wonder if it’s a real thing: Bloggers Block.


Then it dawned on me: I am processing. So much to process.

The whole Presidential Election: it was weird to me. Surreal. The media, the posts and discussions on Facebook. Trying not to react, trying to sift through what would be good to know and read and what not.

I am exhausted.

And then I got the question: “Still thinking of becoming an American citizen?”


Yes, I am. Not right at this moment, but I think that the United States is where I will spend my life. I believe my kids, now teens and preteens, will find their way around the world, but will end up somewhere in the States.

I believe my husband wants to stay here, working way past retirement. Our future is here, in this great country.


Double Dutch has been quiet. Double Dutch needed time to think (and skate a bit while I had the chance!).

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Photo credit Lynda Millar


I respect all people and lots of opinions. I am still learning how this country’s government works. How democracy translates in the US. What my place and roll is in the US. How I can contribute and how not.

(Non-citizens can’t sign petitions officially, for example. And there are so, so many petitions circulating right now.)

And how I feel to make my native country second.


Nobody in the Netherlands will get hurt if I become a US citizen. No one. The country won’t lose money on me. Nothing will really happen. There is no significant impact for that tiny country in West Europe and neither will there be an impact on this huge country in me becoming a citizen.


I don’t think my friends in the Netherlands will think less of me. I don’t think my friends here will think more of me.


So what is keeping me back (besides the fact that life (as in paperwork) will be a lot easier once my husband celebrates his three-year-anniversary as American citizen.)?

Feelings, I suppose.

Processing time, perhaps.

And then I spotted a little funny video clip from a Dutch TV channel circulating on Facebook and Twitter. ‘Zondag met Lubach’ made a welcome video for President Donald J. Trump. (Fun fact: The ponypark mentioned in the clip is the park I used to work when I was 16 and 17.) I showed it to my teenage son and we both laughed out loud.

But it was the last few sentences that stuck with me: “We realize that it is going to be America first, but can the Netherlands be second?”

And for some reason, this silly video clip helped me process all the information of the pat months, all the events, struggles, thoughts.

We do have the best wishes in the Netherlands and I know that the people in the Netherlands would all wish me well.IMG_8320

And thanks to Arjan Lubach, I finally feel at peace with placing my little country second.

Edith Schriever

About Edith Schriever

I am a Maine-igrant from the Netherlands. While my scientist husband fell in love with the beautiful research institute here, I fell in love with Mount Desert Island. Mountains, ocean, wild life, peace and quiet! A culture change? Yes, a bit. Americans are not at all like the Jerry Springer audience I saw on TV when living in the Netherlands, well, at least not everyone. Portions are big and toilets small and low; I have learned to embrace the cultural differences.