Thinking virus: Thoughts from an expat living in the Netherlands

I recently moved to The Netherlands where I live with my girlfriend in the city of Den Bosch. Yes, the country of museums, tulips, windmills, and cheese. Yes, there is something missing. Yes, that's what you told your parents when you visited it.


Among thousands of things to do, one caught my thoughts the most: slowing-down to appreciate what we have. I guess everybody, or most, have or ought to have this feeling. Particularly in my case, in the middle of the endless process of learning a new culture, its language and what comes with it, the 'thinking virus' hits me hard. There are things that are way more valuable than what we are busy with most of our days.


'Particularly in my case, in the middle of the endless process of learning a new culture, its language and what comes with it, the “thinking virus” hits me hard.'

While my family is stuck in the south of Italy, in the core of Calabria, I am still waiting for that plane last Friday night (13th March) that would have brought my parents here for a visit. Canceled, like other flights all over the world. Canceled like those hugs that now we bear in our minds, to harness energy and warmth for when all this will be over. I am proud to see such solidarity coming from humans who have discovered something else besides the daily routine dictated by our capitalistic society. Something that we should notice and use not only in desperate situations such as the one we are facing.


The consequences of this pandemic show us also all those funny cultural differences.


Photo by Lorenzo Cerra


From the toilet paper to the parties on the balcony, this picture shows what's going on in The Netherlands. One of the coffee shops here in Den Bosch and its line outside, to store-up some weed for facing an eventual quarantine. A pretty picturesque way to face it. However, the Prime Minister declared the willingness of the country to not go into quarantine, but contrariwise to face the virus the old fashioned way: develop and strengthen your immune defense.


Canceled, like other flights all over the world. Canceled like those hugs that now we bear in our minds, to harness energy and warmth for when all this will be over.

When in danger or scared, the primal emotions come out brighter than ever. I am firmly convinced that the events of the past months and the ones that are yet to occur will deeply shape our world as it is. It falls upon on us to choose which path to take.


In the meantime, we should definitely make the best of it.


This story was shared by Lorenzo Cerra, an Italian sociologist based in the south of the Netherlands.

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