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How do you carry your water with you? I was made aware of this question in the past when a non-Dutch classmate asked me whether he understood the message on my water bottle right. “Neem mij mee in je leven” did that mean “take me with you in your life”? Upon confirming, my classmate gave a concerning smile. And he explained me the irony. However healthy it is to drink water, most consumers do not know that with the water they consume tiny amounts of dissolved chemicals from the plastic bottle it is stored in. The medium is the message.

The result of my fear for plastic bottles.

The shock of learning this came back to me today at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne. The event’s booklet provided a list of what to bring as a visitor: A hat and sunscreen (because we are in Australia, of course) and a reusable water bottle. Now, my water bottle was reusable, because I always refill the bottles of mineral water I buy in the supermarket, but I suspected this was not what they meant. And numerous other visitors confirmed by proudly walking around with their stainless steel water bottles. So I gave in and bought one for myself. After all, I prefer the taste of (Dutch) tap water over mineral water anyway.

Picture taken by me.

Picture was accidentally taken when camera fell out of my hands.

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It appears to me that the further you are away from home, the more you feel the urge to connect to things from home. Speak to people whose family originates from the Netherlands or who have visited briefly once in their life unleashed a happy feeling. I even found myself eager to sing along with Dutch songs I normally would never listen to at home.

Me in front of a poster at Melbourne Southern Cross station.

Thus, I found myself greatly at home in front of this huge poster of Amsterdam presented by an airline operator Emirates at Melbourne’s Southern Cross station. I actually always feel desperate when mentioning Amsterdam to people who want to know where I’m from, because The Netherlands are so much more than their capital. But even if I don’t live there it feels like my home, and I hope I am excused living close by and having worked there.

Tweets (Dutch and English)