I looked at him, mildly surprised that would say that to me, and smiled. “Sorry, I don’t. I’m just visiting.” I could’ve explained to him that I was visiting the Netherlands for a story in my publication, and I already speak two other languages besides English. I could’ve told him that I used Spanish to communicate with the young barista who spoke little English (his parents were from Spain who immigrated to the Netherlands). Well, I just let it go and continued my work while he mumbled something under his breath.
Interestingly, most Dutch I had met in my four-night stay in the Netherlands were also fluent in English, like many Norwegians and some Germans I had encountered during my travels in northern Europe last April. The amount of bilingualism and trilingualism (and sometimes even more!) among many Europeans surprised me a bit. And looking back at my last traveling adventure, I never expected that writing and publishing would take me to many places that I did not expect to go so soon.