I always forget about this story but once a month a little reminder rings through the air and I have a good chuckle. So, I figured why not share this story so you guys can have a good chuckle as well. This is my 12 o’clock alarm story.
You’re going to need some backstory otherwise this story might not be so funny. Here in the Netherlands, they ring an alarm on the first Monday of every month at 12pm. The ‘luchtalarm’ is a siren or alarm to warn the residents of dangerous situations. I’m directly translating this from the Wikipedia page and it’s messing up my flow. I’m going to read ahead and translate everything into my own words. Basically, it’s an alarm system that can be used to warn the population when there is a danger. I had no idea that the Netherlands had this system at the beginning of my stay here but I recognized the sound from the movies and my first thought was BOMBS!
I must have been here maybe three weeks when it happened. Everything was new to me and I just started to get comfortable with everyday life. I remember I was at the house, doing my chores and getting ready to walk the dog when the alarm went off for the very first time. I freaked out. All I could think off was bombs! Shit just hit the fan! We’re under attack! What the hell do I even do? Do I lock and board up the house and hope for the best? Do I go get the kids out of school? Do I go sit in the basement? I hid under the table as I waited for the alarm to stop. I had no idea what I should do and I was terrified. In the back of my mind was like oh you leave South Africa for a bright future and safe life and not even a month in you get killed by bombs? Wonderful! I was two seconds away from calling my parents and utter my dying words when the alarm stopped. I waited, terrified under the table for well the bombs. Once I noticed that nothing happened, I googled what the hell just happened and laughed myself silly when I saw that this was something they did regularly. They do this because they test and control the system. See if it works and can be heard but also to remind the public about the alarm. In November 2015 they stopped ringing the alarm in two cities with a high foreign population mostly because similar to me, they freaked out when they heard this. It’s also for those who had to flee their country because of a war. When I saw this, it warmed my heart. It’s so sweet that they would be so considerate of others.
That’s it. Not even 500 words in and I said what I wanted to say. It’s just something super funny that happened when I just got here and it always makes me smile. I did feel better about my reaction when I played tour guide for some family friends from South Africa. They didn’t hide under a table or anything, mostly because everyone was pretty chilled about it on the streets in Amsterdam. I like to think that their heart skipped a beat for a millisecond. Most Dutchies always chuckle a little when I tell them the story, heck I have a good chuckle when I tell this story. It’s just so random but the fear was real. I honestly have no idea what I would do in a war situation. It’s scary and it makes me so grateful to live in a place where there is peace.
I’m sorry this blog is on the shorter side. I can’t really stretch it out. To make up for it here is some cute pictures of my animals.
Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!
PS both of my furbabies have their own Instagram profile.
Speculoos — https://www.instagram.com/speculoos_the_cat/?hl=en —
Dankie — https://www.instagram.com/dankieeey/?hl=en —