The first thing that most people do when moving to a new country is make comparisons and of course imply that their way of doing things or products they use are better. Yes, I have been known to say the common phrase”that’s not how we do it in the U.S.!”, or “I can buy that in the U.S., why don’t they sell that here?!” Let me share a few example’s of phrases that have come out of my mouth.
- “You want me walk to the grocery store? How am I going to get the groceries home?”
- “Why aren’t there coupons in the paper, how on earth am I going to save money?”
- “What do you mean they don’t sell Revlon makeup here or Secret deoderant?! I won’t survive!”
- “No, seriously, will that refrigerator get bigger when it grows up?”
- “Thats not funny! They really don’t pick up the trash every week?”
- “What do you mean I can’t throw it away? Now you tell me I have to carry every plastic container to a recycling center and its’ HOW many Kilometers away? Can you translate that into Miles please?”
- “I’d like a side of Ranch please.” My husband than telling me they don’t have Ranch dressing here.. not even at Mc Donalds!
- “What does that mean? 28 degrees? It’s going to be really cold…wait, it’s summertime!”
- “The recipe call for 150 grams of butter, how much is that? and “I need to use a stick of butter, how many grams is that?”
- “OMG, she wore that yesterday!”
- “Does anyone speak English here?”
- “What is the German word for…. & how do I say that in German?”
- “What do you mean there is no English translation?”
- “What do you mean we have to spend 5 euros on a garbage bag to set at the curb?”
- “Look at that, that lady is on her bike, with groceries in a basket and its like 30 degrees out (farenheit) and she’s like 80!”
- “I have to walk how far to mail a letter and then I have to speak in German?”
- “Just call the guy to fix it.”
- “No, I am not hard of hearing… I just asked you to repeat what you said because I did not quite understand your German.”
- “Where is the elevator?”
- “What do you mean we can’t cut the grass today, it’s Sunday.”
- “What did they say?” (the most popular phrase I say to my husband, when someone talks to me in German, even now at times.)
It was a shock when I first came here, but then I started to live this way of life and it works. Everything is smaller and metric and just because rules are different does not mean its a bad way to do something. Less is so much more here and that is something I needed to change in my life.
Now when I travel to the U.S. to visit, I find I suffer from a bit of reverse culture shock. I never thought that would happen. I admit, this past April I actually had a panic attack walking into Krogers to grocery shop. It was so overwhelming!
I embrace both cultures and look at the positive aspects of what both have to offer. I no longer make rude remarks or comparisons. I find myself much calmer and happier even. The diversity of other countries and cultures is what makes our world so unique. I think people should try to travel and experience other cultures. It broadens our thinking, understanding and acceptance of those who may seem different from us. It can also cause us to take a look into ourselves as well.
Finally, I have learned to just enjoy and embrace the culture of where I am at that moment. Just because I might do things in a different way does not mean their way of life is wrong, it’s just different. A bit of diversity is definitely a good thing.
Coming soon…. Lookbook Brugge, Belgium
Oh No – my Lipstick!
Devils Food Cake with Buttercream Frosting – Sinfully Delicious.