Friday, November 11, 2005

European Habits

Most people who move to a different country often notice the "different" things first, making comparisons to their home country. In the beginning, it's fun, but after a while it gets old hearing about the things that are different.

Here are my observations:

Greetings - Its so nice to hear greetings every day: everybody says "hello" or "dag" or "bonjour" when people enter the office for the day. Walking into a restaurant, you'll always hear "bonsoir", and before eating "bon appetite". It's so... polite, in a nice way!

Taking responsibility for their actions, meaning no lawsuits! What an amazing concept. We had a major celebration at work for an important milestone, and they pulled out chocolate and chapangne! Can you imagine drinking champagne on company time and company property? Even better, every first Friday of the month is happy hour, on the company. I asked "What happens if you get drunk and crash your car?". Response: "too bad, its your fault". I think the lawsuit-happy culture in the US really drives up the price of everything, forcing companies to put labels on cans of peanuts saying "Danger - may contain nuts"

Holidays are taken seriously. Today was Armstice Day, the end of WWI. So, I went to the mall. Closed. Grocery store, also closed. The office... locked up! I'm liking the office part, but it's hard to imagine a holiday in the US where all the stores are closed!

Eating habits - We went to a nice Italian place, and I ordered pizza. A co-worker later said: "I forgot Americans eat differently... there's a lot of time spent switching utensils". Apparently, Europeans will eat with the knife in the right, and fork in the left.. and you keep these utensils in those hands while you're eating! I told her I was being polite by actually cutting the pizza (switching utensils, then putting down the knife).. and that if I were in the US, I'd just cut and use my hands!

GPS units are popular here. I guess when your streets were planned hundreds of years ago, and are laid out "willy-nilly", then you'd want a GPS to help get around town. I can't wait for mine to arrive next week! Maybe I can finally figure out how to drive in and out of Brussels.

Ok, goal for this weekend is to be a tourist and buy a guidebook for the area. Hope I can figure out how to get to the bookstore!

1 comment:

sue-min said...

So, forget about your American's ways,learn the merits of European's ways