On The Road Again (Cultural Differences XII)

Got my new driver’s licence this week. It was quite the process. I knew before moving to Germany that I would need a German driver’s licence, that foreigners were only permitted six months grace before they had to be local. What I didn’t realize was the difference in the procedure for obtaining a licence compared […]

The Crosswalk (Cultural Differences XI)

Maybe I’m reading too much into one instance, but…. Canadians for the most part are rule followers. It is part of our national psyche. Our Constitution promises us “peace order and good government” where our neighbors to the south aspire to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” (These days they probably are wishing for […]

The Kids On The Bus (Cultural Differences X)

When I was a child there were no school buses in our neighborhood; we had to walk to school. My mother tells me I was insistent on walking alone on my first day of kindergarten. I had not yet turned five. Supposedly she trailed me at a distance to ensure my safe arrival. Unnecessary really […]

Cultural Differences IX – Holidays

It was Friday night, getting late, and our hostess casually mentioned, “of course, tomorrow is a holiday.” Nobody told me. I knew Saturday was January 6. I knew in the church calendar that is Epiphany, the dated celebrated for the arrival of the Magi. But I’m from Canada; it never occurred to me that the […]

Chaos In The Streets (Cultural Differences VIII)

  I had been told that Germans celebrate the New Year with fireworks. Experiencing that was far more intense than the description. In Canada fireworks are a controlled affair for the most part. If a holiday is deemed important enough to warrant such pyrotechnics, it is usually the municipality that stages the show. Safety concerns […]

Cultural Differences VII – Baking

With our kitchen having been installed for a week it was time for Christmas baking. Past time really; in Canada I would be on to my second batch by this point. But could I pull it off? Baking requires more than just an oven… I have heard it said that a good workman never blames […]

Cultural Differences VI – The Kitchen

Until this morning, when I walked into my kitchen, all I could see was empty space with a pipe protruding from the wall. The previous tenants took everything, including the kitchen sink. This is a whole new experience for me. In Germany, when you move, you take everything with you. That includes the kitchen sink […]

Cultural Differences V

Sometimes the differences can be surprising. Canada switched to the metric system in 1975, so I wasn’t anticipating any problems in the kitchen – I know how metric measurements work. I figured I could read the numbers on the packaging. The problem started when we started purchasing things for the kitchen. Pots and pans were […]

Cultural Differences IV

In North America it is common for retail salespeople to wear name tags. Turns out they do in Germany too, but there’s a big difference. The name tag is so much a part of the uniform that those wearing them often forget they are there. If I see a clerk wearing one I tend to […]

Cultural Differences III

The season is over, but I’m already craving fresh-picked corn on the cob. Drenched in butter, with a touch of lemon pepper. That longing is probably exacerbated by knowing I can’t get it in Germany. It has always been a toss-up whether corn or potato wins the contest to be my favourite vegetable. From October […]