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 […]

Cultural Differences – II

In North America time is money. We are always looking for ways to save it; it may be the most valuable thing we own. Europe runs at a different pace. That was obvious the first time I went to a gas station to fill up the car. We had borrowed a car to run some […]

Cultural Differences – I

I mentioned not long ago that I was planning on doing a series of posts on cultural differences I had discovered between living in Canada and living in Germany. I’ve got a few posts started, but nothing finished yet. Then I remembered. When I started this blog most of my posts were reflections on a […]

Is This a Cultural Difference?

I am a big believer in tradition. There is something comforting about doing something the same way our ancestors did. It gives us a sense of continuity, of contact with past generations. I am not, however, a Luddite ( I do not fear new technology and have frequently been an early adopter of technological innovations, […]