First.. technical difficulties: Chrome isn't letting me log on to make a new post (ironic that Google isn't letting me log in to contribute to a Google blog. Just sayin'). It's literally not giving me the option at the top of the page to create a new post.. so.. I've had to.. *gulp*.. resort to IE. Excuse me while I shudder slightly. *shudder*
Anyhoo... I've been wanting to write about cultural differences for a while but wanted enough to write about. Where can I start? Some things may be ones I've mentioned before, but only now shedding them in a different light.
Roads. I'm getting used to them, especially cycling. I'm learning the rules of their roads and say, how to proceed at an intersection (none of which have stop signs). They also follow the rule "those to the right proceed" so that's easy. I haven't gotten myself killed yet, so I put that in the 'win' column. You REALLY have to keep your eyes open on their roads, there's so much going on; drivers (multiple), cyclists (multiple), the odd walker. And it's true, everyone really does ride their bike here.
Health. W. and I were just discussing how he's going to a doctor's appointment next week and I asked him when the last time was he got a complete physical. He looked at me funny. They don't do that here. Then I looked at him funny. I said, "What? You're not a medically-induced hypochondriac society?" :P And they have some of the healthiest people world-wide. They're doing something right, and I kind of like this mentality. Physicals were never my favourite, anyways. That's a rant saved for a later date.
Food. Local food (i.e desserts) is highly wheat-based, as you may have guessed. Cakes are the top seller. And I don't mean a round, icing-covered sugary goodness; I mean.. dense cakes, like loaf-pan shaped. Oh, and in home baking, they're high on springform pans (it's kind of weird). It's almost as if *everything* is baked in a springform pan. Now, these cakes and desserts are found in grocery stores. If you want something special, you will find it in a restaurant (as you've seen by some pics).
Livestock. You can't go half a mile without seeing horses, cows or sheep. Less popular are goats. Today on the train to Groningen I saw a field full of cows - all lying down, almost akin to how a cat sleeps. I mean, they were just cuddled up and relaxed and sleeping. It still weirds me out. I find it fantastic that the animals are so relaxed. It shows me they're being treated well.
Stairs. It's true; they are more narrow than back home. It really took me back when I first arrived here but have quickly gotten used to it.
People. People are so much happier and at ease here. As much as G. was a fairly laid-back town, this is even more so, if that was even possible. And they're.. *gasp*.. happy. You can see it when you're cycling around town; everyone's smiling, they say hi to you as you go by. It's really weird (when you're not used to it). If they worry about anything, they don't let on about it. I'm still adjusting to the pace, but it's a very welcomed one.
Well, that's all I can think of for today. I'll try and write back again with more :)