Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cultural Differences

Some more cultural differences to note :)

Mail.  Mail operates on a Saturday here, including deliveries.  There isn't a monopoly on the postal system; it's all private.  It's even possible to get more than one mail and/or delivery a day by different carriers (there are two main ones, plus delivery companies).  PostNL is the main carrier, though I can't remember the other one.  Apparently there is even Sunday pick-up to get ready for Monday (where you drop your letters off in the mailbox) but W. and I don't understand why as there's no delivery. The post here is incredibly efficient and fast; easy to get something within 1-2 days. 
(Prime example: we ordered a couple things online the other night. I've just received a second, separate delivery. They really like to ship things separately.)

Construction. Construction sites work a little differently here (i.e road work).  They were repairing the road behind the plaza in town (still using cobblestone - put in place by hand - so awesome) and it was probably the complete opposite of what you'd find in North America.  Nothing was baricaded off, no caution tape, no Roads Dept employees standing around telling you where to go.  No.  You approach the site cautiously and maneuver your way around the best you can.  The man operating the digger is actually really good at watching for people.  It's such a concept... let people use common sense when in such an area.  Loose kids?  Not an issue.  People seem to take responsibility for themselves and those around them.  There isn't a "I can sue you" mentality here.  And it's fabulous.

Cats.  Cats here are very funny.  There are a few outdoor cats in the neighbourhood and you could walk by them a hundred times and call them and they still won't pay attention to you. They really don't care!  They do their derisive.. hold their head up and pretend to ignore you as you walk by.  I don't know what it is with cats here.

Laundry.  Yes, laundry.  First, most homes hang their laundry, not use a washer and dryer. It's a very European thing to do (partly because they're cheap and like to save energy costs and partly to save the wear of the clothes).  I can get behind it and all, but dude.. hard, scratchy towels are not cool.  We both want a dryer for that reason, but until we find an economical used one, it'll have to wait (#firstworldproblems).  Also.. they like to use separate detergent for each load.  We have a bottle each for colours, whites and darks (very affordable around €2 each). Not all detergents do this, but the one I like that's an "all in one" isn't cheap, so I look for it on sale only. 

Marriage.  The big 'M' word.  Not something often talked about in this house... yet ;)  I learned something interesting, though. Apparently this is also Europe-wide (France I know also does this, but I can't confirm other countries).  You cannot get married in a church and have it be legal.  You need to have a civil ceremony first and then you can have your marriage in a church (for your own purposes, still not legally withstanding).  I guess anyone can register to marry you? but this is from a friend and I still need to confirm it's specifics.  What seems to be common if you have both is you have the civil ceremony first, which is very private and invite-only.  Then you have the church wedding later in the day..public and anyone can come, especially handy for those coming to the dinner later on.  Two weddings means two expenses!  Gah!  I have not yet found a parish to call home, so this isn't an issue for me - yet.  I do plan to marry here so I have to accept facts as they are.  What I WAS thinking, though, was to have the legal ceremony here (perhaps still something religiously symbolic in it?) but get church-married back home.  I always wanted to get married in COOL so that would make me happy.  I discussed it with W. and he was all for it.  He's always happy to do anything that makes me happy, for which I'm grateful.  We shall see.

I'll leave you with that for today :)


hydra said...

The M word - Wow! I'm thrilled for you. I was very interested to read about all the cultural differences. We don't have a tumble dryer and we hang our washing in the garden. But to do that, you need a garden! In an apartment, it's more difficult. Glad everything's going well. xx

Perovskia said...

Thanks Hydra :)

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