Strange Ways and Customs

They’re REALLY Going To Stop For ME? Wow! That’s Weird!

One of the things that’s really nice about Victoria and is also kind of unnerving is their politeness when it comes to the pedestrian crosswalks. I am a native New Yorker who knows you NEVER, EVER just ASSUME that the cars are going to ACTUALLY stop for you in those crosswalks and if you live in Florida like I now do you also know that even though the law says you have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks people take is as more of a suggestion rather than an actual law.

Well, here in Canada it is also the law that they have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks but the weird thing is that they ACTUALLY do it! EVERY TIME! Without being prodded or made to feel guilty in to doing it. They just see you and STOP! They actually smile at you too and wave you to cross like some friendly neighbor or family member like ‘Go on Johnny. It’s okay. I am stopping just for you!’ It’s freaking amazing!

The reason it’s unnerving is because I am actually afraid that I am going to get used to this and start taking it for granted that it’s just something that happens naturally because it’s the law and then I’ll go home or to some other city and without thinking walk into the pedestrian crosswalk and get run over as I am being flipped the bird and cursed at.

Oh well I’ve got another week and a half here and until I leave I’ll enjoy the moment and just keep reminding myself that this is some sort of alternative reality and that back home I have to really be on my guard again. 🙂

Categories: Canada, Challenges Insights and More, Strange Ways and Customs, Victoria, BC | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kitchens and Other Strange Things

Well, Matt has been in Germany since Thursday and started his new job Monday and is reporting back to me that he really likes it there. He secured us our first apartment in a section of Cologne called Rodenkirchen in a really convenient location close to groceries, stores, train stations, and bike trails among other things but in the process we’ve learned a few things that we would have never thought of.

For example, at the first apartment that he looked at he was baffled to learn that there was no kitchen! Apparently in a lot of German apartments you have to buy your own kitchen appliances, counter tops, sinks, etcetera and when you decide to leave you just take it all with you. Boy, that makes the move I just made look like a cinch. I mean, imagine if I would have had to pack up my refrigerator, stove, microwave, sink, and counter tops too? And to think that I had a meltdown last week because I felt like there was too much to do in such a little amount of time…boy, was I naive!

Very few apartments have closets either (but that’s kind of a European thing and I kind of knew about that one) but on top of the kitchen thing it was just an added challenge.

But Matt and I were set on renting a furnished apartment in order to avoid the above challenges and fortunately found one in Rodenkirchen where the woman who was renting left us just about everything we needed to move in and start living in Germany including spices, dishes, a bed, and yes, a fully equipped kitchen. So we have by passed that challenge for now.

The next challenge is getting high speed internet set up in the apartment which the landlord is working on for us. Being I work from home on the internet and Matt and I are depending on the internet for emails and Skype to stay in contact with everyone this is a major thing to us both. If the Germans are as serious about superior service as I’ve been told then I am sure this won’t be much of a challenge either.

Well that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more adventures in Germany!

Until next time Tschuss!

Categories: Challenges Insights and More, Germany, Koeln/Cologne, Rodenkirchen, Strange Ways and Customs | 1 Comment

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