I recently discussed with Tom, another York student in Bonn doing his internship, about some things we’ve noticed in this city, and what we appreciated and took things for granted in Canada.
1. Rice and other Asian things
Honestly, WHERE CAN WE GET RICE IN GERMANY????? Unlike Canada, Germany, I find, is a lot less diverse in multicultural food, with rice being the prime example of that sort (I’m being serious, it is.). Although I did manage to find rice, the selection was very very limited. Even Spain had a lot more choices. As a result, pasta and baguettes are the main alternatives to our diet. Only 2 months left. LOL.
Oh and in case you haven’t noticed, we’re both Asians. Just a reminder.
Moreover, I’ve learned to appreciate not only Canada, but Taiwan a lot more. Growing up there, it’s so convenient to get great variety of food, and ever since living in Canada and Europe, the diversity is comparatively lacking… Ughhh I can go on about the food in Asia.
2. Fighting the Smog.
Okay, this is more an overall European thing, but people here smoke so much!!! I haven’t been to the bars or clubs yet (those places are the worst with smog), but every time I go downtown to buy food or shop, I smell like lung cancer when I return to my room! Europe has a lot more lenient regulation on smoking compared to Canada, and it’s definitely something I’m still trying hard to adjust to.
3. Office Politics? NEIN. It’s Office Politeness!
What I’ve learned to appreciate in the working culture in Germany, or maybe just Bonn, is that people in the same company/organization, will always greet you. For instance, on my office floor there are other sections in DAAD that deal with Russia, Southern Europe, Western Europe, and so forth. Although we don’t work in the same section or barely see each other, every time I see these them, they always say, “Guten Morgen!”
That is something I find that really lacks in Toronto. While working in York International, there were other offices that share 2nd floor of York Lanes with YI. However, working for 8 months I have never received a greeting from any of the administrators outside of YI.
Tom and I discussed this characteristic to the working culture in North America and Asia. I would have to say that in Asia, and probably in Europe, business is made after a series of established relationship, contrary to that of North America where business is made rather quickly and impersonal.
4. Jersey Shore? Bitte, We’re on the Rhine Shore.
On to a not-too-positive aspect of Bonn, I’ve noticed there are many Pauly D “inspired” (not too sure if the choice of word is linguistically correct in this context) haircuts and J-shore outfits. It’s kind of… concerning. I guess South Park was correct to make an episode mocking Jersey Shore to warn us the potential take-over. Yea, we got a “situation.” I wonder if there is a German version? I do know there is a UK version, and it is HILARIOUS just listening to people trying to sound tough and skanky with British accents. LOL
Here’s a preview I found on YouTube:
Being the only Canadian on my residence floor has drawn some attention from my floor mates as many of them are international students. There is a young Iranian couple, and their eyes glowed when they heard that I was from Canada. They told me they originally wanted to study and reside in Canada, because of the unstable political and living conditions in Iran. For them, and according them many Iranians, living in Canada is a dream. Even my other floor mates of different nationalities have expressed such thoughts.
And that made me think about being a citizen of Canada. I’ve never really thought about the importance nor bragged nor complained about being a Canadian. I just thought that it was my citizenship, and when I meet people of other nationalities, I never feel superior over others. I’ve never viewed my citizenship from a perspective of people coming from other countries, that some people do have a vision for a specific country.