As you arrive to a new country and stay for a while, you will naturally encounter some cultural differences from your home country and your new one. I thought I would go through some that I have noticed.
Forget Swedish coffee.
This is probably what I miss the most, just having a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, freshly brewed. Instead, the easiest (and cheapest) way to get coffee is by going to a vending machine and buying this (HOT) can which contains both milk and sugar. Not my cup of tea… It is pretty cool though that you can buy hot drinks from a vending machine!
Dead chickens everywhere.
Alright, let us just get this straight. In almost all the restaurants I have visited or just passed in the city, dead chickens are hanging (with head and all), waiting to be prepared, or already grilled in the windows or visible from the counter. Sometimes I happen to bump in to someone on the street who is delivering dead chickens to a supermarket or restaurant. It is pretty chocking, for me as a naive little Swede, and it feels a bit silly to write about, but if unlike me, you are moral enough to not eat meat and plan to come here, this is a little heads up. It takes time to get used to.
People sneeze in their hands. A lot.
Okay, so from where I come from, we are drilled to sneeze, cough, and all other types of situations going on with our mouth/throat area, in the bend of our arm. This is in order for us to lower risks of spreading viruses or anything else to others who happen to be around. Here, however, people sneeze/cough into their hands, and, I can barely believe this, they just rub their hands together afterwards. I.Just.Can’t. I am sorry, but if this does not gross you out, then what does??? Imagine those hands touching common areas that I too have to touch? I cringe every time I see it. Nowadays, I always carry hand sanitizer everywhere I go. Ew.
No one greets you, ever.
Alright, I do not want to sound like a princess or anything, but when you go into a store in Sweden or other countries (in the West, since that is my only reference) you are greeted with a “hello” or “welcome” or a nod. It is just a simple way of being polite, really. That goes both for the clerk and the customer, sort of an easy way to just keep the mood up. In most cases here, every time I enter a store or anything along those lines it is complete silence, nothing. When I want to pay the person is usually looking somewhere else and sort of snatching the money out of my hand and gives the impression of wanting me far away already. I hear myself talking to a wall often, haha. I can say things like “Thank you, goodbye” or similar to that and am met with a stare. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I am non-Chinese and that language barriers, but it is really difficult to adjust to. The silence.
Just, ew. In the shower, on the floor, on the wall. So disgusting. Thank god I will come home to a cockroach free home after this semester.
People are really loud.
I think this is really interesting. Many times, people who have heard me interact in Arabic usually thinks that I am loud and “sound aggressive” when I speak. You guys. You should be here. It is funny, sometimes when you are walking down the street and pass some people, they are yelling to each other. Maybe it is a way to express dynamic feelings or something when they have a dialogue. But sometimes it is difficult to understand if people are upset or just acting as they always do. I feel like a little invisible dot in comparison, however I tend to laugh out loud (yes, literally).
It is never quiet outside.
I mean on the roads specifically. My windows look out over a street and oh dear, the horns are used quite often here. It can be in the middle of the night and I can wake up from the symphony going on outside. There seem to be little attention payed to the driving rules.
Crossing the road is hell.
I mean, they even have marked crossings on the streets, but cars do not stop if you do not clearly show that you are putting your life on the risk by starting to cross. It is so so scary. I always make weird sounds when crossing because I am so unsure of whether they will stop or not.
What are some cultural differences you have experienced when you have traveled? Tell me! I want to know more about your thoughts on this subject.
Well, that was it for now. Hope you are enjoying your Monday as I am enjoying mine!