Friday, February 3, 2012

Things that are strange here

In many ways, I'm experiencing far more culture shock moving to Europe than I ever did moving to Africa. I often find myself saying to Jorge or Milo, when explaining why we can't do something they suggest, "This isn't Africa, OK? People are weird here." (Come to think of it, that was a frequent phrase while we were in Seattle as well. But not New Orleans. Hmmm.)

So, here's a short list of some of the things I just find strange:

  • There are computer repair shops and internet cafes, and there are many of them. I thought those sorts of compaines went out of business in the Western world ages ago.

  • We had out first parent-teacher meeting with Milo's preschool last week. His report said "Milo is enthusiastic in making friends. Hopefully that will improve in time."

  • Movie theater seats are assigned, and if you decide that you do not in fact want to sit in one tiny cluster of people, while the rest of the theater sits empty, you will be reprimanded.

  • However, if you nearly run over someone, blatantly litter on the street, or start fighting while walking home from school, everyone will look away and pretend that you don't exist.

  • Although unemployment is at an all-time high and wages have been stagnant for years, everyone still seems to have enough money to drop $1,000 dollars on a stroller.

  • The government pays you for having children. You just have to pop out kids, and voila, 200 dollars in your bank account each month, for every child.

  • You cannot buy rubbing alcohol at the drug store without a prescription.

  • Restaurants somehow get away with charging 25 dollars for a cheeseburger, plate of pasta, or pizza - and yet remain full of customers.

Now, this isn't to say that people here aren't lovely, and for the most part quite friendly, but it's still all so very different. I think it will be a long time before we stop feeling like complete and utter foreigners here, despite the fact that, for the first time in half a decade, we look like everyone else on the outside.


Miriam said...

Okay, I know it shouldn't, but that comment from Milo's teacher makes me laugh!

Maider Gomez said...

I love it.. you are soooo right in all of the above.....