Being back in Cologne I am constantly reminded of THE QUESTION! Mit oder Ohne (literally with or without) is the first Kulturschock for a naive foreigner discovering Germany. It does nor refer to anything existential but how you would like your water and specifically how carbonated should it be. Continue reading Water… with or without?
Food is the first topic of complaint of expats everywhere, it is also the first challenge they need to master directly after arriving in their host country. Finding your favorite products is not easy in a different language and items are often not at all available. Continue reading On the challenge of grocery shopping in a different country
The very first time our families met, one of my sister and nephew greeted my sister-in-law with the traditional french la bise . Basically they went straight to her and hit each of her cheeks against theirs quite quickly. She was totally taken aback believing she was getting french kissed for greeting. Continue reading East meets West: politeness and social conventions
One day this man I barely knew looked at me and asked: “last chance for the hotel”. That day I learned that most Indians use the word hotel and restaurant alternatively. So he was not making me an indecent proposal but was just inviting me for an innocent dinner. Continue reading Miscommunication and the challenge of speaking English differently
Once the marriage was done, I came back to work the next day and my German colleagues were asking me how they should call me now. Continue reading About giving up my maiden name… or not
3 years ago, I changed job and joined another team in the same company where I was the only non-German. I had already lived in Germany for about 3 years by then and spoke the language fluently so I assumed it would not be a big deal and guess what I was super wrong. One of the first challenge I faced in this position had to … Continue reading Seeing a full or an empty glass is not just about individual attitudes
Couple of years ago, I used to order one brötchen (bread rolls) at the neighborhood bakery and that seemed to baffle the lady at the counter so much that she kept on pushing me to buy some more, saying it was not enough for one person. I had never thought much about it until I had to spend 24 hours at the hospital and finally … Continue reading What give us our daily bread means for Germans