Everyone told me that when we get here it will be a major culture shock – I was open to it. They told me about the language barrier and that it will be difficult – I was open to it. They told me it would be difficult at first to adjust – I was open to it. However, there are a few things I need time getting use to (it is not a norm in Cape Town) and that is, how the French do certain things… hopefully one day I’ll embrace it all.
They have no urgency in anything they do. I need to fine tune my brain and tell myself that I need to slowwwww down and not expect things to happen now! I normally want things done immediately but here everyone is super chilled and could not be bothered at all (rolling eyes). This is my biggest internal struggle – I have to tell myself daily “just go with the flow” “do not stress, things will fall into place!” “WHOOOSAAAAAAAA!!!!”
They take long lunch breaks from 12:00 onwards (3 course meal) and always finishes it off with coffee. Back home I use to eat at my desk and get going with my work – no time for three course meals let alone being away from my desk for soooo long! Work needed to get done and deadlines met. But then I sit and think we tend to be chasing something all the time and for what? Is it even worth it?
They do not work on Sundays – it is family day. I love love love this concept – it really allows for a proper work/family life balance. The only schlep is if you run out of anything at home you won’t find any shop open besides the ones at some garages that will charge an arm and a leg for a loaf of bread or bottle of cool drink! Sundays are days for the park, trips to the mountain and just chilling – aaaaah pure bliss!
They love their baguettes, croissants, crepes and Nutella!! We buy fresh baguettes but if you don’t eat it the same day it gets hard as a rock!! Haha I’ve asked one of the teachers at the kids school and she said that the trick is to eat it immediately, don’t leave it for tomorrow as tomorrow you get another one! They have normal bread but it is not like Sasko or Blue Ribbon lol as they prefer the fresh baked baguette.
They love cycling and walking – Strasbourg is really the city of bikes and here pedestrians and cyclist have right of way, always. One day in last week, I walked more than 13 000 steps, can you imagine!! lol and I hate walking but here everything is so conveniently close by that its actually a wasted opportunity to take the car and not walk. If you walk you can really find hidden gems in this bustling city.
Kids have been nagging for bikes since we arrived but we can’t get them just yet as we only move into our own place October, Insha Allah. And I’ll be getting me one as well!!! Excited and scared at the same time as I need to practice though haha as here everyone cycles! I have seen all kinds of people on bikes here even men in suits! So yes, I’ll have to find a place to practice asap and not embarrass myself and fall – as everyone here are pros! Wish me luck…
They shake your hand every-time you meet up with them even though you’ve met before. I can’t get use to this haha cos to me you shake someones hand when you FIRST meet them. They want to shake your hand all the time lol so I just go with the flow.
Everyone you meet or walk pass you will say “Bonjour”. I’m shy so at first having people say bonjour and me having to respond was uncomfortable and weird but I think I’m use to it now. One day at the butcher I even tried my luck and asked the person serving me “Comma ca va?” – how are you? and he replied but I was hoping he did not ask me anything, cos I only knew that phrase!! haha
They leave their car windows open at anytime of the day, very trusting of the next person. I’m sorry but I still have SA blood in me and I don’t trust easily. I must admit though, I’ve asked the children several times if they feel safer here or back home and I get the same answer all the time – they feel much safer here because here we can walk around late at night or to school – in CT we could not – sad reality 😦
They take recycling to the next level – bins with the yellow lids are for recycled items and bins with the blue lids are for the dirt. I honestly need to get use to the whole recycling process. Back home I use to dump the veggie and fruit peels into our compost bin but I was not conscious enough in separating plastics, paper and glass. Here everyone does it and its a norm, part of how they are and how they live soooo we need to get with the program and do our bit for the environment, asap!
Respect each others differences and embrace each others imperfections!