Cultural Differences

December 28, 2009

‘For whom do we wait?’ or ‘Going out in Spain’.

Filed under: stories — maggiyy @ 4:28 pm
Tags: ,

I’m not sure, if it is typical Spanish, but at least it always happens
when going out with Spanish people or in Spain. Maybe one reason is the
temperature. In Germany, it would be too cold – at least in winter.

What am I talking about?

You have an appointment at half past seven in the evening with a group
of people to go out for dinner. Typically German, you arrive there
around 7:25 p.m. The first of the Spanish people arrive about 10
minutes late. If you are lucky, half an hour later, everyone is there.
At some point, already well after 8 p.m., you start wondering why the
group doesn’t start moving in some direction. About half an hour later,
people start thinking about starting to move. Some time later, somebody
really starts to move. Maybe he does not manage to make the whole group
follow on the first try, but finally everybody started moving –  still
without a specific destination, but at least moving.

You start to get really hungry and hope to get something to eat soon.

After passing by about 10 restaurants and changing the direction
randomly about 10 times, finally the Spanish people also start to get
hungry. Around 10 p.m., you end up in some restaurant somewhere – just
perfectly in time for a Spanish dinner. At a time when German
restaurants  start thinking about closing the kitchen. Which also
means, at a time when you are completely starving.


Skype Me, Algeria.

Filed under: stories — maggiyy @ 4:01 pm
Tags: ,

Don’t put a photo! Don’t tell you are female! Don’t tell you are from
Germany! You did it already? OK, then NEVER go in skype-me mode on a
Saturday evening!

Few minutes after putting my status to skype-me, it started. First
thing I read was I love sex hot… is calling you. Then one chat
message after the other popped up. Within a few minutes, about 20
people contacted me. If I had betted on their country of origin and
their gender, I could have won a fortune. Of course 100% were male.
Looking to ‘Country’ in the profile or asking the people, it turned out
that about 80% of them were from Algeria, about 10% were from Turkey
and the rest spread around North Africa.

Let me tell you something, guys: Europe is NOT the ‘El Dorado’! And NO,
I’m NOT going to marry you!

First they started telling me how beautiful I am. Maybe they asked next
what age I am. Or they asked me directly, if I’m married. Even when I
told them I was married, they asked me whether I wanted to live with

So you want to collect proposals of marriage? Then put a nice picture
in your profile. Write that you are female and from Europe. Go in
skype-me mode on Saturday evening. Wait for few minutes and have fun!

February 17, 2009

‘Rappel 50’ or ‘Driving French’

Filed under: stories — maggiyy @ 12:52 pm
Tags: ,

‘Rappel 50’


‘Driving French’

I know, the display of the speedo in my car is somewhat behind the real speed, but not more than 10%. Consequently, I’m driving 55 km/h inner city, maybe 58 km/h, which would correspond to real 53 km/h then. I’m already used to the fact that people normally complain that I’m driving too slow. Quite often I’m wondering: Am I really the only one in this whole wide world sticking to speed limits? In France for sure! This is what I realized from the beginning, since I’m living here. Empty street – just a few seconds later, there is a car behind you, almost hitting your boot. Where did it come from? At what speed was it driving that I didn’t see it earlier? Another one. The next. They are queueing behind my car. Especially inside towns. Each time, it takes only few seconds until there is the first one behind me. Probably they think ‘Why is this stupid German not driving faster?’ Am I really the only one in France sticking to speed limits? It seems. At least, there are everywhere reminder signs: ‘Rappel 50’. I was wondering quite some time what these signs could mean. They are everywhere just few hundred meters behind the town sign. Checking a French dictionary, I learned that these signs are supposed to remind the people of the speed limit in towns. Taking into account that these signs are really everywhere, it’s obvious that French tend to drive too fast, isn’t it?

Another pecularity are duct covers. It seems that they are at distances of only few meters in French towns. And of course they are not mounted evenly in the street. No. Consequently, one has two possibilities: either one drives zig-zag (what by the way many French do) or one is hopping along the street like a cangaroo. This of course has also the reason that the streets themselves are not even either. In addition, there are hundreds of these bumps across the streets. They are supposed to slow down the French, but of course this helps only for the short way of the bump itself – inbetween French don’t care about speed limits. Probably this is also the reason why most of these bumps are very high and very steep. Don’t French guys have lowered cars? Well, if they had, they would really have a hard time to get along here. Probably each trip would last twice as long, as they couldn’t take about 80% of the streets because of the bumps.

Having a french car behind you, is especially annoying when you are driving at night. As they drive as close as possible behind you, the inside of your car is so bright from the light of the car behind you that reading a newspaper would be no problem at all. This is really annoying, when you want to see the street in front of you, and gets even worse, when it’s raining, especially when you don’t know the street well. Anyhow the shape of the streets in combination with rain is another challenge. I would not recommend anybody to walk along a French street when it is raining. Thanks to the up and downs and bumps and holes in the streets, there are flows and small ponds of water everywhere. Just perfect for a passing car to produce gigantic fountains. Even when driving on the road, your car might be overflooded by a fountain of water, when another car passes you on the other side of the street during heavy rain. In this case, you are lucky, if your wiper is already at fullspeed, else you don’t see anything for a few seconds, which is not the best thing, especially having French drivers around…

Rain in Lake Geneva Region

Filed under: stories — maggiyy @ 12:32 pm
Tags: ,

Rain in Lake Geneva Region

It rains. It rains 50% of the time. No, not a bit at 50% of all days in
the year, it really rains 50% of the time. It rains, rains, rains, … and
rains. Sometimes it doesn’t stop for days.
It even rains, when there are -3.5 degrees outside, and the rain
freezes on the car window when driving. But it rains. It rains 50% of
the time.

Don’t understand me wrong. I like the lanscape here. The Jura on the
one side and the Alpes on the other side of Lake Geneva. A wonderful
scenery. Sunrise above the Mont Blanc. Impressive mountains. Well,
whenI can see them. Quite often there are clouds, cause it rains. It
rains 50% of the time.

January 22, 2009

A Dane in Austria

Filed under: stories — ledvonova @ 5:34 pm
Tags: ,


My name is Liselotte and I am a Dane now having lived in Austria for 17 years. I really like it here, still there are a few things that are frustrating to me.

I like the Austrians. Most of them have some kind of “Gemütlichkeit”.

However, there are also some things that really annoy me.

Something that really annoys me a little in Austria is for example the bureaucracy here. You need a special permission for anything. It really is annoying. I do not know what it is like in other countries, but I cannot imagine it to be as weird as in Austria.

Another thing that I have had a problem with in my professionel carrier is the strict hierarchies. Austria is a very hierarchical society and often you only get the information that is just essential to your job – not the whole picture. And the autonomy in your job is often not given. You will need the approval of your supervisor to do anything extraordinary. That really annoys me, but maybe again this is because I personally am a person who likes to take responsibility and is somehow creative with a lot of ideas.

Something else I have notices is that titles seem to be really important in Austria. This is something that is very alien to me as a Dane. I had a hard time accepting, that it is better for me to always state my own title (Mag.) before my name. In Denmark we have something called “Jante loven” (the low of Jante) – an unwritten law that states, that no matter who you are or what you do, you should not make the mistake to believe that you are any better than anyone else. Well, the law is not always followed in Denmark, since people are very different, but the principle is there. This is somehow hard for me to cope with living in a very hierachical society that places a lot of importance on titles and status.

However, I really like it here and believe I am going to stay for many years ahead.

August 26, 2008

English or German?

Filed under: project — maggiyy @ 5:43 pm

The question emerged, whether our project should be in English or in German.

Probably English provides more possibilities, as there are more authors and more stories. Of course it’s not easy, as English is not native language for many of us. On the other hand, there are native speakers among us, who may help improving the language of the texts, especially, if we manage at some point to make a book from the project.

However, this decision does not exclude having stories in German. If there are many people interested in doing the project also in German, why not?

Do not hesitate to post your opinion about the question which language to use.

How to contribute something…

Filed under: project — maggiyy @ 5:32 pm

To contribute a story you can either
1) send it to us via email and we put it online in the blog.
2) write it directly in the blog. To become an author in the blog, please contact us, and we will send you an invitation

contact: cultural-differences <at>

Feel free to provide information about you in the blog. With the category and tag ‘authors’ you can label such posts accordingly. A link to your own website is welcome of course.

August 21, 2008

How this project started…

Filed under: project — maggiyy @ 7:48 pm

Hi everybody,

this is how the project started:
Liselotte posted her idea in the group ‘Global Business Women’ at Xing (see below). In the last months, there were several answers by people interested in the project and so we decided to start this blog 🙂

looking forward to your posts,



Hi there,

I have got a project spinning around my mind for years. Maybe some of you would be prepared to help me accomplishing it.

It is a book on the topic of “Cultural Differences” with the title “What Really Annoys Me About……”.

In business we mostly have to concentrate on the positive things, however, there always are also a few points that annoys us about the country we decided to live and work in. Why not write a humorous book with what annoys us about that country – filled with essays of expatriates?

Concerning profits of such a project I would like to fix some non-profit organizations getting the money or maybe even fonding a trust that would distribute the money of the year to charitable projects.

If anybody should be interested in contributing, with ideas or the personal essay please contact me. You can also contact me directly at

I wish you a great weekend.

Liselotte, hoping to hearing from a lot of you.

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