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Plop, plop, fizz, fizz….

Posted by Allison on December 4, 2009

It’s amazing how moving to another country can open your eyes to the smallest details in your life. I never believed for a moment that everything everywhere was the same as where I grew up. I’m a pretty well traveled gal and consider myself fairly intelligent. I think all of us expats gear up for the big differences we will encounter when we move away from home and all that is familiar. That part is expected. We try to embrace those differences.

There are those who believe that being an expat means completely throwing yourself into the new culture. These are the expats that poo poo the idea of international schooling and think packages of kraft dinner from home is sacrilege. They want their kids at the local schools soaking in the culture and live out of the ‘expat’ neighbourhoods. Other like to have little reminders of home, a favorite snack or something like that, they’ll socialize with other expats and see nothing wrong with bits and bobs from home. Those two groups can be found arguing ad nausem on all the expat forums all over the net. By the way, I’ve found there are three types of forums. There are the extremely informative ones filled with expats ready and willing to help you or explain the lay of the land, unfortunately there are VERY few of these. Then there are the nasty ones filled with bitter expats who have nothing better to do with there time than make fun of new expats and point out all the negatives to moving exactly where they are..prime example would be the Germany forum for English speakers. This must be the nastiest of all the expat forums out there. I think there must be a group of them just waiting to point and laugh at anyone who has the misfortune of finding them on the net. A favorite of theirs is to not answer your question but to point out the search function over and over to everyone who comes on, which of course results in finding several posts about the same question with no answer just pointing everyone to the search feature. Sadly this type of forum is the most prevalent. Then there are the expat forums in name only. You go to those ones and there is nothing going on. Some unanswered question from 2002 that’s been viewed 3,987 times but no one has answered.
But to be fair, there is more information online about moving over seas at this time in history than any other. We weren’t reduced to reading the World book encyclopedia to find out where we were going and what it would be like. We had real time real world experiences of others who came before us and that was extremely helpful. And they prepare you….for the BIG differences. Everyone talks about the big things that will be different. The things that stop you in your tracks however are the little things. The shape of the toilets is different here. The distance from where you sit to the water level is much greater in Germany. Seriously, who would have thought. I’m not talking about squat toilets in Thailand here. You see pictures of a house in Germany and everything looks comfortable, almost familiar. This is one of those differences that no one would ever think to mention I’m sure. How exactly do you bring up to people, ‘hey don’t be alarmed but when you take a number 2 it’s different here, there may be some splash back’. No, that usually doesn’t come up in polite conversation.

The other little difference I noticed the other day was that the giant Twix bar doesn’t have 4 little twix but 2 big ones but I thought it was in bad taste to try to fit that in while discussing poo.

3 Responses to “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz….”

  1. lillian said

    lol.. true it is often the little things.. I feel a post for my blog coming on haha 🙂

  2. Sara said

    This doesn’t happen often, but I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about regarding both type of toilet. I lived in China briefly (squatty potty) and also lived in Germany when I was younger. We used to try and explain it to our friends and family, but somehow, they didn’t care. Weird.

    Thanks for visiting me on my SITS day!

  3. christina said

    LOL about the Twix bars!

    Yeah, Toytown can be a little rough at times but it is actually a good source of information if you can get through all the rest of the stuff.

    Do you know about the Germany Way Yahoo Group mailing list? It’s very polite and well-mannered. 🙂 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/german-way/

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