Who is right?

Is that true, that 1+1 equals 2? Let’s do a quick thought experiment:

If the definition of 1 could be changed and we had a different set of axioms in mathematics then the results of calculations would be contrasting in comparison with what we believe is the right answer at present. If people from various countries used distinctive ways to deal with mathematical numbers then there would be a strong disagreement on what is right and what is wrong.

Same here:

 1) Is that OK that at German bakeries some assistants handle bread with their bare hands AND touch coins/banknotes at the same time? Some bakeries have a special coin machine nowadays, and, in this case, bakery assistants do not touch the money, but the touch screen cash register (which can be as dirty as a keyboard).

Some foreigners complain about those unsanitary conditions, while others believe there is nothing wrong with adding extra germs to your body. They believe, life is ‘too clean and some bacteria will help our immune system to function more efficiently’. On a summer day, my husband was at a bakery and saw many wasps on bread and cakes. He asked a bakery assistant: ‘Aren’t you going to do something about them?’ The answer was: ’Why should I? They are bio’.

My husband came to Germany with an axiom that insects shall not touch the food that is sold in a shop/bakery/supermarket. Meanwhile another axiom works in Germany: Bio is OK. Wasps on bread are bio. No problem.

Who is right? Both sides, probably. Your own point of view on this topic depends on where you come from and what your hygienic standards are.

2) Do Germans jaywalk? The funny fact: I have seen so many people (both young and old) crossing the road where it is not allowed. At the same time, another expat say that he has never seen people jaywalking in Germany, unless they are late for a train. Your opinion on another country depends on your expectations and customs back in your home country. If you come from the environment where people jaywalk and give honks more often than in Germany, then you might feel that everyone here is following the rules. Some expats said that they even saw people scolding others for crossing the road against the red lights. Meantime, I am the only one who waits for the green light here. Perhaps, it is time for me to scold others as well. 🙂

I did saw special signs reminding pedestrians to cross the roads on the green light only; nonetheless, I cannot tell that Germans wait for it to cross the road. I noticed, that people do not follow the rules. It seems, my expectations of Germany were too high, so I actually can see the flaws here.

3) I saw too many people here like to put their dirty shoes on a bus/train seat in front of them.


This fact disgusts me, but some expats find it completely normal and will be surprised by the fact that people are scolded for that. Only once I saw that an old woman made a remark about young girl’s dirty shoes on a bus seat. Regularly, I see people putting their bags on the dirty ground (even when it rains hard) and then putting the bags on a seat next to them on a bus. Not only no one can sit there, but also they make the seat dirty. Not to mention, that people like to hang their dusty/muddy/nasty etc. sport shoes on their bags while carrying the bags on their shoulders. Once, I saw a girl was getting off the bus with her shoes on her shoulder. It was crowded, and the shoes almost hit someone else’s face.

Personally, I find it unhygienic. At the same time, I understand that many people will see nothing wrong about that. We come from different cultures, we are used to different rules. We have our own patterns of behavior and we see the world differently. Therefore, you can see polar opposites of views when it comes to what expats think about Germany (and not only Germany). For some, Germany is a country of rules. Others would be shocked to see that there are not so many rules and people who follow them, as they expected. Someone likes it here more than others. Someone thinks his home country is better, someone believes Germany has everything he/she needs. Your personal experiment will be determined by your occupation/living conditions/income etc. as well as your upbringing and culture.

Let’s embrace the differences.

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