Saturday, October 19, 2013

If you're an expat you've probably been here too ...

... and if not, you might as well. Language barriers and different customs can end up in slightly embarrasing situations. These are some of those moments, tried ans tested by me in the past years abroad.

  • When writing or replying a mail you have to google the name of the recipient most of the time. People do have weird names out there and it's not easy to figure out whether you should address your mail to a Mr or a Mrs. Sadly this trick does not always work. Then, Mr or Mrs, don't think bad of me when I address myself to you as Dear van de Kamp. I know my manners but I'm just not sure yet of what you are.
  • Sometimes you wander around the supermarket for ages looking for a certain product which you cannot find because (a) you don't know the name of that food in the local language; (b) you don't recognize the package as it comes in a different colour, size, shape; or (c) you simply refuse to believe that this certain product is not sold in this country. Hello, chopped coriander leaves, I'm talking to you! Where are you hiding in these Swiss supermarkets?!
  • A cashier looks sourly at you for no reason at all. Until she says that you haven't paid the full price of the article yet. Sorry, madam, these coins all look the same to me and I don't want to look like a retard staring at them for a whole minute on my hand before paying.
  • You try to act as polite as possible but sometimes people just guess a disgusted look through your eyes when you see them eating all those things they consider normal for lunch. You're dared to try it before making an erroneous quick judgement. Nee, sugar on top of butter and peanut butter spread on sliced bread is not my idea of a delicious lunch, though chocolate sprinkles on peanut butter was not bad at all!
  • You start experimenting with your hair and decide to grow luscious long locks because you're afraid that the language barrier might result in a hair disaster at the local hairdresser's. You might end up looking like a dwark, you will regret it but you'll comfort yourself repeating like a mantra that it was way much cheaper than a salon cut. Yes, I wanted to put a paper bag on my head when I first cut my too long fringe myself. And the second time. And the third. Then I decided to grow my fringe.

Blushing and hiding behind the camera

Any more embarrasing moments to share? Confessions to make?
Have a fabulous weekend!


  1. jejeej, muy divertida esta lectura, Irene! como" expat"durante un breve periodo de mi vida ( cuando acabé mi carrera y me fui a vivir a Inglaterra) sufrí algunos de estas cosillas que comentas. Sobre todo malos entendidos con alguna palabra. Bss y buen finde:)

  2. This is all so true! I have been living in France for four years now and I still haven't mastered the grocery store! :)

  3. Haha, I love this post! I can't even tell you how many problems I have with the American coins and notes! They all look the same to me so it always takes me forever to get the right amount of money out of my wallet!

  4. Lol, being lost with the coins and trying to convert at the same time. It could be perplexing. Searching for the right ingredients and not managing to find them can be frustrating :)

  5. HaHaHa Irene, this post was so funny girl! HAHAHA I can only imagine. I've never been outside the country. I plan to though. I think people would get a kick out of me. I was reading some English terms that are used in London and laughing (example: biscuit). Totally different than their meaning here in the States. I know I'm going to go into culture shock. You are just too funny! I think the Supermarket would be the biggest challenge for me too! LOVED THIS POST! Oh, those BIG cookies are cookie cakes! HAHAHA Definitely meant to be shared. Have an awesome week my friend.


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