Time Flies

9 Mar

Without realizing it, my internship will end in three weeks. Moreover, I’m just beginning to get settled here in this town, and I’m starting to enjoy my job more, and soon enough I have to move to a new environment and adapt to it. Nevertheless, it’s a priceless learning experience, I have to admit. I’ll give you one example of it.

Last Friday I was invited to a dinner in a restaurant. The host was my colleague and his neighbor. They brought along their wives. They invited me, my teammate/mentor in my department, and another colleague from our branch abroad. It was a small multicultural event, so to speak. We have two Indian people, one Chinese-Indonesian, and four Germans. It was a wonderful time. We shared different stories, little things that we have experienced that trigger cultural difference. Furthermore, I was delighted to see how the Germans are very interested to learn about other cultures, as much as how much I want to know more about them, if not more.

There’s a saying that to learn a culture, you have to be part of the culture. I believe in that sentence deep in my heart. There are so many bits of culture that I observed and impossible to go into detail, but they are well-absorbed into me. From the way they perceive things, how they give opinions, until how they eat. However, the two major things that I can pull out from the event were:

1. Germans are straightforward and blunt. They didn’t hesitate to say that the food that you choose is bad, but they also appreciate if you reject to get another glass of beer.

2. Germans show respect. I have to give this one up for them. In connection to the first example, they respect your decision and honesty. If you are afraid you will get too drunk, decline their offer for the beer. Getting into a dilemma, contemplating too much is not the style out here. Also, one thing that I noticed, they were fully aware that a number of the guests have some shortcomings with their German. As the result, they tried their best to speak English, even though it was not without errors and missing vocabs. It was even more fun when we hit that point, because the conversation was turned into a game: to guess the best word that describes the meaning.

Even a small dinner can have a big impact, and there are so much to grasp. Make sure you don’t miss one when you’re invited. =)

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