Things I Learned From Other Countries

Living and conversing with people from all around the world teaches you a thing or two about their countries. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far (for the billions out there who are more cultured than I, many of these will be obvious):

– In Ireland, they call dishwashing detergent “dishwashing liquid”.

– In Chicago, there’s a street called Rush Street, which is where all the high-end clubs are.  Apparently, if you’re not dressed up or appear to be rolling in cash, you’re not allowed to step on this street. Not sure how they enforce this though.

– Hamburg’s red light district was the first in Europe (before Amsterdam had one of their own). If you’re a foreign girl, you’re not allowed to step onto the RLD or else the girls working there will be quite hostile towards you because they see you as competition. I believe they even have signs warning foreign girls to stay out.

– Budapest’s name came from one side of the city being called “Buda” and the other side “Pest”.

– Among all the people I’ve met from Holland, they’ve all introduced themselves as being from Holland and not The Netherlands, despite the fact that I was always told that the latter term is the politically correct one. Their reason is because they don’t want to say “the”; also, The Netherlands encompasses some islands in the Caribbean, while Holland only refers to the country in Europe.

– In regards to people who have “van” or “von” in their middle names, “van” is Dutch and “von” is German.

– Champagne is only champagne if it is from the city of Champagne, France. Anything else is sparkling wine. 

– Scotch is whiskey made in Scotland. If it isn’t from Scotland, it’s called whiskey, not scotch.

– In cafes in Rome and Florence, prices change depending on whether you sit in the cafe or not. One of my friend’s girlfriend was charged 20 euros for 2 cokes because they sat in the cafe. Whereas if they took it to go, it would’ve been much, much cheaper.

– From personal experience and from others’ accounts, Swedes and the Dutch have the best English out of all the Europeans outside the UK. Some of them have such faint accents that I thought they were Canadian/American.

– In Northern California, they say “hella”. Seriously, I haven’t heard that term used in Vancouver for 7-10 years.

– Some exchange students I’ve met think that Canadians say “aboot” instead of “about”, which is weird because I’ve never heard anyone say “aboot” before in my life except for someone who is trying to imitate a Canadian.

– Other exchange students are surprised that I find Lund so cold since I’m from Canada. Little do they know that Vancouver’s “cold” is child’s play compared to the rest of Canada. 

– Many Europeans like to be critical of Americans, yet at the same time seem fascinated with American lifestyle.

– Finally, since I hang out with quite a few Australians, I have picked up on some of their slangs. So for anyone who is headed to Australia, hit ’em with a few of these terms:

  • Skull: chug (as in your drink)
  • Keen: excited / “down” for something
  • Heaps: a lot / very 
  • Chuffed: pleased / happy
  • Chat: gross / disgusting (as in “that’s so chat!”)
  • Pay you out: making fun of you
  • Cut: angry or pissed
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