16 February 2011

Mehr Cultural Observation(en)

Germany & Austria are probably the only countries where you'll ever see a Camper Trailer being towed by a BMW!

Not much cultural to observe here. But it's a house overrun with weeds. In Vienna. Around the corner from our apartment. Strange! You'd expect to see something like this out in the countryside, but not in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Vienna.

Cultural observation #1 - When food is expensive in the country you are living in, eat a lot of rice and shop at Asian stores! We always wanted to cook better Asian food, and thanks to the help of some of our friends we now do. yum!
Oliver just eats plain rice (and plain yogurt, and plain noodles -- frozen vegatables too)
He leaves some on the floor for munchin' later.

Cultural Observation #2: They have crazy activities for children that you might have tried when your parents weren't looking, but that definately were not organized by the city... such as building a huge slide out of benches and gym mats. I love the children clinging to the top (yes, I know, some of them are mine...)

And down they go! They had fun at this gym day near our house, but it was a challenge making sure neither kid got injured trying out the activities. Luckily Marion slept through the whole thing so I was free to spot kids who were jumping off of large platforms onto mats, sliding down the huge benches, and using gymnastics rings as swings...

More observations...

In english we say "the straw that breaks the camel's back."
In german the same saying is "the drop of water that makes the barrel overflow"
Which is kind of strange because if a barrel has too much water, it just overflows until it equalizes. (1 drop in, 1 drop out). But if you break the back of a camel... it's a dead camel. Which is the better perspective?
They don't decorate their Christmas trees in Austria until Christmas Eve. Saint Nicholas comes on the night of December 5th and fills their boots with candy, if the kids have been good. If they've been bad a freaky looking devil called Krampus who comes by and takes all the kids presents while they're in bed, if they are not sleeping when St. Nicholas comes.

On the 24th, the Christkind, or Christ-child (who looks like a woman, with long flowing blond curly hair--odd) comes and gives presents to the kids for Christmas morning. The kids don't write letters to St. Nick, but write letters to the Christ-child. We're thinking we'll adopt these traditions for next year.
We have a tiny refrigerator - actually ours is considered large, but it is about half the size of an American refrigerator. The other day we were dreaming about one day having a bigger fridge, and we both said - "That would be nice, but what in the world would we put in a refrigerator that big?" Apparently we have lost our ability to be extravagent in food purchasing and it is indeed time to go home to the USA!
The saying, "The best thing since sliced bread" really doesn't mean much here, because all the good bread doesn't come sliced. The only bread you do buy sliced is really dry and not tasty...

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