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One year more. It's going fast. Am I taking advantage of every opportunity? You betcha.

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Posts Tagged “world”

Cultural Differences

Bidets. 'Nuff Said.

THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE!!!! I know, crazy right? I already touched on fashion for a moment, but there’s so much that’s different besides that. For instance: when you walk into a store, it is rude if you don’t offer a greeting upon your entrance. “Buon giorno” or “Come sta?” are adequate.

Also, there are bidets.

But differences exist that are not always beneficial. For instance, I visited Firenze last night to play Ultimate Frisbee with a team from Firenze (yay! cultural similarities!). Afterwards, because I didn’t want to spend money on a hostel, my friend and I slept in the train station. Prior to our train’s departure at 5:50 AM (we had to get back to Perugia for my class at 9…crazy, right?) both of us needed to use the restroom. Little did we know that the Firenze train station doesn’t believe people might need to use the bathroom prior to 7 AM–when the bathrooms open. Needless to say, I was much relieved when I found out our train had a water closet.

How to Bring in the New Year?

What is the best way to bring in the new year? We all know the basics: watching the ball drop at midnight, singing “Auld Lang Syne,” writing 2011 instead of 2012 for the next several weeks…But how does the rest of the world welcome the changing of the year?

That's me! And my brother (left)! Moments after the polar plunge. Brrrrr...

1. China: it is customary to eat fish and tofu, representative of excess and wealth. But don’t finish your plate, because that means you’ve used up all of your excess!

2. Denmark: the Danish save up old dishes throughout the year, so that on New Years Day, they can throw them at the doors of their friends. The more shattered dishes at one’s doorstep, the more loved the resident!

3. Latin and South America: seeking happiness, these citizens wear colorful underwear to bless the coming year in certain ways (red for love, yellow for luck, etc). I’m still not sure how people are made aware of their choice, since I didn’t have the means to “research” this…

4. Turkey: in an odd form of selfishness, the Turkish people partake in community service or volunteer events, all intended to bring them happiness for the year. Those being helped are not too concerned with this contradiction.

5. Estonia: seven meals eaten in one day to herald a fortuitous year. What the Estonians don’t account for are the stomach aches and indigestion. But hey, they only have up to go from there!

Personally, I started the year by jumping off a chair, cleaning my ears, taking a nap, and (in years past) jumping into a frigid river as part of the Polar Plunge. I hope your year begins in your own way, and whatever the traditions may your year be blessed!

Research citations: Travelandleisure.com and Urbantitan.com