Having lived in Romania for two months, I have had some time to note cultural differences that one may find interesting.
~ Cents don’t matter: you know how in the US if the bill says $1.99 and we pay $2 we expect one cent in return (even if we really don’t want the penny)? Don’t expect to receive one cent back as pennies are quite elusive in Romania. (For the coin collector in me, I was very happy when I finally found one) But don’t worry about not receiving your change as it evens out the next time when you are owed two cents and you receive a five cent piece instead. Although, again, you may or may not get the five cent. But it’s not a big deal and everyone knows it because it does seem to even out!
~ Pizza and corn: I like corn. I like pizza. I just never imagined combining the two…or adding ketchup to the mix. While I ate my Mediterranean pizza (known in the US as Hawaiian) with the corn, I couldn’t bring myself to douse it in ketchup even though I like it (and put it on my scrambled eggs).
~ Greetings: In Perú I got used to “greeting each other with a holy kiss” (as the Holy Book says) on one cheek, and always the right side. Here, it’s a kiss on each cheek and usually started with the left side. I’ve had to learn to let the Romanians initiate to avoid the possibility of a smackeroo as I always go for the wrong side. They might be shocked by a surprised South African greeting…as would I! (If I have my cultures right)
~ Tipping: Nope, I haven’t found it to exist. It’s so strange for me even though in the US I always struggled with who got how much and who to tip. So I looked it up online and they pay their workers a fair wage so tipping isn’t needed.
~ Trains run on time: At least as far as I’ve experienced. While in the US I’ve had my train be two hours late, here I’ve seen the train leave the station on time. Besides, I like train travel…which may be part of the reason I visit my friend in Cluj so often. 🙂
~ Street curbs: They are meant for driving over to park your car. If the sidewalk is wide, it’s not for foot traffic but is actually a small parking lot.
~ Sunbathing: Um, for this one shall I just say that I was surprised at the salt lake. The speedos and a couple missing tops reminded me I was in Europe. This is one thing in which I won’t follow the saying: “When in Rome,…”
~ The dentist: I didn’t need to go but I tagged along with my friend. They wear booties into the exam rooms! As in hospital surgery room plastic booties to pull over your feet. I so wanted to sit in and watch to see how dentistry was different but wasn’t allowed. I guess some of my past career still clings to me. 🙂