It’s usually not a good idea to make assumptions about life in another country. Even simple assumptions like assuming that someone understands how long an inch or a foot is. (Because most people outside the USA use the metric system, they don’t have any idea what the length “a foot” is.) Everything is a little bit different . My roommate and I have our own small kitchen in our home stay where we cook for ourselves on the weekends. Last Sunday, we decided to try our hand at cooking poulet dans le four. Our oven only reaches 250 degrees, so we turned it up all the way to try to get the chicken done in a reasonable amount of time. It only took about 10 minutes for our chicken to be completely dried out. We were so confused until we realized … We were cooking the chicken at 250 degrees Celsius, not 250 degrees Fahrenheit!(Which means we had the oven set on 482 degrees Fahrenheit!)
Some things seem so normal in the states, that I didn’t even think about how it could be different here.The first week after I arrived, my roommate and I went shopping at the local GB.It’s not hard to figure out that one box has crackers and another has cereal inside, but it still took us a while to decide what we wanted because, of course, all of the packaging is in French and Dutch. Arms full, we loaded up the self-check out conveyer belt, hoping our debit cards would work. Mine worked fine, but my roommate couldn’t get hers to work and ended up having to pay with cash. (Europe recently switched to a system where you have to have a certain chip in your card for it to work, and her card didn’t have it.) While waiting for her to figure out finances, I noticed that everyone had their own bags to carry out their groceries. Uh-oh. We didn’t even have big purses with us. We had absolutely nothing to carry this stuff in. I asked a lady who worked there if there were any sacks we could buy, and I ended up purchasing a freezer bag and feeling completely embarrassed that I didn’t know what I was doing.
So, learn from our mistakes.When you travel to Europe, make sure your card works, take your own grocery bag, and when something says 250 degrees, know it’s probably a lot hotter than you think.