Diferente culturale sau diferente de bun-simt?

Din ciclul “diferente culturale” la birou… Acum cativa ani, pe vremea cand olandeza pentru mine suna pur si simplu a zgomot am intrat intr-o echipa formata in preponderenta de vorbitori de flamanda. Notati va rog ca la vremea respectiva vorbeam deja trei limbi: romana, engleza si franceza (deci trei limbi dintre care doua nu imi sunt native si una este limba oficiala in Belgia). Si desi in companie limba oficiala de lucru era si este engleza, nu de multe ori flamanda este folosita in vorbirea curenta. Astfel ca la birou s-au format doua grupuri principale. Grupul vorbitorilor de flamanda, alcatuit in din majoritatea colegilor care sunt in preponderenta belgieni si grupul mic si minoritar al celor care nu vorbesc o boaba de flamanda sau care inteleg cat de cat. Membrii grupului de vorbitori de flamanda isi folosesc limba nativa in mai toate situatiile de grup: jos, la cafetaria in timp ce iau masa, in pauza de cafea sau cea de tigara. Daca vrei totusi sa socializezi si sa petreci timp cu ei, la pauza de masa, de cafea sau de tigara, te pomenesti ca desi discutia tu o initiezi in engleza, repede si irevocabil discutia o ia pe flamanda iar tu, cel nevorbitor, te trezesti ca esti tratat cu indiferenta lingvistica si culturala. Era o zi de 8 noiembrie cand aniversam ziua numelui – Sfintii Mihail si Gavril si am vrut sa folosesc acest prilej ca sa mai netezesc un […]

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The Driving Challenge

“Oh boy, it was a huge space-ship looking like VW Passat which was parked facing the wall. So obviously to drive it out, I had to reverse. On the gear shift, for reversing it was shown the same direction as for the first gear. I lifted the gear shift (as I did so many times with all the cars that I had driven before) and moved the gear shift towards left and then forward, believing that the car will get into reverse mode. Well, it didn’t. It kept getting closer and closer to the wall.”   I got my driving license while I was still in the early years of undergraduate. Back then I had the time to study for this and it was fairly cheap to do the driving school in Romania (especially if you compare the Belgian fees for driving schools and test ). Then after I succeeded my driving license test,  I just kept my driving license in the pocket and displayed it as a “good to know” item on the CV. I  had no car of my own and dad was never around to drive his car, hence I did not practised my new skills. I continued to be a pedestrian for another 7 years, both in Romania and Belgium. When I moved to Brussels, there was really no other mean of transport available than the public transportation. Then I got a job wich came with […]

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Some thoughts on Brussels Expats’ depression

I’ve recently read on The Economist’s blog that Brussels makes people grumpy and that during autumn/winter Brussels can look like a grey desolated communist neighbourhood. In my view Brussels cannot be compared to Bucharest, anyway, not from the grey communist architecture point of view. I believe David Rennie, the author of that post did not really experienced the impact of Bucharest’s grey view, nor realised the tremendous architectural difference between the two capitals. However, I agree that Brussels can make people grumpy and feeling depressed. Let’s see why and what we can do about it. It is about 8.00 in the morning and I am about to get on the tram. As most of the times, at this time of the day the trams are packed, especially in the doorway. Somehow tram/bus commuters in Brussels can’t process the fact that they would have more room and feel more comfortable in that crowded tram if they would simply move towards the sides of the tram. However they just prefer to block the doorway, to be packed as sardines and shout to express their anger for being stepped and pushed every time the tram breaks abruptly. The result? Grumpiness or depression! The solution? Just simply move towards the sides of the tram/bus/metro and make some room for yourself and the others. Smile, speak politely and be respectful. If it does not help try to remember your favourite song so you focus on […]

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