Wednesday, August 25, 2010

European People

I am taking a break from my blog to give an update on what the people I have encountered so far are like. In doing this, it will also give you an idea of what I have done so far. As far as you would be able to tell from my blog posts to this point I have not left France! This is simply not the case, I have just not been able to update you past France as of yet. Partly due to a lack of internet access as well as the urge to complement my posts with pictures. Talking about the people I have encountered will not require pictures.

The best and most logical place to start off is France, as I was there first. Stereotypically, I have not heard a lot of great things about French people. The list of their attributes include being arrogant, stuck up and being pretty rude. I already have my own ideas on these stereotypes as I have made some great friends. This trend has continued through camp and friends of friends. I really enjoyed getting to know my French co-workers as well as the students I was lucky enough to teach, and campers I was lucky enough to get to know. I also met some fantastic French people out of camp and rekindled existing friendships as well. All in all some of the nicest and most considerate people I have ever met come from France.

Next I went to Denmark where one of the sweetest people I have ever met comes from. The Danish people all seem to be this way though. Generally very nice and helpful. Everyone's English is also fantastic. Nothing I did not already know here.

Next I went to Berlin. My first impression probably shouldn't count for much because it was with a bus driver. I have found bus drivers everywhere to be pretty unpleasant when you don't know where you are going and don't have proper change for a ticket. This bus driver was no different. At first it seemed like he wanted me off the bus and wasn't willing to help. When I didn't move he finally resorted to speak in English and take my money. Most others I met were quite willing to help and generally spoe pretty good English.

In Prague I experienced much the same as Denmark, people genuinely wanting to help with pretty good English levels. While trying to find the sub way when leaving one girl insisted on taking me there herself as she was going anyways. I was too shy for the most part to do a lot of talking to the Czechs I met, but I did manage to hold a conversation about hockey with the last couple of girls I met, which overall impressed me. Nice and able to talk about hockey is always great in my books.

Afterwards in The Netherlands, just outside Amsterdam, I had another encounter with a bus driver. He gave me a great first impression of the dutch however as he was more then pleasant, spoke great English and I had no problems with him. The others that I met were also quite willing to help. I got lost several times in Amsterdam but it was easy to find my way because their level of English was the same as the Danes and they were quite willing to help.

I have met a lot of people from other places as well, either travelling just the same as me or coming from somewhere else but being fixed in a certain spot for a lengthy period of time. Travelling by yourself it is quite normal to meet a lot of other people. Unfortunately while I am independant enough to travel on my own and willing to be social, I am shy and that has like always been a bit of a barrier in meeting people.

That said, I have still made some friends that I will not forget anytime soon and whom hopefully feel the same way about me. Those friends were made at American Village.

Just to note while travelling around I feel pretty ashamed at my expectency (as well as others I am surrounded by) as far as language goes. If anyone comes to Canada as a traveller (or the USA) we would totally expect them to speak English and be pretty unaccomedating if they tried to speak anything else. Yet we come into their country and expect them to speak English. I feel bad, especially outside of France, that I am unable to even ask if they can speak English or tell them I cannot speak their language. That is about all I can do in French, but atleast that is something.

Currently I am back in Germany in Munich. I did a day trip to Austria today and I head to Switzerland tomorrow.

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