When I headed for Europe, I was in for a surprise. There were things I knew before hand like in Germany they drink bubble water. Everyone asks do you want still or gas water in the restaurants. But there were a few thinks I could not get use to and miss very dearly about BC and Vancouver.
1. Being helped.
If I’m lost on a street in Vancouver, or better yet even just walking alone, people approach you. Not in a creepy way, but to start a conversation. If they see you pull out a map they’ll come over and point you in the right direction. That is something I really could’ve used in London where all the streets head off in random directions and it’s a game to try and find where they’ve posted the street sign.
2. Free water.
When I go to a restaurant, I always order water. I may order water and a pop but always water. Water is free. Tap water with ice, it tastes better then bottled water to me. And it’s always free. In a club in Prague we had to ask for a glass of ice and fill it in the bathroom to avoid paying 3€ for a bottle. Water is a necessity of life, especially in a club you should not be denying drunk humans water.
3. Good Food
No offense Europe, but I was extremely disappointed in traditional foods. Yeah schnitzel is the best thing ever but other than that nothing impressed me. Cucumber salad in Denmark, roast dinner in England, goulash in every single eastern country. It wasn’t exciting. There was never any spices or flavors, it was all bland. I felt like I should’ve carried hot sauce in my purse. I honestly reached the point where I ate because it’s necessary to function, not because I wanted too. I missed my Tim’s for breakfast, sushi dates for lunch and Chinese all you can eat for dinner.
This isn’t so much a Canadian thing as a BC thing but I missed mountains. Sure Austria, parts of Italy and Slovenia had some alps but other than that, nothing. Just hills, which are really knock off mountains. There’s something calming about the waterfalls and hidden lakes and being surrounded by nature that is so calming. I could never live somewhere that I couldn’t escape into the mountains in a few hours.
5. Smiling and all around politeness.
I went hiking this weekend and if you move aside on the trail to let others pass, every one in the group says thank you. If you’re approaching others on the sidewalk you make eye contact and smile, sometimes say hello. It’s humbling that if I fell everyone would stop and ask if I’m okay. Where in other countries they’ll just skirt around you.
6. Garbage and Recycling cans
Something that always kills me is to throw a recyclable in the trash. But some countries just don’t recycle. Or some have people who separate it later. Which is insane in my mind. But sometimes I would walk around with wrappers in my bag because there just wasn’t any garbage cans. In Athens I had trouble because the ones you did find were so overflowing the trash was all over the ground around it. If you want to prevent littering and keep your city clean, you need to provide the necessities.
I’m not saying everyone is terrible and Canadians are the nicest people in the world. Apparently Australia and New Zealand beat us on that list. But these are things I grew up with being normal. Imagine walking the streets in London and making eye contact with someone. They either think you’re flirting or will cross the street because they think you’re crazy.