You Know You’re Abroad When:

  • When every lock has a skeleton key. Classic scenario:  You’ve been drinking and you get stuck in the bathroom. You fiddle with it, all the while hoping that no one on the outside can hear your struggle or smell your panic.
  • The toilet is smarter than your phone. You use the toilet and you flush, if you’re from North America it’s a one shot deal.  I’m sorry to say though, the dignified European toilet involves a slight learning curve.  Scenerio: you make your business, turn and tap the lever to flush. Whooosh. Hey wait, that didn’t work. Tap lever again. Whoosh. Go to wash hands. Oh fuck, goooo away! Tap lever again. Whoosh! Ohmyfrickinggodalready! Flush goddam it! Hold down the lever for an entire 10 seconds to ensure that waste entirely disposed of. “Finally! Gosh, the whole house is going to think I demolished the bathroom and all I did was blow my nose and toss the tissue in the bowl!” Note to self: hold the lever down, tap not.
  • All cell phones have a trinket hanging from them.
  • All bikes have bells…and they use them. Scenerio: “Brrring, brring!” Translation: [Polite] “I’m approaching you from behind. Please be aware you are being passed.” [Blunt] “I’m riding up behind you so don’t you dare get in my way! And if you do, well don’t complain when I run into you.”
  • The microwave has a frequency setting. Scenario: 2 minutes @ 600 watts (German technology, “How can we make this more sophisticated?”
  • No stop signs, just yield.

To be continually updated as experienced…

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