Spending your entire life in one particular environment you don’t even realize how often you assume that people will behave in the certain way or things will be done in the certain way. It is only because you have always seen them happening in this particular way.
Talking about some simple, every day situations there are 3 very small things which made me come to this conclusion: food, tea and alcohol.
Food – being a vegetarian in Poland you can always expect not getting proper food if you don’t inform about it earlier. Everyone assumes that an average person is a non-vegetarian. Here, it’s opposite, even going to KFC or Mc Donald’s you have to indicate you want a non-vegetarian food.
Tea – if you ask for chai in India you will get a tea with milk and sugar. It is just assumed everybody drinks tea with milk! So every time I am ordering a tea I have to point out that I want a black tea. (kali chai)
Alcohol – this is the funniest thing which I realized some 2-3 days ago. I have very cool colleagues at my office, young and funny people. Many times I have heared them talking about going out, agreeing where they want to go, etc. However, they have never asked if I want to join. I was thinking – I am new, maybe they think I am boring, that you can’t have fun with me, etc. But this time I decided to ask where they are actually going and what for. They were very confused at the beginning but finally said they are going out to eat and drink and asked if I want to join. Of course I wanted to join! You should have seen how surprised they were! They said they didn’t ask me earlier because they thought I didn’t drink alcohol! Poor people, forgot I am from Poland? ;) Anyways, I was really surprised – imagine this happening in Poland. In Poland you just assume everybody drinks, so you invite them for a beer, etc. not even thinking that they might say no… Drinking alcohol is just there in the European culture. In hindi the word: “cheers” doesn’t exist!!