Trivial annoyances

Culture difference can be found everywhere when you are having your working holiday, trivial matters in daily lives can be really annoying and almost drive people crazy.

Unless you are trying to be another Ekin Cheng (a Hong Kong celebrity with long hair), a guy normally cuts his hair at least 3/5/7/ times a year. Before going to Germany I had heard that most western hair stylists have problems in handling Asian hair, but I couldn't imagine the situation would be that bad. Once a young stylist made me a blunt bang and charged 30€, he might thought the bang was nice on me but to me it was a nightmare! How about going to cheap barbers for basic haircut? I did try a Turkish one and I want no second time please. My other Asian friends didn't get any better, so most of them ended up doing the haircut themselves. So don't expect anything from a pragmatic country like Germany, especially when it comes to hairstyle, you can only trust Japanese.

Found this Japanese barber shop just before I left Berlin, but it's too late.Found this Japanese barber shop just before I left Berlin, but it's too late.

I need rice in my meals like most Chinese people do, but in Germany, rice cooker is hard to find. To replace, there is some kind of 'instant rice' available in supermarkets with holes on its package, all you need to do is to put it in boiling water for 15 minutes. I have it when I miss home, though it never tastes like home-- after boiling the rice gets very watery, the texture is powdery and you can't chew. It is sad indeed for I am a rice lover.

The instant riceThe instant rice

To most people in Hong Kong, Sunday is the shopping day. But in Germany, don't even think of that! To avoid extra taxes which is levied on businesses on Sunday, most shops and supermarkets in Germany close on Sundays and the city gets super quiet. Supermarkets closing on Sundays also means that, if you forgot to buy the foods on Saturday, you'll have to go to restaurants on Sunday for food, which is often very costly.

One of the few supermarkets that opens Sunday, we were very excited when we found this!One of the few supermarkets that opens Sunday, we were very excited when we found this!

The list can go on, to name a few: all online reservations are only in German, fresh fish is hard to find, no midnight bus, and taxi is not available everything -- I don't mean to complain, but these are the moments when I come to realise how good it is to live in Hong Kong. And once your find these trivial matters not annoying anymore, congratulations, you have become a local!

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Priscilla Ng
Fung Garcia

A post-80s Chinese language teacher who failed his A-Level English, went working holiday to Germany before his turned 30 –worked little, holiday a lot. Speaking poor English and zero German, he managed to survive and visited 29 countries in Europe. Lazily updating his travel blog 'Garcia in Germany'.