Getting things done abroad


It’s funny how eating out can be such an adventure. We started our journey in Norway and Sweden and the funny thing of eating out in these countries is that you have self service everywhere. If you thought that the concept of eating out is to be waited at the table, think again. In Norway you order your food at the bar and you get it there when it’s ready for the table.

What is also quite normal is to remove somebodies plate when finished eating. In Holland it’s common to only remove plates from the table when everyone is finished eating. Not in all other countries around the Netherlands… This leads to a situation where as my mom is always eating alone at the table, because my dad is finished eating his meal within 30 seconds.

As from the Balkan we have seen that it is a serve-when-ready attitude. This means that your side salad is already served when ready. This leads sometimes to the uncomfortable situation that you don’t know if you have to eat it first, before they start with your main course; or ; if you leave the plate until your main course arrives. We have reached an impasse…. A bit like getting your ice cream before your soup. It will be drinkable warm ‘ice’ cream at the end of the meal.

We have had lots of occasions where the drinks are also served at the same time as the food. And when it takes a bit longer to serve the food, you might as well lick the moist from the windows because you’re not getting your drink any time soon. And if you have ordered tea than it is normal to get that after the dinner.

We’ve had quite some occasions that one of us already finished the dinner, while the other haven’t even started yet. That’s not so nice when eating out together. Or that one of us is picking ice creams when the other is still waiting for the pizza to arrive…

We also had an experience where the weather pushed us to go eating out. Because cooking in the rain is not our hobby, we decided in Georgia to eat out. We found a small place in a yet smaller town and decided that this must be it. We sat down and asked for the menu. “Ah yes menu” and people start pointing towards the store next door. We where left a bit confused, but we where pulled outside of our chairs by the people and pushed inside the store. Then we understood from the lady that we could have anything to eat we wanted, what’s inside the store. They can cook anything you like from what’s available in the store. We picked a sausage, some bread, some eggs and dumplings and thought it would form a ‘complete meal’. The sausage was served with the bread immediately… we eat this raw??? We asked ourselves… yes, eat, eat, eat… they say. And later the dumplings and the eggs followed to be eaten. We payed close to nothing and still had a full stomach, and an experience richer hihihi…

The funny thing, though, is that it’s always an adventure. Just like getting things done abroad. It’s all just a little bit different from home and that’s what makes it fun. So we remember to stand inside a store selling household appliances with our bag full of dirty clothes.
We drank some tea at a small local place and asked where we could find the self laundry service in the city center. We got a ‘ no worries, I got ya’’ response from the owner, so we waited. A car pulled up and was here to escort us to his laundry service. Great, we payed for the tea and drove our car behind the escort. Once arrived at this shop/store we saw that it wasn’t what we needed. The guy sold brand new washing machines. Here you are with you weeks of dirty laundry inside a neat store with new appliances…. We explained to him that we needed laundry machines that could wash our dirty clothes and he immediately started calling a friend of a friend of a friend… We decided to let it go from this point and do our laundry some other time.

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