…and how I was thrown into two new cultures at the same time
I left my culture behind exactly thirty-two hours ago and gained two new cultures. German as I am, I was perfectly prepared for Australia. I regularly received videos about the most dangerous animals of Australia from my father, my sister-in-law tried to help improve my English and I had properly ticked off the packing list.
However, when I arrived on the other side of the world that didn’t help me much. While at home, I mainly studied English grammar, so I had completely forgotten all the terms that were needed for life. According to this, the conversations with my three Israeli flat-mates went something like this: “Can you please put this….” with a lot of articulation. Since both sides could not communicate in their mother tongue, a German or Hebrew word would appear here and there. This sometimes led to misunderstandings. For example, when my boss wanted to draw my attention to the fact that in Australia you drive on the left side of the road. But with smaller (which in Hebrew means left) he only confused me more.
Starting out in a new country can be both exciting and confusing. Suddenly, you share a house with people you have never seen before and say hi to each other in the morning before taking a shower. Thanks to jet lag, you don’t sleep during the night but at daytime. The climate, the food – simply everything is different. But I didn’t have time to think about it because I was struggling to understand different sales strategies and information about the ingredients you find in the cremes with the help of Google Translate.
I was trembling when I stretched my arm, with a small sample of cream in my hand, towards a woman passing by and I said in a low voice: “For you Ma´am”. Apparently unconvincing because the woman didn’t even look up to me. The next attempts to stop someone, who was willing to buy something by using the same approach, were also unsuccessful. There I was, in a shopping mall in Australia surrounded by Israelis on my first working day, trying to sell cream from the Dead Sea to the people. With a confident and broad smile I stopped the next woman walking by – when she responded in German the ice was broken. I sold my very first cream to a German immigrant – a piece of German homeland on the other side of the world. In the evening, I celebrated this success with my work colleagues at my first Shabbat Dinner – three cultures united.