A German/Mexican Couple and a English Baby Happily Living in the UK

Gabi and Till are a Mexican/German couple, living in London with their son Axel. Today, Gabi tells us all about her life in the UK, how different her life would be if she was in Mexico, and how wonderful the English labour laws are (one year maternity leaves!).

 Gabi, please tell us a bit about yourself and your family.

I am Mexican, married to a German and gave birth to an English baby Axel in 2011. I work in banking and at the moment I am off on maternity for…. a year – thanks to the English labour laws!!

March 1, 2012 4 comments

First blog roundup of the year

This is what some of our contributors have been up to in their personal blogs. Drop by and say hi!

Marcel, our contributor from Ireland and Berlin, describes how his move back to Berlin across Europe went.

“Crisscrossed Europe in a small and overloaded Japanese car, with the constant fear of getting crushed by my complete household whenever I brake too hard. Thankfully there was no snow and all ferries were running on schedule.”

Anu, our contributor from India, posted an interesting photo essay about images of the sky snapped from different means of transport.

I am back at last from my trip – the last one of 2011 and also the first one of 2012. I was accompanied throughout by some wonderful weather, the cyclone Thane throwing no hurdles in my path, just a lot of clouds and some rain to enliven our travel! “

Carmen, our contributor from Romania, shows a display of Christmas lights in the city of Bucharest.

DeeBee, our contributor from France, shows a pretty collection of modern shop signs inspired by medieval ones.

Read more
From our contributors: week of December 20
From our contributors: week of December 4
From our contributors: week of November 21

January 10, 2012 2 comments

Meet Marcel from Germany, and learn about why he now calls Ireland “home”

Today, we speak with our regional contributor, Marcel Krueger. Marcel is from Germany, however currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. Read on to hear more about what it’s like to live in Dublin, and how Dublin is so different than what most tourists expect!

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I was born in Germany, in small town in the west called Solingen, and now live in in the capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin. What made me come here was a new job, quite simply. But I like it so much that I’m here for five years now, despite the rain.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.

Tricky. I do consider myself being multi-cultural, especially as I work with the internet a lot and have friends and peers all over the world – so I’m in touch with different cultures and countries on a daily basis and really do enjoy discovering and learning new things. I do like islands and autumn though, so if I have to name a culture I’d identify with the most that would be Ireland and Iceland.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

The concept of Pocketcultures very much appealed to me, especially as a inter-European expat. I do not consider myself being a traveller, I prefer to stay in a place for a while and learn as much as possible about the people, history, everyday life – things you cannot do when you travel through for two weeks or so. So I thought I could contribute an interesting article or two from time to time.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

I get up in the morning and board a yellow double-decker bus that takes me to the office, from 18th-century Mountjoy Square where I live to a new corporate park in the suburbs. I work mainly as a copywriter, so after eight hours of starring at a screen I take a similar bus home and would stare at another screen at home for another two hours, writing for Pocketcultures or one of my other writing gigs. If I’m not heading to a pub (we have quite a few here), I go to see a gig or to the movies.

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

The Irish. Both.

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Films: Once, Michael Collins, In Bruges

Books: A Star Called Henry, At Swim-Two-Birds and (ta-daa) Dubliners

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

Mostly that Dublin is not all sheep, sessions in the local pub and tweed-clad farmers. It’s your standard European metropole, one that comes with a drug problem and hundreds of ghost-estates.

November 18, 2011 Comments disabled

Dance and Identity in Lower Silesia

The rainbow-striped skirts billowed like balloons around the women as they spun across the stage, a kaleidoscope of blurred colors. Between the swirling patterns, the dancers stopped to sing. My friend leaned over, translating into my ear. “These people probably moved to Poland after WWII, from the east, an area that’s now the Ukraine. The songs are about a new homeland, about acceptance, about keeping their traditions.”


February 17, 2011 8 comments

What brings good (or bad) luck in Japan?

Test your cultural expertise with our weekly quiz question.

Last week we asked about Weltverbesserungswahn in Germany. Here’s the correct answer:

C. Both are likely to come from the desire that the world could be a better place, the meaning of Weltverbesserungswahn.

This week’s question is about Japan:

Which of the following are seen as good or bad luck in traditional Japanese superstition?

A. The first person you meet on a particular day is a woman
B. The first person you meet on a particular day is a Buddhist priest
C. You get a bird dropping on your head
D. You are overtaken by a funeral procession on the street


January 27, 2011 1 comment

The meaning of Weltverbesserungswahn

Test your cultural expertise with our weekly quiz question.

Last week we talked about how to address an Indian colleague. This was an interesting discussion and we’d still like to hear your comments if you have experienced how this works in practice. Here’s the answer:

Although he is junior to you, he is older and hence you should address him as Mr. Mehta to show him the respect due to his being older. You would also address an older, though junior, female colleague by her title and family name.

The next question is about Germany:

Which of the following German behaviors might be attributed to a national Weltverbesserungswahn:

A. A passion for recycling waste products.
B. The high number of Bioladen (natural food stores).
C. Both A and B
D. None of the above.


January 20, 2011 2 comments