The surprise discoveries of living abroad
I have always heard that Britain is unusually polite, but considered it a part of day-to-day life to apologise when somebody else has banged into me on the tube, when I was entirely blameless. It’s a natural reaction. This also extends to how I would act with a boyfriend in public; a cheeky kiss but nothing too sensual for fear of offending viewers and also to keep my own dignity intact. Living in Germany, however, I have come to discover that this stance is not adopted world-wide; in fact it may even be unique to our little Isles. I never thought that I would ever have enough opinions on 'PDA' (Public Displays of Affection) to voluntarily write a blog on it but the past months have given me the incentive to try and explain just how prevalent it is in the land of beer and sausage.
It would seem that holding hands just isn’t enough to show that you are in a happy relationship; couples compete to see who can act the most lovingly for the longest amount of time, be it on a park bench, the floor of a shop door way or on my leg at Oktoberfest. I’m aware that this may make me sound like an old granny who is bitterly wishing that it was me; but I have nothing against 'PDA'. It’s when I feel like I have to look away because I could be in their bedroom that I have an issue. At Oktoberfest, people were going crazy! At one point I was sitting on a bench next to a couple, and due to the lack of room they were actually on my leg. I had to awkwardly try and retrieve my limb, but they were too distracted to realise.
Perhaps in Germany it is perfectly normal to act intimately in the public eye, and maybe I’m just being prude because it’s something I’m not used to, but I’m sure some people must have also been in a situation where they felt awkward because of an overly affectionate couple.
So why write a blog about this observation? If you’re looking for a moral to the story I guess this could be it: you can read about a country’s festivals, food and traditions in a text book, but there are some unexpected cultural differences which you can only discover through travelling and living abroad.