JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

More Cultural Differences


It’s been awhile since I wrote a post about cultural differences between the US and Europe, but I’ve felt a bit compelled to do so again lately. Just some little observations I’ve noticed while living far from home.


One of the biggest differences is something I’ve noticed here working on the ship. It’s just a little thing, but I find it quite interesting. Back home, if you’re sitting down to eat, the person who cooked (or maybe the host if it’s a dinner party) might say ‘Bon Appetit’ before you begin to eat. But such a practice is not an everyday kind of thing. We really never say it back home in my family and circle of friends. Well, here, it’s apparently very common to wish EVERYONE you see eating a ‘Bon Appetit.’ It’s the strangest thing. For example, when we’re sitting down eating at a crew meal time, sometimes people enter the dining room at different times due to their schedules. It’s rapid-fire ‘Bon Appetit,’ one after the other. You’re trying to eat, but you have to keep saying thank you to all the bon appetits. So weird.


And while we’re speaking about eating, I think it’s a pretty consistent thing across the board at how grossed out Europeans are at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The childhood staple we all grew up with back home, the regular part of our school lunch boxes, quite simply repulses most foreigners. They think combining jelly and peanut butter is madness. As an adult, I’ve often turned to PB & J sandwiches for their ability to travel well, as they don’t start to go bad within a few hours. They’ve accompanied me on many a long train journey here in Europe. I guess we’ll just all have to agree to disagree.


I also miss maple syrup, as I mentioned in a previous blog about food I miss. No one here uses syrup. I’ve come to realize that it must be completely a North American thing. Occasionally we get pancakes at breakfast .   (And that’s another thing altogether – here they often call crepes “pancakes.” Ugh! Note that when I mention pancakes, I do NOT mean crepes, I mean regular American style pancakes.) I’m going to have to go to one of those special shops that sells American foods (at insane prices) to be able to get some Aunt Jemima syrup. (My favorite brand!) Pancakes are meant to be eaten with syrup, darn it!


I know there are others that just aren’t coming to me right now, but when I think of them, I’ll add them to the list!  Until next time, good bye from the sunny Danube in Slovakia!




Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

2 thoughts on “More Cultural Differences

  1. In Italy they thought we were nuts to put ice in a cold drink….why would you dump something cold into your stomach? I also never got used to the kissing both cheeks thing as a greeting….I could never figure out what they were trying to do,LOL.

  2. Yes! The kissing of cheeks varies depending on the country – some do it twice, some three times! I never know what people are going to do when I meet them.

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