You can take the girl out of Eastern Europe, but you can’t take the Eastern Europe out of the girl. As someone who has lived in London for more than 10 years, I realised that there’s a ton of things that may seem weird about me… because they are total Eastern European superstitions!
What Are Some Typical Eastern European Things About Me?
- Whistling indoors. I physically cannot bear someone doing so. In Eastern European culture this is considered vulgar, and the saying goes that “you will whistle your funds away”. I am almost shivering even thinking about it. Stahp.
- Even number of flowers. While florists in London wouldn’t give two thoughts about even or uneven numbers of flowers in their beautiful arrangements, give an even number to an Eastern European and they will accuse you of wishing them death. This is because it is customary to bring a bouquet with an even number of flowers to a funeral, uneven to any other occasion.
- Describing someone else’s spot, bruise, cold sore etc while gesturing and showing it on yourself. Never ever show it on yourself as in Eastern European culture it may mean that you are next to get it!
- Sitting down in silence before travelling. This is something my parents taught me to do. It’s just a tradition of sitting down in silence for a minute or half before embarking on a long journey, even if you are late; the taxi driver will get it back home; but it’s not an excuse to be late here in London.
- Empty bottles on the floor. Not in my house! Don’t ask and don’t do it.
- Birthday greetings before the actual date. Who knows if we actually live to the date? I mean, anything can happen! Always greet an Eastern European on the day of their birthday or after; never before.
There are many more of these Eastern European superstitions, for example sitting on cold surfaces or at the corner of a table, or looking into a broken mirror – but luckily those haven’t been cemented in my brain.
If you are an expat, what are typical things that you do that are not customary in the country you reside?