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Rachelle Snelgrove

Coffee As a Life Style

By | 2011, Europe | One Comment

Coffee as a Representative of Our Differing Lifestyles
I have been back in Canada for a few days now and have not experienced as much culture shock as I figured I would, especially having been away for so long. The one thing that has really affected me since I have been back has been the coffee, yes you heard me right, the coffee. I cannot believe what we call coffee here, it’s just sad. Coffee is not just a beverage it’s a way of life. I believe the way a person drinks their coffee says a lot about them, and no I don’t mean sip or slurp or chug. I mean how they treat the whole experience surrounding coffee. Therefore, if the way a person treats the “coffee experience” can tell a lot about them, it logically must work the same for the way a nation treats the coffee experience. I noticed that we, North Americans, and the Europeans treat the coffee experience quite differently. Sure we both run off coffee and we all enjoy it in the company of others, but for North Americans it has become an addiction so thick that we can hardly even enjoy a good cup of coffee any more. Yes, a good cup of coffee, not a grande from Dunkin’ Donuts.

So let me begin by describing how typical North Americans treat the coffee experience: we wake up grab a cup of coffee and get ready for work or school, then we pick up a large coffee on the way to work which becomes cold in 10 minutes but we drink it because there is still three quarters of a cup left. We do not even savour the taste, we do not even acknowledge that we are drinking it, we run off coffee to keep up with our busy lifestyle and therefore do not care too much for the taste or the quality, we just need our fix. I realize that this is not the case for all, I am talking about the majority here, because I am sure that there are many Europeans who are likely to do the same, again, majority here. Now shall we look at the European way of drinking coffee? The portions are much smaller and the quality is much better. The flavor is richer and the texture is thicker. It is quite a bit more expensive there, but they drink less of it and enjoy it a little more. It just re-assures me that their lifestyle seems to be much slower paced, and they seem to take the time to enjoy good quality things such as coffee, wine, and beer. Yes, they treat wine and beer quite the same, good quality stuff that is not simply consumed to get wasted. I admit, I am one of those North Americans that runs off coffee and will usually drink any kind of coffee no matter how awful it is, but after experiencing coffee the European way I cannot see how I could go back.

Rachelle

Equality in europe

By | 2011, Europe | No Comments

I have now been in Europe about seven weeks. I’ve been having a wonderful time and the weather has been lovely. I often feel like a child just awed and fascinated by nearly anything. There is one thing that has stood out to me quite boldly though, I first noticed it in Spain and have continued to notice it in every city we have been in. Maybe the International Studies lectures and presentations have been affecting me more than I thought. I’ve been noticing that beggars and slums seem to be more scarce, although they do exist, but inequality seems to be very present. I’ve noticed that people of different origin than the country they are living in are often ignored and do not seem very integrated into the societies they must live in. They often are given very poor jobs that are looked down upon by the local native people of the land and are often treated poorly and paid poorly. According to Jonathon’s presentation today they were brought over for this specific reason. However I have to admit, I am not entirely surprised just a little caught off guard. I often feel uncomfortable when I go to pee in a washroom and when I am finished a black or Indian lady will clean up after me. I feel like it is the modern form of slavery. They technically are free but in a sense they are enslaved in this cruel circle. They need these jobs to survive and the Europeans feel they are above such tasks so it seems like a win win, if only they were not treated like the dirt they clean. You can imagine my discomfort in seeing a city of white wealthy men and woman being cleaned after by people of darker ethnicity, it sort of leaves me with a guilty feeling. As I mentioned I’m really not surprised but what is surprising is how a person can go from a high paying job in one country to a bathroom cleaner in a another. I was talking to a man who was an orthodontist in Iran and he came over to Europe because his family was not entirely safe because of the political situation and their religious standing, and now he has a low paying job and lives in a very small apartment. He is obviously very intelligent and very capable but he is discriminated against. If he wants to be able to continue his career here he has to go to school all over again, as oppose to writing a test. I know that it is the exact same way in Canada too. Yet North Americans and Europeans can go just about anywhere in the world and get a decent job. I know people seem to have valid arguments for being frightened by some of these groups of people but that is something that can change and has to change. When people are treated as lower humans they will eventually begin to act like it. Something has to be done.

Appreciating My Humanity

By | 2011, Europe | No Comments

One thing that has stood out to me while wondering the streets of various European cities and countries is how involved people are in politics. Young and old, people alike seem to know where they stand in their political views, where as many young people in Canada barely know who our current political leader is. They also seem rather passionate and ready to stand up for the views that they hold. An example of this is the graffiti that I have observed all over the walls and subway stations. Just like any other city there is a fair amount of graffiti, but unlike many other cities it does not reek of profanity and vulgarity. I have seen many spray paintings that say such things as “Freedom For All, and Catalonia is not Spain”. I had never really thought of the freedom that I enjoy every day in my country as something that can be taken away so easily. Probably because it is all I have ever known. But I have noticed that many people here are aware of the freedom that they enjoy and work every day towards keeping it. There was a man at the Protestant Museum that told us we need to continue to keep a tight grasp on our rights as humans because they can be easily taken away.

Another aspect of the trip that greatly affected me was seeing Michelangelo’s David. I found myself completely awestruck by how realistic his form was. I began to reflect on why I was so touched, and even spiritually moved, by this piece of art work and it occurred to me that I have always thought that part of being human was being able to be creative. I am just so thankful that God, the ultimate creator, allowed us to inherit some of His genius creative skills. And I also appreciated how it affirmed the beauty of the human form, which was made in God’s image.

Rachelle