My roommate in Lund was Taiwanese, a very different culture from the Dutch one. Of course, this was the perfect opportunity to learn from each other, since we both wanted to get to know each other’s cultures a bit. She got me a pair of eating sticks to practice my skills, some typical Asian tea flavors and she let me taste a special meat powder that they eat a lot in sandwiches and omelets. I introduced her to the Dutch ‘chocolade pepernoten’, ‘stamppot’, ‘stroopwafels’ (a really big hit among all internationals in Lund) and ‘dropjes’ (liquorice, not a hit at all).
I thought that a good way to learn something about the Asian culture, was to host a sushi night together for all our friends in the student complex. Because she told me she loved sushi and used to eat a lot of it at home (already for breakfast sometimes!). However, during the planning of this event I found out that she didn’t know how to make sushi at all, since a common cultural aspect of Taiwan is to never cook yourself and always eat out. Maybe I could have seen this coming, since she already asked me before how you could make a raw potato eatable, but the sushi night was already set and had to be organized somehow. I ended up doing a lot of planning and grocery shopping myself. This was mixed with a little bit of stress, since the event sort of got out of proportion when suddenly 15 people were invited in our really really small kitchen. But with some help from friends and a lot of standing and sitting on the ground, we have made it into a real success. Even more people from the complex dropped by, attracted to the coziness and good food. Everyone loved the sushi and I made myself into a real sushi expert!The small cultural differences and language barrier led to interesting situations and communication struggles sometimes, but all in all, she was a really nice roommate who showed me a small part of a totally different world from ours. Something I am really thankful for!