I love the variety and unique nature of all of the different countries and cultures on our planet—learning how other people groups structure their lives and go about their day-to-day activities is fascinating.
As I’ve walked around Europe for the last two weeks, I’ve kept mental notes on a few differences in daily life that caught my attention more than once. Here they are:
Smaller refrigerators – We stayed in both family homes (France) and small apartments (France, Belgium, Italy) and the refrigerators in both were much smaller than a typical unit in the United States. Some researchers think that the growth of the American icebox was due to delivery infrastructure for cold foods1.
Fewer rain jackets – This is an odd one, but I noticed that many people either used an umbrella to protect themselves against the rain or nothing. I asked our French friend (who now lives in Belgium and has travelled Europe extensively) and he confirmed that rain-specific jackets are less common there than in the states.
Toilets separated from showers – In both France and Belgium we found houses and apartments built with toilets in individual rooms, separate from shower and sink. While less efficient in terms of space, I really like the idea and functionally it worked really well when multiple people in a small apartment were getting ready in the morning or before bed. I had trouble finding detailed information about this architectural design decision, but it seems to be mostly concentrated in France2.