It’s all too easy to believe that the way we do things is how it is for everyone. But that’s not the case. In fact, here are 7 things Belarusians do that strike foreigners as very, very odd.
Both baffling and amazing.
Work as a sense of life
Belarusians are extremely hard-working, it’s a fact and a commendable one. However, turns out we can take our love to work to extremes and work-life balance is not for us.
While Europeans and American usually end their workday between 4-5 pm and then go live their lives, most Belarusians have their work as a part of their lifestyle.
It doesn’t mean we don’t have other things to do, hobbies to enjoy or people to meet. We just attach great importance to our responsibilities, while our private life is placed on the back burner.
Following the rules
Foreigners usually note that Belarusians, for the most part, are well-mannered and law-abiding people. They say we are extremely good at strictly following the rules. This also applies to the little things.
If there’s no trash nearby, be sure he/she will hold onto a cigarette butt until finds it. No wonder, Minsk (as well as many other Belarusian cities) has the reputation of one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
Count in dollars
Can you imagine an American counting what share of his salary he should save in British pounds or Russian rubles? Or a French doing the same with the Swiss franc?
But why everybody in Belarus talks about the dollar? The swings of the exchange rate and devaluation of Belarusian ruble over the decades have made Belarusians concerned with the dollar.
All these factors have transformed the mind of locals into a kind of a calculator that subconsciously converts prices from BYN to USD and backward.
We convert our salaries, prices in supermarkets, rent, etc. Should the ruble start behave abnormally, one will see Belarusians quickly forming lines near cash exchanges to buy some bucks.
Why do people stand so close to you at the money exchange and other public places?
Waiting in long queues was a near-daily occurrence in the Soviet Union and Belarus is no exception. Sharing your personal space with others is something we are used to and don’t actually mind.
No empty bottles on the table, no whistling, not giving something over a threshold, not walking under a ladder or anything else in form of a triangle.
Black cats, as well as 13 Friday, are taken into account, and obviously, you do not drink without proposing a toast in Belarus. Where do all these come from?
Nowadays people don’t remember the origin of superstitions (paganism probably?), they just repeat rituals the same way their parents and grandparents did.
Cutting in line
“Hate when people stand in two or three different lines at the store/bank/polyclinic/ wherever! Then whichever line goes the fastest they go back to that line. Like seriously?”
Obviously, that brazen line jumping habit baffles and annoys not only foreigners but Belarusians as well. However, the art of queuing in Belarus is finely honed and you just need to know the rules to get it right.
It aslo possible for a person to leave the queue to use the bathroom (or some other brief act) and then return to the original place without having to ask permission.
It is also common for a person to be allowed to jump to the front of the queue in special cases, like the need to purchase a ticket for an imminently departing train or any other good excuse.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the true uniqueness of our behaviors. Still not convinced Belarusians actually differ from other nations?