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October 2003 - Nr. 10


The Editor
To the Editor
Antje berichtet
Vienna Connection
Zurich Connection
Toronto Connection
Letzte Kraftanstrengung
KW and Beyond
Filmfest Stories
With Anton Kuerti
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Herwig Wandschneider
German-American Day
Stephen Harper Statement
Essay Contest
Old German Tradition
President Rau's Message
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
TSO & Lars Vogt on Piano
TSO: Composer Wanted
TSO - Boris Berezovsky
Dietrich & the Phone
Wins "Golden Shell"
Reubens Returned
Financial Advice
Frauenkirche Unveiled

Toronto Connection

Rachel A.I. Seilern

I find it interesting how different the Canadian way of life is in comparison with the European when perhaps the majority of people in our country originate from Europe! Yes, geography would be the reason for many differences – those they and we cannot help. But a few aspects of today’s European culture that I discovered while traveling there, we Canadians should take notice of. My exposure to Europe’s culture is still limited but from what I saw, we could use a little improvement in several departments.

Firstly, Europeans seem to value lasting things more than we do. One example, which I find rather depressing, is in how we deal with our history. I am a first-hand witness to how our government feels about farmhouses, for example, older than the country itself; they may preserve a few of them but all too many stand for years condemned and then "accidentally" catch fire. Our only shreds of history are rather reduced to glowing embers (because it’s easier) than preserved for our future generations to treasure. MacDonald's Austrian styleHow unfortunately dull to be of the opinion that our old buildings are just not old enough (in comparison to Europe’s old buildings) to be worth preserving!! We can’t just purchase a history when the evidence of ours is all gone! Europeans take much time and effort and spend lots of money restoring, preserving, practically pickling their cities, because they take pride in their past.

Is it possible that presently the average European thinks things through a little more and acts on his own conclusions? I saw Europeans as more independent and original because of this. A difference really noticeable to me between Canadian and Austrian youth that stems from this mentality is in fashion. In Canada our hottest line of clothing is called "Whatever’s In". Whoever makes up those rules of what’s "In"? What a powerful two-letter word!…and all too many of us follow after this "name brand" without too much thought or else feel in some way judged according to this "Whatever’s In" code of dress. The media as well as our shopping centres set these rules by making only what’s "In" look appealing. In Europe the most popular name brand is called "Individualism". The considerably wider variety of clothing, seen in a myriad of unusual styles and fabrics (worn by any generation without so much fuss made) is all seen as fashionable as they reflect the creativity and personality of the wearer. I even came across a few cases of young people wearing the "totally out-dated", "old-fashioned" clothes of their grandparents! I found this freedom a breath of fresh air!

Speaking of fresh air…ever tried opening a window here in Canada? I have! If I’m lucky enough to have succeeded in getting a thin gap between the window and its pane, I very likely have a backache or purple fingers or increased blood pressure for the anxiety of having very nearly pushed the window out of it’s frame and down onto the lawn 20 feet below with me still attached, which really dampens the pleasure of the sweet smelling fresh breeze! Who ever came up with that New World invention, the Canadian window!

Europeans are very clever…but still…in every society there must but a quiet conflict between the different worlds---the young people, the not so young, the appeal of "Amerika", the pull of the reasonable, the intelligent…. I find it a real shame that the European youth are looking more and more to us as the source for "cool" culture. Media urges North American culture on the youth in many ways making our culture appear to be the "new" and "modern". Yet I think we North Americans have quite a bit to learn from the Europeans!! (What’s this??? I hear we’ve started with our windows? So we’re well on our way!)


Comments to: rachel@echoworld.com


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