Coming from Ghana, where hospitality is prioritized, I got the shock of my life when I came to the Netherlands last year.
At lunch time I went to the venue and we met. My friend opened his bag, took out a plastic container, opened it, took bread and started to eat. He did not even invite me to join him, as is done in my country. He ate everything while I sat watching him and chatting with him. I still thought that after he had eaten the bread, the ‘lunch proper' would be requested from the waitress. But after eating his bread, he said, ‘it was nice having lunch with you'. Then I asked, where is the lunch we had? He said that was what he had just finished. Furthermore, he added, here when someone invites you for lunch, you take your own food. I was shocked to my bones. In fact for about one week I was still in a state of ‘lunch shock'.
Isaac Mbir Bryant, Ghanaian MSc student of Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University.