Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Foreign Observations

My occasional blog series "Observations" was created to be an outlet to share a variety of topics that pop into my field of view as a result of a condition that many bloggers are afflicted with known as "blogger's eyes". In this state we view the world on the constant look-out for topics on which to write about. Today's blog came about from random odds 'n ends of things that I have noticed over the past week on my trip to Italy.
  • Americans are so arrogant that we still huff and complain about them dang foreigners even when we have traveled to another country and we, by definition, are the foreigner.
  • It is so easy to think that people in other countries are quite different from us because they speak a different language, drive different cars, and have some different customs, but beneath the surface we are pretty much the same.
  • The men's bathroom at the meeting venue where I was working was a nasty, dirty hole, reminiscent of a stereotypical service station men's room. However, when I walked past the women's bathroom, the door was propped open. This room was large, sparking clean, and had the feel of a sort of place where you could relax and come out renewed and refreshed, perhaps with a lingering scent of jasmine or potpourri.
  • I found the best strategy when someone speaks to you in a language that you do not understand is to shake your head side to side and say no. If they then seem perplexed or confused, then shake your head up and down and say yes.
  • It is O.K. to smile and say hello to people in a foreign land when you pass them on the street or in a shop. Regardless of whether they understand your language, they will definitely get your message.