Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Be My Guest

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon- mostly about myself- your mileage may vary. I act like a guest whenever I am in a foreign country- except now I actually live in one, so I am always on my best behavior. For example, I drive more responsibly. This began because speeding is actually treated like a crime here- or so most people seem to believe. Also, I try not to call much attention to myself. I never talk to strangers here. I use my cell phone quietly. Most people are much too busy SMSing that they don't speak on cell phones at all in public. I received a call on the bus today, and tried to be as discreet as possible. Actually, most people tend to avoid drawing attention to themselves. It seems to be a real cultural value here.

I don't know why. Perhaps I am trying to set a good example as a foreigner. Maybe I am afraid of a confrontation where I would be outed as a foreigner due to language issues. Maybe I am trying to fight American stereotypes. I don't really know. I don't want to wear out my welcome. In the US I acted like I owned the place.

I think the world would probably be a better place if everyone acted like a guest in their own country- or their own homes for that matter. As an added benefit, we could all use the nice towels and linens all the time.

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