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Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Pea Pods; Travel as education — 8 Comments

  1. This is a great post and everything you say is true. I also want to add something my French husband said to me once: we were in Paris and he popped into a book shop (empty of clients) and went up to the saleswoman to ask a question. She was on the phone and it was apparent that the call was personal, she was chatting with a girlfriend. She didn’t hang up. She didn’t acknowledge my husband who was obviously waiting to ask a question. Finally, she heaved an audibly loud sigh of exasperation and said to her girlfriend that she had to go as SOMEONE was there and she hung up in a way that communicated to my husband that the interruption was not appreciated. He stormed out of the shop and said to me “If you ever think that the French are rude to you because you are American it isn’t! They are rude to everyone, the French included!” LOL! But I know that the more one travels and experiences other cultures the more one understands the cultural and societal differences in so many things from, as you point out, the obvious to the subtle and that there is no right or wrong, best or worst, just different. And we learn to adapt and understand. We also learn a lot about our own culture as well. You also made me realize that it is now the time to start making pasta salad again!

  2. Writing a cheque is becoming a rare thing now in Australia,the same goes for carrying cash. Credit cards, debit cards and eftpos cards are all the go. Another thing that is a rarity now is the travellers cheque.

  3. When they say that travel is broadening, they aren’t talking about one’s derrière! It’s about broadening one’s perspective and only confronting other cultures head on can do that. When we lived in Japan, we learned so much – not just the negative differences but also the positive ones – the glory of their artistic traditions, the exquisite manners with which they interact, their fundamental honesty and honor (My mother once left her purse in a crowded Tokyo train station – it was still there, untouched, 30 minutes later when she remembered!). Other peoples’ ways are different, not inferior, and are beautifully honed to the place in which they evolved. Same with religions – they are all a path to better behavior as human beings. Only the extremists, whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Shinto – whatever – are aberrant to that goal.

  4. Katie once again an interesting post. You may imagine how ignorant we in the Antipodes would be if we didn’t leave our Shaky Isles. as often as possible…its a long way from everywhere. Of course we are moving away from Spring food…racing towards Winter instead. Hope you are enjoying your vacation.

  5. Good post. But what about the French word IMPOLIT for rude???
    Dorothy in BC

  6. I get bit by the short French lunch hour every time I wind up in Paris — jet lag leaves me just not hungry until about 2:30 or 3, so I wind up wandering aimlessly, then low blood sugar kicks in and I can’t make a decision and I finally wind up in some cafe, eating a crummy jambon beurre.
    I’d also add that working at a huge high-tech company has been broadening — I’m the only American in my group, and work with Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, French and Iranian co-workers, our larger group includes folks from India, Poland, Serbia and Ireland. The other day, my Chinese co-worker missed a joke because she didn’t know about Friday the 13th — it’s one of the things I love most about this job — that no one can assume their worldview is the only/best/right one.

  7. Thanks for all the interesting comments and insights everyone…. I shared them all with the family – some were first time visitors.