Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guess I'm More American Than I Thought

I spent the past two days traveling around Germany with an English colleague. Obviously, I’m American but I like to think that if I’m not speaking in my (very obviously American) accent, that I can blend in fairly well. I’m not loud or obnoxious as the stereotype goes and I like to think that I can abide by the culture norms. I guess I’m wrong. My colleague gave me a hard time twice in a span of just two days for being soooo American.

His examples:

  • We met up for beers and burgers at the hotel bar in Heidelberg. After my burger and fries came, I asked the bartender for some ketchup. My colleague laughed and laughed and said he couldn’t believe I would be so bold to ask for ketchup at a German restaurant and he called me so stereotypically American. I didn’t even realize it was…. so much for abiding by the local social norms. I will say however, that after he finished laughing, he asked if he could have some ketchup too.
  • The following day, we were on a train to the Frankfurt airport. We were running late and the train was very slow and we were both getting pretty antsy. As the train was approaching the airport, we dashed toward the door with our luggage so we could be the first ones off. At about the same time, a woman from the other direction with a huge piece of luggage was also walking toward the same door. I knew that enormous suitcase would take her a while to drag off the train and I didn't have the time to waste. So when the train stopped, I did what I thought everyone would do….I lurched in front of her and hopped off. Yes, I may have been a little aggressive about it, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was rude in any way. As I headed for the escalator, I looked back and my English colleague had stopped to help this woman get her ridiculous luggage off the train. He said he covered up my poor form by making it seem that I was just getting out of the way for him to be able to help. Humph. Stereotypically polite Brit showing up the rude, aggressive (he may have even said bitchy) American.

1 comment:

  1. Never said bitchy :) But it was a fine rugby move on that old woman and her pesky suitcase!


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