Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cultural Differences

SMW has returned from an unannounced absence that included a trip to see the Steyn with follow bloggers. Very cool.

After hanging around the great USofA for a few days I realize I have some kind of reverse culture shock going on. Having lived in Europe for the past several years I have gotten very used to pushing people around, walking like I always have somewhere very important to be, looking out for myself and not smiling or acknowleding the presence of strangers. During my séjour in the States the husband and I were staying at a hotel with an elevator. After checking into the hotel we were headed up to our room when a man and his wife boarded the elevator - they looked over at us and said smiled. Whoa. I was confused. Then, as they got off the elevator they smiled again and wished us a good afternoon. My head was spinning, I felt like I was in a foreign country (ok so I was but that is besides the point). I was in culture shock! Suddenly I felt rude that I had not smiled and greeted people as they got on the elevator. This went on for several days - it is hard to recall a single time when someone on the elevator did not say hello, smile, wish us a good day, hold the door open to let the ladies off first or ask which floor we were going to. Every time a stranger was friendly to us I turned to my husband with a big smile and said "I love America."

Another thing I forgot was the (usually) great service in North American eateries! What? You don't have to ask for a refill? People actually come to see if you are enjoying your meal? I swear the service we got at Steak'n'Shake was comparable to The Savoy (our waitress was that good). My only disappointment was at Saks Fifth Avenue where the men's department seemed to have been vacated by all employees, but that did not dampen my day!

Sitting in a hotel flipping back and forth between Fox Business and ESPN after spending the day shopping at Nordstrom and eating at The Cracker Barrel.

Even in these crazy times the United States is still a breath of fresh air.