Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A dinner at home

I live in a shared house, and it truly is an international setting. There are 3 Bulgarian couples, and the son of one of the couples. There is a South African with his Hungarian girlfriend. There is an Englishman that I haven't met yet. And of course, there is me.

On Saturday night, one of the Bulgarian girls was having a birthday party at the house. I didn't care. I mean, its a shared house and you have to learn to let people have some fun. I had just finished moving in, and wasn't really up for much. But she insisted that I come down for a drink and meet everyone.

So around 9 PM, I went down to say hello, and was going to head out to the local (that's what people call the neighborhood pub they frequent), have a beer or two, and then come back home. After all, its only 187 steps from the bar to the door of my room. Yes, I counted. I'm a guy, that's what we do.

I was going to say hello, have a quick drink, and get on out and let them have their party. Before I could say "Bob's your uncle", I was pushed down in a chair, given a beer, and a plate of food that could feed Ethiopia. Good food, too. All Bulgarian delicacies. I had been in Bulgaria in 2004, and was somewhat familiar with the food, but they just kept piling food higher and higher.

I wasn't trying to intrude, but they did make me feel very welcome. Almost all of them spoke English, at least to some degree, to include the best looking woman there, who kept serving me food and beer. Unfortunately, her boyfriend arrived later, so no joy on that. I ended up staying for almost 3 hours, and had a great time.

I've done things like that before in other countries I've lived in. Been the only foreigner in a group of people and having a great time. Regardless of what the media says, most people do not actually dislike Americans. They might not like our government or our policies, but they do like us.

Sidenote --- I actually heard a Brit today telling me he thought we were doing the right thing in Guantanamo, and we should continue doing it. This isn't too start a political discussion about the right or wrong of it, just curious to hear a Brit support it.

Its amazing the amount of people in the states who are afraid to travel, and would go pale at the thought of being the only American among a group of people who don't speak English as a first language. I'm lucky. It doesn't faze me at all, and I enjoy it. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend it. You'll have more fun than you'll ever know. And learn things about your country that you never realized. (There will be more on that theme in an upcoming post).

I've been lucky in my life, and have been places and done things that most people can't imagine, let alone consider doing. Of course, there is a down side to everything also. It was called Desert Storm. And Kansas. Man, I really hated living in Kansas. And Los Angeles. But Angola was kind of cool.

Anyhow, now that I'm done rambling, my point is this. If you ever find yourself in the situation where you are the only American in a group of people, don't be afraid. Embrace it. Go have fun. You'll be surprised in finding out what other cultures are like.

And more importantly, I think you'll be surprised at finding out what you're really like.


Sara K said...

Man, I wish I could introduce you to the small-minded small-town folks around here. Culture-dipping is fun, people!

Ron Rollins said...

I'm from the same kind of place. 3000 people in central Missouri. I've spoken to people I know at home who just can't comprehend the stories I tell about the places I've been.

My cousin made mention one time about how she would love to visit Europe now that they have electricity over there.

I had a lot of fun with that one.