Wednesday, May 1, 2013


"Don't say fanny pack...'fanny' is obscene.  Say 'bum pack.'"

"Don't give the victory sign with your palm facing you--it's obscene."

"And don't refer to your pants except as trousers, otherwise, you're talking about underwear." 

Best line of the day: "I'm learning to get excited about something that sucks."

And you thought we spoke English...a few tips like theses saved us from some potentially embarrassing moments.  We're still learning what we don't know!  

We are also remembering or learning to call cookies biscuits, to look to our right for traffic, not our left, and go to the other side of the van than we're used to--where the doors open not facing traffic.

These and other cultural adjustments usually occur around meals and boy did we have a doozie of one today: lunch at Flavour's, an international buffet.  The design decor alone would have been worth the 30 min ride. After the visual feast, our host toured us around the buffet, which had cuisines ranging from Asian to Middle Eastern to American to Latin (Peter, you would have gone bonkers).  Ending with a candy...trough...

After that fiesta, as we looked around for the coffee bar, our host suggested Starbucks, which we happily agreed to--we all spoke Starbucks! It didn't even matter that we didn't understand the barista!  More bonding over mocha lattes and decaf macchiatos.

Back to the meetings, where we plowed through program, shopping list, logistics, tech issues, content, and whether or not we should take a field trip Saturday or Sunday.  And, not your typical issue maybe, but one we routinely deal with: how to navigate small group discussion when you have 8 cultures in a room.  Our Life Hope peeps are keeping us sharp, as they live and work in a multicultural context; we are noticeably rusty living in America.   Discussion pinpointed who was from a power/fear culture, who was from a shame/honor one, and who from forgiveness/guilt.  A fascinating discussion, and I recommend Honor and Shame if you'd like to read more on these three basic worldviews.  As the world increasingly goes global, we all need to be more sharp, wherever we live.        

Issues sorted, we had an early dinner and walked to our lodgings.  Some of us took a detour to the old church in town, dating back 1000 years!

We are now either beavering away at our presentations, calling spouses, or crashing in jet lag.  Or blogging and face booking :)

It's coming up on 9 pm, the church bells are tolling, and the sun is setting. Gotta love those long northern European spring evenings!  They soooo help with jet lag....but I'm going to call it a day and wish you all a bit of pleasant cross-cultural fun today too!  

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