Friday, April 20, 2007

Feeling Lucky

If you've ever spent any substantial time with people from a foreign country you inevitably broached the topic of stereotypes and preconceived notions. What are the stereotypical things of Spain? Bullfighting and flamenco dancing. How about the States? Hamburgers and guns. Are those accurate representations of the culture as a whole? Of course not, but for most people their exposure to foreign cultures is limited, sometimes coming only from movies or TV. I wouldn't classify those people as ignorant, just unlucky. I am a firm believer in luck. What was it that Eddie Vedder said? "He won the lottery the day he was born." That's how I feel most of my life. The exposure that I've had to other cultures has been, in large part, a matter of luck. Sure, it was my choice to move to Madrid, but I couldn't have done it without tons of family support. And I wouldn't have WANTED to do it had I not been given two travelers for parents.

I was calling the other day to see about canceling my car insurance policy when I leave. This is the exchange I had with the agent helping me.

Insurance agent: Why are you canceling your policy?
Me: I'm moving to Spain.
Insurance Agent: Spain?!?! Like near England?!?!
Me: Yes, Spain. Near England.
Insurance Agent: What side of the road do they drive on there?
Me: It's NEAR England, not IN England...
Insurance Agent: [Silence]
Me: The right side.

Is he ignorant for not knowing which side of the road the Spanish drive on? Of course not. I think he's just unlucky that he's never been to Spain to see for himself.


Mum said...

I love the way you use anecdotes!

Ashley said...

I feel lucky knowing you....

Anonymous said...

Lol...thats typical! The people on the other side of the phone at call centers don't know very much! I suggest the learn Spanish, this way you learn about a whole culture.