Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day 5 - Just a little under dressed!

Today was a really nice day because I finally got Skype to work in spurts. It was talk to my mom and Daniel. I think mom was getting desperate because she sent me an email with the subject "Call Collect". We talked for a long time!

This afternoon I dressed to go to the beach in my swimsuit, shorts, and a t-shirt. I have seen more European people, and considering what some of them were wearing on the beach, I felt safe to venture out. Don't get me wrong, I love Europeans, just not their beach attire! I wanted to go back to a shopping center we went to last night, and go to the beach from there. It is all in our resort area, which is protected by a main gate. So I thought I was pretty safe to go about in shorts and a t-shirt. Modestly dressed according to western standards. Shortly (no pun intended) after arriving at the shopping center I realized I was sadly mistaken. There were many more traditionally dressed, Middle Eastern men, and certainly more women in burkas than there had been the night before. I have never been looked at with such disgust in my life. It was quite blatent. I honestly had just gone to pick up a few post cards, and decided to sit, have some Morrocan tea and do some writing home. Some of the stores I went in would not even acknowledge my presence, other than to let me know with the stares what they were thinking.

This is the second time on this trip I made a similar mistake. When we went skiing in the mall, they gave us our ski gear to change into. I went into the women's changing room (much like a locker room) to change into my ski gear. I could feel all eyes in the place on me, but continued on about my business. When I had finished skiing I took my regular clothes in the changing room to put them back on. I looked up to see a notice, in plain sight and in English, stating that when changing clothes to use the private changing rooms.

So I am sad to say I haven't done much for the female Western culture on this trip other than to perpetuate the already popular notion that we are. . .well . . . less than modest, obnoxious westerners. I guess they didn't catch a glimpse of the speedos I saw the other day!

On a more positive note, we went to a cocktail reception hosted by the manager of the hotel. It was nice, and then we went to the top floor for dinner. I had ravioli with leeks and saffron rice pudding for dessert. Different, but tasty! I have to say, the view of this city is breathtaking. I am amazed at just how beautiful it is here. A true oasis!

So my question is this. . . what cultural faux pas have you committed? Can't wait to read this!

P.S. I just got into my laundry that I had sent earlier today to be cleaned. DUDE! They ironed my pajamas!!!!!!!


Lisa said...

So are you going to get a burka now? Then you could blend in. Cultural faux pas . . . ah, the memories! I don't think I made too many in Scotland, at least not in out-right public. However, being an English-nerd, I thought I'd make a clever play on words at Caroline's one night after dinner. I was lying on the floor watching TV and having a feisty exchange with Caroline. As she walked out of the room, she nudged my "bum" with her foot. I said, "Oooh! Tickle my fanny!" (instead of "fancy"). The next sensation I felt to my backside was stinging pain as Caroline had spanked me! "Don't ever say that!" she said sharply. "'Fanny' is the FRONT!" I was astonished and mortified. Mortified for obvious reasons, astonished because it gave new context to the American fanny packs that people wear in front vs back (that always puzzled me). Apparently, though, it's backwards in the UK as well, they call them "bum bags" and wear them in front. Go figure.

Angie said...

Well, there have probably been MANY instances in which I've done the wrong thing or done something the wrong way... but rarely have I received the sting of the disdainful stare the way you just described... ouch.

A language incident (one of many) comes to my mind too. I was trying to order toast with extra butter with my coffee one morning & ended up asking for a bullfighter with extra butter. The words are similar in Portuguese. I would've been happy with the bullfighter though...

I believe this is appropriate to blame on Tim Rush, but the memory's sorta fading... When I first arrived in Portugal, we were told that when we encountered doggie poop on the sidewalk, we were supposed to raise a hand to the sky (kinda like an extended 'hail Hitler') to warn another passerby or the person behind us to dodge the poop. Yeah. Apparently no one else in the country was clued into that one. Not a bad idea though...

Lisa said...

That Tim Rush is quite a character. I'm sure everyday on the field with him was an adventure.

tim rush said...

Ah Angie, that was my idea but you forgot the best part. You were to raise your hand and say "Mia" which was the warning to others not to step into it. What Angie and Steph didn't know at the time was that "mia" is portuguese for "mine". I'd forgotten all about that until you guys sent a video back to Lubbock recruiting the next AIM team and while the camera was fixed on you, Steph was in the background raising her hand and saying "Mia" to warn passers by. You have no idea how proud I was at that moment.

As for my own... in Mexico I've told people I had 31 annuses (Sp?) instead of 31 years old. Words are very close!

And my personal favorite... In South Africa at a supper with a bunch of the youth of the church and their parents Paul Miller was making fun of me because I only knew how to cook one thing. (Poppy-sead Chicken and it's great!) And he was telling about how if I want to impress a girl I can cook for her once but then I have to take her out to eat.

(Oh this hurts just thinking about it.) So I pipe up and say, "Well, I can impress her twice if she wants to stay for breakfast." (Gosh, honest truth.) I swear, I meant that I could make french toast too. But no one was really interested in my explanation after that.

Angie said...

"Well, I can impress her twice if she wants to stay for breakfast."

Oh really.

I am laughing, like, way hard right now!

Nikki said...

I must say everyones comments made me laugh so hard. I can’t think of a blunder that I have done but I remember when Margaret and I were about 10 and 11 years old, we went to England for a week. We had just arrived at Windsor castle and Margaret and I were milling around waiting for the changing of the Guard or something like that. Anyway we were playing on the grass and apparently there must have been a sign “Keep of the grass” because Dad is screaming “Girls get of the grass.” We weren’t the only ones scrambling off the grass, there were two older ladies making a dash for it to. Dad was trying to apologize to them and tell them he was hollering at us. They didn’t hear any of it as they were running back to their tour bus.

Stuart said...

Hey Sarah. Heres one. when I was young, I was on the beach with my family in italy. beautiful day etc. Then this guy comes walking across the beach selling coconuts to eat and he's shouting,"Coca bella, Coca Bella!" which in the context I guess meant "come and buy my beautiful coconuts!"

Then for reasons known only to children, my brother and I took it upon ourselves to mimic him so we strode across the beach yelling "coca bella!coca bella!" but of course without any coconuts to sell.

Ok, maybe it was our pronunciation or maybe it was the context but we got a lot of funny looks and a lot of laughs from the sunbathing Italians. Our mum had to hush us up quickly because it seemed that our cries were not translating to "come and buy our beautiful coconuts!" but to something completely different and wholly unsuitable for your blogspot! If I see you in london I'll tell you!

Angie said...

I'm not touching those coconuts.

Sarah said...

Those are really good. And I would expect something like that from Tim.

Never, ever tell anyone from the UK or Ireland you are going to give them a wet willy. Very, very innocent in America. . .very, very inappropriate there!!!!

I also recall a time when I thought they were calling their rain boots "willies", and told my tent of girls at camp to "put your willies on". The looks of horror! The actual term is "wellies"!

TCS said...

When I was in Italy I was told about a recent visit from someone VERY high up at Harding that came for a visit. When touring Florence he encountered the hole in the floor with two foot prints type of toilet. He was retelling this to everyone that night and said, "I sure am glad they had hooks on the back of the door" Everyone was a little confused and he mentioned it again so they asked how the hook helped. "Well it gave me a place to hang my pants. That would have been even worse if I couldn't hang them up when I had to sit down on that floor."

I thought Angie would tell her pregnant story.

Angie said...

eeeeewwwwww! TCS, that is just wrong!

Yeah... I thought about the pregnant story... Most of these guys know it. During a short mission trip to Mexico City I slid down the marble staircase at the missionary home (the Pink House). I had built up quite a velocity which was finally broken by the freestanding bookcase at the base of the steps. I was *mortified* because it was in a house full of people, some Mexicans included. I tried to excuse myself by saying, "Oh, I'm so embarrassed" in Spanish... But you apparently can't just add an "a" to the end of embarrassed. It then becomes the word pregnant.

Then people started rushing over to help the pregnant girl who fell down the steps.

Good times. Good times.

Anonymous said...

Paul told me about the posted question and I knew I'd be able to think of at least one. When we were in China I was walking down the street on my way to talk to a friend about wedding traditions in China/US. So, I was very excited when there was a "wedding procession" going down the street. There was music, a big picutre on the front of a car, and lots of white bows and flowers. They were throwing paper from the car, so I excitedly picked one up and took it to my friend to find out what it was for. When I got there and showed my friend she was shocked and told my that it wasn't a wedding procession, but a funeral and that I had picked up the money the man would use in his afterlife!
My friend encouraged me to part with the paper, as it was bad luck to have it...Paul has it mounted and hanging in the office. Don't worry Sarah, you're not the first...and won't be the last I'm sure.

MommaFlee said...

Oh such fun memories. Thanks for the laughs guys...that is a great way to wake up this morning. Oh Angie..and oh's about all I can.

Ok...I'm having trouble thinking of one for myself, but I do recall one of one of my dear precious former teammates, who I won't mention by name because I love her so much. We were eating at the only American establishment at the time in Kosice, Little Caesar's, and my sweet friend got up to go get a refill and for some reason, it was like someone pulled the rug out from under her feet and she bit it HARD by the drink station. I mean HARD. She just started laughing, as we all did. Only thing is, this wasn't the only time this happened to her; she had a knack for BITING it in public. I'm laughing now thinking of it. Sorry...sweet friend...that one came to my mind first! Love you though!!!

I have one for myself but will tell it later.

Sarah...I'm so sorry that happened to you. I know that was humbling. I can't even imagine. Still praying for you. Todd is way jealous but very excited for you also.

Claire said...

Oh Sarah, I have committed so many cultural faux pas that I could write a book. I'm sure I told you most of them when you were living here.

From asking kids at Skyridge Camp in New Mexico if the water in the toilet was OK to drink (I meant bathroom) the millions of times I "cursed" at wonderfully inappropriate moments in giving a Mexican guy a little more than he'd bargained for in our very first conversation...we were introduced, he asked me what I thought of the city and I said "Me gustas mucho." This of course means "I find you extremely attractive." Ah, what one little "s" can do!

I just wish Eddie, Jenny Nye and Marci were here to tell you theirs. I'm crying laughing remembering Eddie's bus story!

tim rush said...

I remember watching some Arnold Swartz-a-whatever movie with Clair and him saying, "I'll kick your f***** a**." And Claire chiming in, "yeah, kick his f***** a**!" We were all a bit shell shocked. I think it was the first time she spoke at AIM.

Angie said...

HI JANA! I was wondering if you would comment here! You look *so great* in the pic Sarah posted at the cancer fundraiser!

By the way, my prayers haven't been just for Sarah! I hope having the communication avialable through the blog and skype has helped ease your concern for your little international jet setter!

Blessings to you, dear lady!!!

Claire said...

Lol! Tim, I was thinking of that very occasion when I was writing my comment but I did NOT say the F word. That's not exactly a contested curse word...I merely said the a** word (which is perfectly fine if you ask me!). :D