Writers are observers, and we’re generally jazzed by acquiring interesting little tidbits of knowledge, whether or not we ever use them.
Take this one. According to Melissa Lamson, a global business consultant, weddings in parts of Eastern Europe are often held in gas stations. Huh? Well, the wines are high quality, and the restaurants inside them are good. Best of all, gas stations have lots of windows and parking, so everyone gets to see what everyone else is driving. In an area of the world where cars, not houses, are status symbols, people can showcase their prosperity quite handily.
When I first moved to California, one of the first things I noticed was that people drove really great cars and lived in pretty modest places. (Later, of course, I learned that some of those little homes commanded top dollar.) Perhaps Melissa’s observation resonated with me because it was so similar to my own experience. California, so many years ago, was like being on another planet where everything was done in a new way. I still remember being open-mouthed at people roller blading to work and young women sporting multiple tattoos. (Gosh, I thought, I guess they’ll never be able to move to Dubuque.)
Tell me about experiences with other cultures have shocked or amused you.