Hey everyone!

Right now I’m in Cancun, Mexico on vacation with my family and boy friend. We just arrived yesterday and have spent the day lounging, eating, and snorkeling. It’s been pretty relaxing so far.

Last night we decided to head to the super market to pick up some snacks. I saw a stand selling churros and ran over as fast as my lanky legs could take me. That’s when I witnessed something that made me feel ashamed and embarrassed to be from the U.S.

While waiting in line, a tall, guido-looking man in a suit stood in front of me. His wife, daughter, and young son sat at a table behind him. He was asking a woman (who clearly did not speak english) for some coffee in the most complicated way possible. “I’ll take a tall Americano with cream and sugar, and can you  call me up when it’s ready? Also, do you take card?”  Seeing as that she literally could not understand what he was saying, she had to leave the counter for a brief moment to consult with someone. As she walked away, he began ripping into her. “Where the hell is she going?” he yelled as he turned to his family. “She must be retarded. Does she have brain damage? All that fucking make up must be giving her fucking brain damage.” His family sat there obliviously.

I literally cringe just thinking about it. So, in light of this pompous, entitled, adult baby, I thought I’d shed some light on how to represent our country and just, you know, be a decent human being.

  1. When traveling out of your country, do not expect everyone you encounter to speak your native language.
    • Imagine you work at starbucks in Montgomery, Alabama and somebody comes up to you and begins speaking Russian. You are obviously confused and it shows. The person then throws a temper-tantrum because they feel you should be able to understand them. Does that seem like it makes sense?
  2. Do some research on the country you’re visiting.
    • Different cultures have different norms. What may seem appropriate in the U.S. may be rude in another country. Though your intentions may not be bad, it’s better to try to understand the culture than make a fool of yourself.
  3. Try to learn a few key phrases in their language.
    • Some important ones are as follows:
      • “Do you speak English?”
      • “Where can I find a bathroom?”
      • “My name is ____ and I am from ____.”
      • “Good morning/afternoon/night.”
  4. Don’t be loud/disruptive.
    • You are a visitor to their home. Do not enter a public area and make a scene. It just plays into the stereotype of the “loud, annoying, entitled American.”
  5. Be open to trying things important to their culture.
    • I’ve found this to be one of the best ways to bond. More specifically, EAT ALL THE FOOD. If someone prepares you a meal, especially if it’s a staple in their culture, don’t be afraid to try it! Many people take pride in their cuisine. Not being open to trying it can be taken offensively.

There’s a lot more I could say here but these are just a few things I’ve learned from my travels. You obviously won’t be able to please everyone, but I’ve found if you just have decent manners and are open to new experiences, you will often be well received and hopefully serve as an example that not all people from the U.S. are whiny adult babies.

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