To smile of not to smile?

1 05 2012

Before I moved to the US I lived in a big city where people walked around with hardly giving you eye contact, there they have different expressions to say hello to people some very impersonal and some very personal. People are very warm and welcoming and they would give you the shirt of their backs, but you would not know it just by passing them on the street.

Here I moved to a small college town and people smile at you on the streets, and when you get into a store they greet you very warm and friendly; some people call you sweety and dear, even when you don’t know them. That seemed odd to me. I mentioned this and I was told that this is because people in the US are very friendly.

After being here for a while I realized that most people do it out of politeness, some out of friendliness, but the smile is just a greeting, it is not an open door for friendship.

I have this instinctive reaction when I see babies, I look at them and smile, can’t help it. So in some parts of town people just notice and smile back, in other parts of town people look at me angrily as to say do not look at my baby. I can’t understand why, maybe they can see I am an alien and they fear alien abduction.

I’ve gotten used to the smiles, I actually love smiling at everybody, I do believe that it is contagious and sometimes it confuses people. So in a recent trip to Germany and I’ve been smiling at people on the street and I got odd looks and some angry looks when smiled at babies.

I asked, I am annoyingly curious and ask questions. They told me that they consider themselves friendly, and don’t see the need to smile to everybody, also they like to protect their privacy.

I believe that not only the culture but the environment affects the smiling, if you are in a go go go city you may not even look at other, or if you are in a sleeping town you may feel inclined to stop smile and greet people.

How are people in your world? would you consider strangers smiling at you nice, friendly or unnecessary and intrusive?

Please share your thoughts.

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Religious Extremists

26 03 2012

I am thinking that I might be a middle of the way kind of person, not a liberal not a conservative, I agree with both sides and disagree with both.

One of the things I like about the US is the freedom, of speech, religion, politics, you can have your own beliefs and that is respected. Actually that is one of the founding principles of this country.

What scares me are religious extremists, those people who oppress Read the rest of this entry »





PDA

7 05 2011

I was listening to a radio show, one of those where people call in. The topic was Public Displays of Affection or PDAs. I was very confused by the comments people made. I understand that the US culture is a little uptight, but I was surprised to hear what these young people had to say.

First they talked about, who is guilty of PDAs, like who dares to do that. But then people called, and said that it was horrible that people would display their feeling in public.

Of course, like a good alien, I don’t agree. When I see people holding hands, specially older folks, I think it is sweet. I know I am a female and that might be a female thing. Well some of the girls calling the show said it was “gross” to see people holding hands. I would understand if it was making out or other things but hugging, holding hands was GROSS?!?!?!

Most of the callers agreed that it was disgusting and that when they were in public with their partners they would act as if they did not know each other. WHY? that is my question. Can somebody out there explain to me why.

I agree that some people go overboard and I do not agree with making out, too much touching, groping. But I love to hold my hubby’s hand, hug my friends…I am a repeat offender.

Is it disgusting? Is it okay? let me know.





Great example from Dearborn Michigan

24 04 2011

The people of Dearborn, MI gave us a great example of unity and how we can all coexist, live together in harmony. A certain pastor wanted to come and protest in front of the Islamic Center of America. This “Pastor” that likes to incite hate is no different from any other religious radical that believes that only his/her point of view is valid and everybody else is wrong. He burnt the holy book of the Muslim faith and incited protests against the US…irresposible.

Turns out that the people of Dearborn, well not just Dearborn, people came from all over the state and the country; people form all different religions, Christians, Muslims and Jewish, joined arm and arm to support their brothers and sisters. This makes me proud of my fellow humans.

 

Click on the picture for more

One of the speakers said it best, we stand here not as Jewish, Muslims or Christians, we stand here as Americans!!!





What I have learned

10 10 2010

I recently quitted my job and I had a weird exit interview. Needless to say, I was my polite self and did not say what was on my mind, partly out of respect for my elders, partly because I knew by experience that whatever I said would not make a difference and because the “boss” could still cause trouble for me (self-preservation)

I was asked by somebody in the company to talk about my “diversity experience”  and this got me thinking of what would I say. So I will share with you, what I did not share with them.

I had to think hard because I felt betrayed when I realized I had been lied, used and manipulated for a long time. For those of you that have read since the beginning  you may know my struggles to understand the racial make up of this country and I happen to end up working in the eye of a racial storm; it felt like that to me. I was overwhelmed and naive.

I can say I learned a lot, I acquired new skills, I learned how to navigate the company and I grew as a person. I had some good times when I thought I belonged and had friends, untill they turned out to be using me as a political/racial pawn.

I learned what it felt to be discriminated against because of  my perceived/assigned race. By my coworkers and the clients we served. I was excluded because I was not of the appropriate race, I constantly hear racially charged comments against Latinos, Asians but the favorite was the evil White people. Many times some of our clients were rude, would not speak to me or reject me all together because they thought I was white.

I learned that racism is not Read the rest of this entry »





Can we maybe slow down?

7 03 2010

I was talking to a friend about some cultural differences between here and my home planet and she though I was being silly when I said that I think we are always in a hurry here, she said why would people slow down and waste time. I started to wonder why are we in such a hurry.

When first moved to the US and would go to a restaurant, I found it so rude that the would bring the check when you are in the middle of your meal. That felt like they were pushing you out the door. Like they were saying “next”. I have gotten used to it and I just try to ignore the bill sitting there, staring at me and pressuring me into leaving.

I invited a friend, that I had not seen in a long time, to meet me for coffee and she asked how long it would take, because she had to pick up her kid from here and taken him there and the other one would be done at such time and he need to go to this other thing. Now I remember why we have not seen each other in such a long time, there is no time.

There is one thing that I try to avoid in our multitasking world, lunch meetings. I hate lunch meetings, to me work and lunch should be separate events, they don’t mix. It doesn’t  help that for me lunch is the biggest meal of the day (another cultural thing) and that I like to take my time and not inhale my meal. When I cannot avoid a lunch meeting, I try no to eat during it. I feel it is better for my digestive process. I have worked with people who talk with their mouth full and perform other unappetizing behaviors during lunch meetings, that might be why I have created such an aversion to them. But still, I like to have my meals sitting down, calmly, in good company, savor and enjoy. Is there something wrong with that? Do you feel that it is time wasted?

I realize I have assimilated a lot to the US culture and I am often times running against the clock, doing seven things a once, and when I finally get home I tend to stop, and slow down. I try to leave the rush outside. But sometimes I find myself running again, cooking meals for a few days at one time, so that I can slow down and enjoy later.

Are you running? tell me what are you running to of from? Can we afford to slow down and enjoy the ride?





US Citizen held for 17 days and almost deported

30 08 2009

A US Citizen from Texas was detained in Michigan suspected of being an illegal alien because he was working as a migrant worker and looked Mexican. 

How many US citizens carry with them their birth certificate or passport?
Do you feel that you have to carry proof of your citizenship when traveling inside your own country????
If you do, please let me know why

This guy didn’t and he spent 17 days in jail:

For 17 days he was chained, jailed and threatened with deportation to Mexico. For 17 days Brigido Oregon, a West Michigan migrant farm worker from Texas, pleaded his innocence.

On the 17th day, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed he, indeed, was a U.S. citizen, and allowed him to leave jail.

You can read the whole article from the Muskegon newspapper here