I am going to say this out of pure love . Really… and also, because of my bilingual school upbringing, and my mom’s erased scottish accent I have an American accent. Look, this letter is not for everyone. I am not talking about the guys who know better. I am talking about the- foot – in -mouth type that makes all of us look bad. The one guy who travels who has no idea. I don’t think anyone bothers to explain this so here goes :
1. You are loud. I know you don’t know this, and are unaware that you speak 10 decibels louder than the rest of the people around you and so you don’t have any idea how loud you are. But no one wants to know how much you like partying in the streets in Madrid, or how you loved Big Ben or how great your classes are or how your boyfriend broke up with you and so you are now sleeping with two boys, or how much you threw up… at least the man in the subway who is sitting fifteen seats away from you doesn’t want to know ( unless he’s a pervert and you don’t want that do you?). See, the thing is… in a lot of countries people find loudness to be really rude. Look, I get it because I am really loud myself ( And have been shushed a lot in the process) but people immediately tune out of anything relevant you have to say simply because You. Are. Loud
2. Despite what people taught you in school America is not the center of the world and not the best thing since swiss cheese. Have an open mind and look at each culture for what it is. That way, you won’t assume everyone should act or think like you.
3. Please don’t feed the stereotype that Americans are dumb by saying things like : ” Isn’t Europe one country?” or ” They are all the same anyways, you know Latin America. Ecuador, El Salvador what’s the difference?” or ” It’s good they learned English so well” ( Referring to someone from New Zealand). Look, you are not the only person who thinks this. A lot of people in different countries are ignorant of other countries, but as an American people are especially sensitive about this. They don’t take it kindly. Just , you know, read a bit more. If you don’t know the right answer don’t say it.
4. Don’t show your money/ camara/ DvD/ IPod/iPad thingies wherever you go. It screams ” Please rob me… quick”. Just put it away and stop drawing too much attention to yourself! Oh yeah, same goes for overly friendly girls in tiny shorts. You might be in danger so be aware of your surroundings!
5. You know, you are in a different country. Quit looking for other Americans and only befriending them, going to American restaurants and staying in American hotels. It’s your money, but technically you can do this back home…. go out and experience local culture and life!
6. Don’t tell anyone in Latin America you are from America because they will look at you funny and say that they live in America too. Because, you know… it’s a continent and all. Same goes for saying your friend lives in ” Africa” or ” Asia”. The world is a very diverse place that you can’t clump into one homogenous standard.
7. At this point you are probably really ticked off at me right now. You can blame my tongue- in – cheek humor. But really, trust me… open your heart and you can really begin to experience life!