Abroad: yea or nay

I don’t think I’ll experience/feel the awe/wonder because a lot of the time the first time someone sees something awesome is in another place. I’ve experienced more life, so I’m not as raw?

This is what my boyfriend says about travel. He’s never traveled outside of the U.S. We do live in a large city with neighborhoods characterized by different cultural groups- Puertoricans, Mexicans, Koreans, Polish and Ukrainians, Indians, college kids, hipster kids, young professionals. Going to a different neighborhood is a new world.

But it doesn’t feel like being in a different country. It feels like going to a neighborhood where people from a different land have set up shop to cater to others from their land- but we’re still definitely in the U.S. I know the law, what’s normal, and how the money works. I know that culturally, I walk into a store and I can say hello or not to the store owner, and it’s cool.

Not so in other countries. Once, when I was buying soap from a specialty store, the proprietor told me I had eyes like a mermaid. Granted, I didn’t know the word for mermaid, but when she explained “half woman, half fish” I understood. And blushed a lot. Piropos are weird. In another country, I’m on someone else’s turf. And I have to adjust to their cultural norms. When I’m in a specific neighborhood, cultural norms are something to keep in the back of my mind.

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