|national stereotypes in a word|
Here in Brazil there’s no getting around the fact that we stick out in a crowd as foreigners. There will always be something un-Brazilian about the way we hold ourselves, the way we walk and the way we dress. But at least Mark and I are both thin, so if people just look at us they don’t immediately take us for Americans. (Sorry, America, but your growing obesity has preceded you around the world. Stop drinking those free soda refills, just stop!) No, if people just look at us they often guess that we’re French, which I accept as the highest of compliments. It’s only after people get to know us that our "American-ness" shines through.
|"I told you to control your dog!"|
|Get out the manual!|
There have been times, thankfully few and far between, when the words, "You’re so American!" are not said with a wink and a smile, but rather with a jeer and a frown. I admit that those times make me a little nervous, because it means I’ve crossed over some line I can’t see. Was I too arrogant? Too aggressive? Too standoffish? If so, I apologize right here and now. I mean to be a good guest in this country. Please believe me, Mark and I don’t think we’re the best, or the smartest, people in the world. We have not been sent here to spy on anyone. And we never, ever, use the word awesome.