WHAT? How Did They Know I Was an American?

TOURIST
I am proud to be an American. That is true whether I agree with all the political decisions and policies of the United States or not.

Also another qualifier is, yes… Latin America, Central America, and South America, I know you are Americans too.

I am talking about the United States of America, those who are most often envied, and revered as Americans. But along with that feeling can be outright anger and disgust of Americans. People are people, and sometimes someone before us has made the bad impression that is hard to change.

So, that being said, there may be reasons you want to downplay everything that screams AMERICAN.

One reason may be to blend in socially. Another reason is to not stand out as a target for crime. This is different in different countries to some degree. I did not feel a need to hide the fact that I am an American when I was an expat with my husband in Sweden for 9 months. But, I did learn some ways the Swedes could tell I was American, even before I spoke.

Here are some dead giveaways of an American.

1. T-SHIRTS or BASEBALL CAPS with American sports teams, or cities. However this is changing some. It is not unusual to meet someone who is native to the country you are visiting, and they have a shirt on with a US university emblem, but they have never been there.

2. SHORTS, especially gym shorts are frowned upon. Some of the young will wear shorts, but in most foreign countries they are not considered proper attire. Longer Bermuda type shorts, and capris are okay. In some countries it is okay for men to wear long shorts without being considered of ill repute, but not for women.

3. BOXER TYPE SWIM SHORTS will give you away as an American in many countries. Ironic as this is, the less modest Speedos for men is what will make you blend … in a foreign country on the beach. I guess you will have to decide on this one. How important is it to you? Oh and little girls up until puberty do not wear swimming tops. There are some places tops are optional for women, but it is not as common as it once was. Anyway, don’t stare.

4. Walking on the street in WHITE GYM SHOES, and white socks will give you away. In most foreign countries these are for the gym only. Citizens of the country will know you are American. No one else wears shoes like these on the street. Even special Gravity Defyer, Comfort Shoes, which are a must for comfortable walking are available in styles other than gym shoes.

5. DIAMOND RINGS, or other elaborate rings. In many foreign countries the receipt of a diamond as an engagement ring is not traditional. (In Sweden, and engagement ring looked like a wedding band.) This is nothing to do with income level, but with tradition. So, diamonds can set you up as known as an American, assumed rich and a target for theft.

6. “ALL DECKED OUT” with several cameras around your neck, a passport, and a tour name badge. Then pull out a tour book and map in the middle of the sidewalk and stop. What more of an invitation do you need to give a criminal. Travel as light as possible. Only bring the camera out when you are going to take a picture. If you need to consult a map or tour book try finding a public place, but out of the way of other people walking.

7. Peeling a BANANA the wrong way. US Americans are the only ones in the world that peel a banana from the stem section. The rest of the world peels a banana by pressing on the bottom with their thumb, and easily peeling the skin away. Those strings on the banana will come off better too. Let them guess if you are an American, peel your banana upside down. (At least upside down is what we Americans think.)

8. LOUDNESS in public. As Americans we are used to speaking loud and being in noisy places. I consider the Greeks and Italians loud, but in most other countries there is more of a quiet, peacefulness. This is especially true of Scandinavian countries. You really notice it in restaurants.

9. Most of us have to live with the give-away of LANGUAGE. Even if you know a few phrases of the country’s language, you will most likely be awkward. But be aware, even if you are very fluent in the foreign language, and you are American, you will most likely say “um” when you first begin to speak. Other countries and other languages don’t use “um”.

10. While American TV has brought many PHRASES, and SLANG to other countries. One expression that we overuse is “love”. Not in the sense of where love is really deserved, but we “love” everything. I “love” that color, I “love” that top, I “love” the sunset. Other cultures use the word more sparingly, and reserve it for most appropriate circumstances.

11. Our FASHIONS or lack of fashion consciousness can point us out as American. In 2012 when I was in Sweden, I found the Swedes to be very fashion conscious. So much so, that it was obvious if someone was from someplace else. I met two American women while I was there. They had lived there more than 10 years, and could speak the language fluently. When we got together one day we were all wearing jeans with wider legs than was the current trend. We overheard a couple young men say “look at those Americans”. We also had gym shoes on. Hmm...

12. WATER served at the beginning before ordering is not the norm. But when it is served, the standard is sparkling or with gas. If you want water we are most used to, don’t say plain water. It is “still” water. Also, give up on the ice. If you ask for lots of ice you may get 3 cubes.

13. There is no such thing as a QUICK MEAL at a restaurant. Leisure and slower service is the norm because meals are suppose to be leisurely. Don’t show your impatience. It is something hard to get used to, but they are not giving bad service in most cases. Just the normal way.

14. Don’t ask for your PIZZA to be CUT. If you do, they will come with a table knife and fork, and just cut it in small bite size pieces. AND be amazed at how lazy and entitled Americans are. Pizzas are usually served whole, and you cut it as you eat. Also a 14” pizza is usually the largest you can get. Most food portions are smaller than in the US.

15. TIPPING 15 to 20% can be offensive, and will certainly say you are an ignorant American. Servers get paid a higher wage and are not dependent on tips. If a tip is not left, often that is okay. But, if you want to show you are pleased with the food and service 10% is appropriate. Any more will say either you think the server is of a lower class than you, or that you are just ignorant.

There you have it! You know how I know this? I have made most of these mistakes.
Are you surprised by any of these? Can you add to this list?

Let me hear from you! Comment by clicking Reply at the very bottom of this page or fill out the comment form.

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Until next time!
Globe Trottin Granny


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50 Ideas for Trunk Fest

It came to my attention that I only had 48 pictures, not 50. So I went on a quest for two more pictures, but found 3 I couldn’t be without. Now there are 51 ideas. Better to overdeliver, than under.

Here are some ideas for your Trunk Fest. A trunk fest is when a group of people or organization comes together to make a special grouping of treats, games, and decorated car trunks. Usually it is in conjunction with Halloween activities, or an alternative to the door to door type of trick or treat.

Maybe these ideas will help out with coming up with something for your activity. Of course, some may have a specific theme to go by, or have rules about scary things, or Satanic type things. But, please browse through these pictures below, and see what is best for you.

  • Train Train
  • Noah's Ark Noah's Ark
  • Jonah and Whale Jonah and Whale
  • Jail Jail
  • Artist Artist
  • Drive In Drive In
  • Covered Wagon Covered Wagon
  • Christmas Christmas
  • Jaws Jaws
  • Safari Safari
  • Babyland Babyland
  • Honeybee Honeybee
  • Camping Camping
  • Mouth Mouth
  • Shoe Shoe
  • 50's 50's
  • Construction Construction
  • Darts Darts
  • Toy Story Toy Story
  • Monsters Inc. Monsters Inc.
  • Circus Circus
  • Nightmare Before Christmas Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Treasure Chest Treasure Chest
  • Starwars Starwars
  • Millenium Falcon Millenium Falcon
  • Alice in Wonderland Alice in Wonderland
  • Ghostbusters Ghostbusters
  • Cars Cars
  • Narnia Narnia
  • Crime Scene Crime Scene
  • Ghosts Ghosts
  • Mad Science Lab Mad Science Lab
  • Indiana Jones Indiana Jones
  • Haunted House Haunted House
  • Spider Web Spider Web
  • Cat Cat
  • Mummy Mummy
  • Muppet Muppet
  • I Spy I Spy
  • Veggie Tales Veggie Tales
  • McDonald's Drive Thru McDonald's Drive Thru
  • Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin
  • Pac Man Pac Man
  • Alabama Team Alabama Team
  • Cookie Monster Cookie Monster
  • Hayride Hayride
  • Angry Birds Angry Birds
  • Candyland Candyland
  • Bible Bible
  • Queen Esther Queen Esther
  • Pyramid Pyramid
     

Source:LDSLiving.com The pictures Bible, Pyramid, and Queen Esther were from Simply Mommy Blogspot. She also has some good Bible themed ideas written out. Be sure to check it out.

The above collection of pictures are not representing one festival, but are from many around the country.

If you would like to find a fun, safe, and FREE Trunk Fest for the kids, it would be worth your time to travel to the display at:

Kennesaw First Baptist Church
2958 North Main
Kennesaw, Ga. 30144
770-427-3109
October 29, 2014
5:30 – 7:00
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Mentoring is Travel in Memories

When I am not traveling, one of the things I do is mentor a small group of girls. The girls I am mentoring now, are in Middle school. Being a mentor usually brings to mind, the false premise that you have to be perfect. May I clear my throat… I am not perfect. That being said, what mentoring is…is spending time with, and bringing those you are mentoring into your life. You know what?? This is fun. The girls I am mentoring are part of my church teen group. But, if you are interested in mentoring, they could be grandkids, and friends of grandkids, neighborhood kids, or kids that are in organizations, or clubs that teach through experiences, or projects to enrich their lives. Oh, and if you are male, mentor males. You might be teaching them something about cars, computers, or music, sports or whatever else might be a “guy thing”.

Here are some things my group and I have done together. We have gone through a study for girls, called “His Girl”. The study has talked in their language about things they are or will be facing in today’s world, and how they can avoid the temptations and pitfalls of the teenage years.

They have come to my house to my sewing room, or I sometimes have taken it to the meeting time at church, and have done some small art sewing projects. Here are a few pictures of the latest project they are working on.


Most of my projects with them are fabric art projects, since that is something I enjoy. Sometimes they sew with machine, and other times by hand. For fabric, I have found that it is really easy to order from Fabric.com. The selection is large, the prices are low, and shipping fast. Also, with their special of FREE SHIPPING on orders $35+ from Fabric.com , you can't go wrong. I love the convenience of not having to go out in traffic, using gas, and energy, when I could be making something.

For the project pictured above, which is a quilted hand colored design on fabric,

1. I used a pre-drawn image from Zenspirations(TM) Coloring Book Inspirations Designs to Feed Your Spirit: Create, Color, Pattern, Play!

2. Next I used my Epson Inkjet

to transfer the design. The ink used in this Epson printer is compatible with printing on fabric. Alternatively you could use a lightbox and trace the design. (These were used for personal use, not selling or displaying for profit, therefore copyrights were not infringed.)

3. Made a quilt sandwich. This is front fabric, quilt batting, and backing fabric.

4. Then I put black thread in my sewing machine, and free motion quilted following the lines of the design.

5. Next the girls colored the designs using Fabrico markers,Tuskineko inks, Derwent Inktense Blocks
and colored water pencils, and Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paint and Pēbēo opaque paints,and a little Jacquard Pearl EX
to add shimmer at some sections. Just be sure to use quality paints, inks, and pencils that are indicated to be used on fabric. Using inexpensive markers for fabric from the grocery store do not always give the best results.

6. After the coloring is completed, it was heat set with an iron, using a protective teflon sheet or parchment paper.

7. I cut the edges even, and bordered the design with a satin stitch.

8. We are still deciding on the display method, but a pre-stretched canvas board in a larger size than the art could be used. It can be wrapped in a fabric, or painted for the background. Simply glue the fabric with fabric glue to the canvas. This gives an impressive presentation the the art.

It is my hope that mentoring the girls will be something that they always remember, and can draw something from the things they have learned, whether they use it now or later in life. This is how I have traveled by mentoring. Even if I no longer have contact with these girls later on, I have traveled in their memories.

Have you traveled lately? Have you ever had the joy of mentoring youth?

Please leave a comment. Just click on "leave a reply", at the end of the tags. Or fill out the comment form if visible.

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Callaway Gardens – Sky High Balloon Festival

Balloon glows and tethered balloon rides at Callaway Gardens.

Balloon glows and tethered balloon rides at Callaway Gardens.

Do you have labor day weekend plans? Callaway Gardens has plans for celebrating the holiday. The feature is the hot air balloon festival, with balloon glow events at night on Friday, and again on Monday. In between those times you can ride the balloons into the sky, but tethered to provide a safer ride.

That’s nice enough, but also the 2014 National Wakesurfing Championship is taking place. No, Georgia does not have an ocean beach with huge surfing waves. But, wakesurfing is very popular in many parts of the US. You can see the multi part event take place, and see who will become the new champion.

Who will be the 2014 National Wakesurfing Champion?

Who will be the 2014 National Wakesurfing Champion?

But like they say in the sales commercials “that’s not all”. With this festival there are plenty of activities for the whole family. A kid’s zone, dog disc demo, skydiving demo, pyrotechnik demonstration, 5K race, and triathlon will be available. Want to learn how to master night photography? There is a course you can sign up for.

All of this and more would make a memorable Labor Day weekend. For more information and admission prices, see the Callaway Gardens page which gives the schedule for the weekend.

Globe Trottin Granny
Kathleen Couch

Have you been to Callaway Gardens? Was it for this event, another event, or just for viewing the gardens?

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KFBC Middle School Serving Helen, Ga.

Helen, Georgia, U.S.A. - Sister City - Füssen, Bavaria - Germany

Helen, Georgia, U.S.A. – Sister City – Füssen, Bavaria – Germany

No, this is not Bavaria, but Helen, Ga. is set up to resemble a picturesque Alpine village. Helen, Georgia, U.S.’s friendship sister city is Füssen, Bavaria, F.R.D.
HousesatHelenGA
The middle school students and chaperones who chose to serve on a mission trip to Helen, Georgia for a couple days the first week in June are featured in this video. The work they were doing was serving the Helen, Ga. area and supporting the work of the Georgia Mountains Resort Ministry, which is part of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Keith Ivey is the director of the resort ministry, his team and him were wonderful to work with.

MISSION TEAM

Jeffrey Davis, Chris Gerald, Logan Madden, McKenna Farmer, Olivia Foster, Katelyn Messer, Jody Livingston, Sarah Livingston, Jack Livingston, Lizzy Livingston, Anna Livingston, Lisa Gerald, Kathy Couch

I am so happy I was privileged to serve with this team. Have you been on a mission trip? What was the age of the participants? Where did you go? What did you do? Would you ever go on another mission trip?

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