Russians Don’t Like The Cold

The Experience “When we came to France it was cold outside and inside the house only 18°C. In Russia we keep indoors to a minimum of 22 °C. Now I got used to the temperature, throw on a couple of sweaters and you are fine, haha. But I know a lot of Russians in France who are freezing here. A lot of people think that Russians like the cold. We don't, we just know how to deal with it. What I did to be precise, in France, was I switched on a gas cooker to heat up my hands when my French mother-in-law shouted out to me: - ‘What are you doing? Gas in France is very expensive!’" Place Bretagne, France Date 2018 Who Talks Irina is a Russian in her late twenties. She is happily married to her French entrepeunerial [...]

January 26th, 2021|THE RELATION TO NATURE|

Yes Please

The Experience “During my internship in Lebanon, I only worked with Lebanese who spoke English to me. Whenever they asked me if I wanted coffee, to attend a meeting, or have a cigarette, I would answer ‘Yes, please!’ It made them laugh and after a while I found out that they had nicknamed me Yes, please!” Place Beirut, Lebanon Date 2016-2017 Who Talks Lya is a French student in political science in Paris. She grew up in the countryside around Montpellier with an English mother and a Spanish father. What do You Think?

March 27th, 2019|BEEING POLITE|

Hello, Always Hello

The Experience “In Paris, if you say ‘s’il te plait’, ‘bonjour’, ‘au revoir*’, it’s all good, you’re polite! You can curse however much you want in between and you don’t need to be nice either. This is surprising for us, Brazilians, we tend to get offended when people are not kind. To survive psychologically in Paris, one should not feel distressed when people are not friendly, it’s not personal, the person is there - the shop owner, the café waiter, the cashier and what not - they’re doing their job that’s it. They might not even be happy to be here, by the way. I remember this event in the Parisian metro that really stuck with me: some tourists wanted to buy metro tickets at the counter and they were being yelled at by the salesperson because they hadn’t said hello! On the other hand, you should know, [...]

March 27th, 2019|BEEING POLITE|

Thank You, I Loved it… or Not…

The Experience “I heard a Brazilian father explaining to his 5 year old son how to thank someone who gifts you a present: - What do you say when you receive a present? - Thank you. - We say: Thank you, I loved it! For me, it felt strange to feel obligated to say we like a present! It seems to me thank you is honest and sufficient…” Place Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Date 2018 Who Talks Dario is Spanish and he lives lives in Rio with his Brazilian wife and daughters. What do You Think?

March 27th, 2019|BEEING POLITE|

They Didn’t Even Offer Coffee!

The Experience “It was a Sunday morning, my daughter had unexpectedly stayed for a sleepover at her friend’s house, whose parents were French, after her birthday party. I came to pick her up in the morning and they didn’t even invite me to come in. I found that to be strange, I’ll admit it, not even a glass of water or a coffee. I didn’t know them and my daughter had slept over at their place. I wondered if they were in a hurry or if my daughter hadn’t behaved correctly. I found them to be very cold! This would never happen with Brazilians. Here, people are always interested in getting to know others. We are somewhat tactful with others, whoever they may be.” Place Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Date 2018 Who Talks Carolina is a Brazilian artist influenced by various cultural [...]

March 27th, 2019|BEEING POLITE|

We are not Mortals

The Experience So I found one ecotourism company who offers tours with bikes. Bikes and Hikes LA. We did West Hollywood and Beverly Hills by bike. I should have known "hills" meant “climbing" and with the heat, it was quite tough. My daughter Emilia got sick and had to take electrolytes; and my bike chain fell of twice, but it was worth the effort and the money. And do you know why there aren't any hospitals and cemeteries in Beverly Hills? Because its residents or visitors shouldn't be reminded of their mortality... As if one could avoid that?!! I was shocked. Place Shared on Facebook from Los Angeles, California, USA Date 2016 Who Talks Since she moved to California, Nathalie has set upThis Way to LA, that offers walks in the city (and outside) in collaboration with Via Americana, an organization she created [...]

November 22nd, 2018|HONORING LIFE AFTER DEATH|

Death, let’s laugh about it!

The Experience "In Mexico, the people proudly claim that death is not taboo: they talk about it, they celebrate it. Catrinas: thin female skeletons with pretty dresses and beautiful hats, remind us that we are all equal in the face of death. Rich or poor, primed or raggedy, it takes us all one day or another. I take a closer look at them on the altar. I am impressed with the precision in the details. How much time do the artists spend on these works of arts? In the end, I’m not so sure Mexicans are that laid back about death. At this point, it looks more like an obsession." Place Morelia, Mexique Date 2009 Who Talks Marine, a French national, has been living in Mexico for a year. She is perpetually astonished by her misunderstanding of the ways of each [...]

November 19th, 2018|HONORING LIFE AFTER DEATH|

Crashing a Funeral

The Experience "Five tourists (one South African, one Russian, one Spanish, one French, and me, surely the only Bosnian in Cambodia) on our bikes, alongside the Mekong river, for two days. We ride through “isolated” villages or at least villages where tourists don’t come often. The Cambodian people are very warm and welcoming. All the villagers say hello to us, with big smiles. The children run behind us… Our jaw is actually hurting from all the smiling, but our joy is immense. We gladly play along and answer back “HELLO”. To ride a bike on muddy roads paved with a thousand potholes is quite tiring, hunger strikes fast. Here’s the deal though, Cambodia is a poor country and as soon as you sidestep the tourist routes, it becomes hard to find a ‘restaurant’. After an hour or two, we come across a place that could very well be [...]

November 19th, 2018|HONORING LIFE AFTER DEATH|

The Right to Silence

The experience "A few years back, I was lucky enough to explore Japan. I remember traveling in the public bus in the city of Kyoto and getting a call on my phone. After about a minute of conversation, I realized that - even though the bus was almost packed - the only sound around was my own. A bit shameful, I hung up quickly and struggled to shyfully blurt out excuses in English to the Japanese woman sitting next to me. Luckily, not only did she understand English, but with sweet compassion, she told me that in her culture, there was such a thing as a right to silence. This explained why no one would take a call (except for emergencies) in public transportation. These particular conversations do in fact interrupt the public silence owed to the inhabitants of this millenary city. This is one of the best [...]


Sweet Andean Awakenings

The Experience In Turkey, it was the call to prayer, in Reading (England), the soft drizzle of rain down the windows… In Medellin (Colombia), waking up is rather intense: by 6:30 am, street vendors selling fruits and vegetables, mops, newspapers, masamora*, flowers and more, swarm the streets. This is dedicated to my friend, the aguacateeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee madurooooooooooooo** vendor. Sure, the first few days, you’re a bit grumpy, atop your 11th floor, you point down your finger, but in time, you get used to it and come to cherish your little street vendors, mainly when you dawn on the heat in which they work! You cherish them almost to the point that I would climb out of bed to buy a few of his aguacates… * Columbian Porridge ** ripe avocado Medellin, Colombia, 2012 Who talks Flo, is a French national who works [...]


Best Choice Ever

The experience "What struck me most was when we ordered a coffee in Australia and the waiters replied, sincerely: "Wonderful, amazing, best choice ever!" They were systematically very enthusiastic. Their culture is very enthusiastic. Our French friends on site confirmed that it is indeed very Australian to be enthusiastic about everything. They’ve lived there for six years and in the beginning they didn’t understand the ways to go about things. Everything is awesome, amazing, and when it’s just awesome, things are really bad it turns out. Emilie, my French friend, reported back to her direct superior about her intern with wom things weren’t going well. She proceeded to share what was wrong and for what reason. She then witnessed her boss review her intern and according to her, none of what she had shared was rendered… “Great, amazing” or I don’t know what. In some ways it’s nice [...]

October 1st, 2018|FIRST IMPRESSIONS|
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