Let’s Run It Up A Flagpole And See Who Salutes!

Sorry about the delay in posts, motherhood has totally interfered with my writing! Plus I have been spending my spare time, working on my non-fiction novel that I hope one day actually comes to fruition.  Anyhoo…. I am switching our focus to surviving in foreign lands, as the first time that I flew, I boarded a plane to Paris, France.  Hey…  A Country Girl Can Survive … Europe!

Every now and then, a Country Girl gets froggy and attempts life overseas. I am proof that this can be done, although success is in the eye of the beholder! lol Lots of ground to cover here, so let’s start with language.  Us Country Girls have obviously mastered our native lingo from the mountains and suffered countless remarks when we express anything in verbal form in the city. But hey, our language is yet another thing that sets us apart from others. However, when you visit a non-English speaking country, be prepared for your language to be your handicap. I mean, we can all learn how to speak, write and read a language, but the key is in the delivery. So when we say, “Paaaarlaaayyy Voooo,” our accent may throw out the actually subject verb agreement that those folks are used to. No worries, as us girls are resourceful and we “can survive.”

1.  Freshen up on your charade skills! When all else fails, you can act out what you are trying to say! Carry a map with you when you travel. It’s very inconvenient when you buy a train ticket to Lyon, France; when you actually live in Lille, France. Trust me on this.

2.  Next, we should talk about food. We are super proud of our fried chicken and grits or biscuits and gravy, as we should be. Just remember that folks overseas are also very proud of their mussels, frits, calamari, etc and when you ask the waiter for ketchup, just know that you just spit in their face.  Also, I know this goes against every single fiber in your being, but DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS TO EAT. Was that clear, or should I repeat? I will anyway – DO NOT USE YOUR HANDS TO EAT!!!!!! I don’t care if its a cheeseburger, french fries or pizza. Trust me, they don’t care either. These foreign folks put forks and knives at your place setting and want to see them in action. Like, with everything. There are a couple of times that your hands are allowed but you won’t understand, so just don’t do it!!

3.  Forget about the “normal” times to eat. Foreign folks don’t get in a hurry about any of their meals and each meal may take hours to complete or even to get started. So my advice: snack beforehand – a lot. It may very well be 10pm before you eat supper. Over yonder, they focus on the time that you have together and once you get used to this, enjoy the wine!

4. Tea. If you don’t like it…learn to. This is a part of every single day. And “biscuits” are actually cookies, so don’t embarass yourself. It’s often customary for each person to bring their own “tea and biscuits” so don’t show up with BISCUITS! Really, it’s not what they mean.

5. Tea don’t mean Sweet Tea. The End.

This post was getting lengthy, so I’ll split it in two. Have any of you ever traveled abroad? What were your experiences?


2 thoughts on “Let’s Run It Up A Flagpole And See Who Salutes!

  1. I’ve never been out of the US for this reason right here. I don’t think I can do it, EVER. First, no ketchup??? Really? There are things ketchup MUST go on!!! No excuses. Second, what kind of mountain girl would I be if I ate a cheeseburger with a danged fork and knife? NOT HAPPENING, that’s the best thing about cheeseburgers!! They don’t require silverware, finger foods are amazing!!! I’m glad you survived, but then again, you do love wine 🙂


  2. BWHAHAHA! Thus is so very true! The warm coke and mayo for french fries freaked me out! I remember being in a pub in London and I was struck dumb when the waiter asked me what I wanted. In my head I KNEW he was speaking English, but it sounded NOTHING like English! It did not sound like it does in the movies or any other British person I have ever come into contact with! I was flabbergasted. Mostly I said “what” a lot!
    However the world is a lot smaller than I thought! I was completely lost in Paris. (Note: this was BEFORE I learned a syllable of French and this is the reason I took classes in college) I had been roaming the streets in search of someone who spoke English that could help me get where I needed to be. I had been walking around for quite some time. I talked to everyone I saw, but they did not understand, or so they le d me to believe. So, I go into a store and ask for help. To my dismay, the clerk doesn’t speak English either. But a man comes from behind a curtain after he hears me speaking to the clerk. And heavens be praised, he not only speaks English, but he is an American and had resided in the same county where I grew up for about 5 years before he met his wife and moved to Pairs. SMALL WORLD!


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