I used to find it amusing that in spanish speaking countries “hahaha” would be rendered as “jajaja”. The ‘j’ in spanish being pronounced as an english ‘h’ would be- so afterall, it makes sense. But this small demonstration of my finding a cultural and linguistic difference amusing (simply because it is different) is a good indication that I am less a global traveler than I boast I am.
I find that often I tend to consider myself terribly culturally sensitive. I would of course only take the greatest care at being respectful in the country I find myself in. I would follow all the customs, grin humbly when I screw up, and maintain a fabulous level of open-mindedness. Being an American, and having never had to assimillate myself in to a foreign culture, I am beginning to feel that I may not be as culturally sensitive as I can be.
My suspicions will soon be tried as I head, with The Link School, to Baja California Sur- tomorrow. Over the thirteen days we are there we will be exposed to the tourist-gringo culture of Cabo San Lucas (our departure point) but as we make our way up in to the highlands of Sierra de la Laguna for a three day trek across the peninsula, we will be in the heart of a place where…frankly, we don’t belong. My ability to completely humble myself at the knees of a foreign language that I do not have a desirable command of, a people who may hold stereotypes of Americans that I will have to be alert to not perpetuating and my own assumptions and racism I have probably collected in my own thought about Mexico and its people.
All uncertainties aside, I look forward to the experience. I surely will be set straight in just how foreign-culture savvy I think I am- and learn heaps more about what it means to be an ambassador to my country and a guest in another country.