Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

Noticing, and Adjusting, to Differences


We’ve been blessed with a wonderful reception here in Oregon.  When we moved here the end of the summer we started building a circle of friends who have introduced us to places that would enrich our lives, taught us skills that enable us to enjoy the bounty that Oregon provides, and welcomed us into their homes.tree

As we headed west, we carried with us so much of our years in West Virginia.  The people and places there continue to be well loved and we are so very thankful for the contacts on Facebook who help us remain connected.

Making a move like ours need not be 3000 miles to have similar feelings. Whether someone moves across town, across the state, across the country, or even to another nation each of us carry some sense of what makes us feel comfortable. It is when those comfort zones are rediscovered in the new location that a sense of building new roots can start. Likewise, if it takes a while to replace what is missed, it takes longer, unless a decision is made that not all places need be alike.

I once had the wonderful opportunity to work in Europe for 6 months. While I had never had Germany on my personal bucket list of places to visit, I never turned down travel where expenses were covered by someone else. I looked forward to what I could learn while being vigilant because of my heritage and understanding the history of the place.  It was a wonderful time and I learned a lot.clock display

beerBut one of my travelling companions for the job, I’ll call him Bubba, had a very different experience. During our first evening ordering dinner in a restaurant he was impatient, used to the way restaurants provide pretty quick service here in the United States.   The drink orders came fairly quickly, but he was dismayed to find out that the beer was served at room temperature, not ice cold. I pointed out that the glass was about a liter of beer and would have been room temp anyway by the time he got through with it. But that was the least of the issue that evening. After we put in our food orders we waited about an hour before the first dish was presented. It was mine, and as we are used to all plates appearing together here, I waited.  After ten minutes I told my companions I was going to eat while it was warm.

Bubba then pounded the table, hollering “schnell!”, the only word of German he knew and the source of that had been from the tv show, Hogans Heroes. Of course, the service on our meal slowed down, as the Ugly American had to be taught a lesson.  But Bubba learned, instead, that he would not tolerate this cultural difference, and for most of the three months that he was there, he ate at the local McDonald’s. He went home for Christmas and refused to return to German to finish the work. He would not tolerate anything different from “home” and so lost a wonderful opportunity to enhance his life experience.

With the homogenization of American culture I knew so much of what I was used to would be found here in Oregon. Living in West Virginia prepared me for living in a small town in a rural area in many ways. Although McMinnville has almost everything I need, If I now need to drive a bit (here, maybe 20 minutes) to get to a more densely populated area where more shops are available, I have learned to tolerate that.  We just plan those kinds of trips because driving into the suburbs of Portland means more traffic and I am loving living in a small town surrounded by farmland.

Basically, it comes down to a choice on how each of us faces life. Do we stay in the nest we grew up in because it is too scary to fly away? Is the concept that this home nest is the best place in the world based on actually evaluation of other places? Or is exploration something that can provide exciting stimulation and help build a sense of flexibility while building a new


Author: GoingPlaces Can-Do Zero Waste

I moved to McMinnville a few years ago and was impressed with its friendliness and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. I write several blogs. GoingPlacesLivingLife is my personal blog related to travel, food and just general thoughts. Can-Do Real Food tells about my business processing local produce from small farms and preserving it by canning and dehydrating. The concept of Zero Waste appeals to me because we can truly reduce what gets tossed into the landfill with very small changes in our lifestyle. Join us.

6 thoughts on “Noticing, and Adjusting, to Differences

  1. I remember the way they served food in Germany. We thought it was funny!

    • We did get used to slower service than here but it was never that slow again. Of course, Bubba never ate with us again either. The correlation is probably a positive one. LOL Once, we shared a table at an autobahn restaurant, better than any we have here on our Interstate system. BY that time we knew the names of menu items and I specifically ordered a dish I enjoyed, jaegerschnitzel. But when the food came out, it was something else. The people sharing our table immediately started scolding the server but I really didn’t care. The substituted food looked and tasted good, too. It was not the only time we were served something wrong, but we just went with the flow and tried to be polite.

  2. . I’m with you – while my travels are much more limited than yours, I love the differences…same as adjusting to life in a WV county with 17,000 people – after coming from Alexandria & DC. It took awhile to adjust my thinking – to replace the ‘intellectual habits of a city dweller’ – with a more comfortable approach a rural dweller has for life. This? 🙂

    I’m glad you’re my friend, Beth…Bubba probably doesn’t have many.

    • Au contraire, where Bubba lives he is one of many…..this is one of the reason we hear the kind of comments we do in Congress. There are many many people who never examine life from any position except their own tried and true. They may be unhappy but they know what they like.

  3. Attitude is such a huge part of what sort of experience you have. The sad thing is the impression “Bubba” adds to the Ugly American image.

    • As I was going through my photo file of that trip so long ago I saw one with Bubba and almost included it, but no need. He can have his anonymity. An educated man, an engineer, he was one of the dimmest bulbs I’ve ever met because of his lack of curiosity about anything.

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