Happy Halloween!

Even though there are a lot of foreigner halloween celebrations here (Chinese people don’t celebrate it), I’m sad to say that due to money and work restrictions, I’m unable to participate this year 😦 Most of the celebrations were last night, since Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, and I wanted to go out and have fun anyways, but I had to get up early this morning to give some demo classes to potential students.

Immediately after that, I went to an Expatriate Expo on a whim and I had a lot of fun. My friend Valery was working the booth for “China Cultural Center” there, and she told me about it. I spent about an hour walking around picking up free toothpaste, drinking free wine and eating free cheese, getting a free massage and acupuncture… it was great! It was also a great place to meet other foreigners. I met a woman from Barbados who shares the same birthday as me, a couple of cool guys from Zambia, an Austrian, a French guy, and a nice Hungarian girl. I was reading this blog post earlier (well worth the read, by the way), and in point #6 the author says:

This stereotype is true. Americans don’t travel overseas as much as Brits, Dutch, Germans, Canadians or Scandinavians. There are some good reasons for this (big country, short vacation time) and bad ones (fear and ignorance). We don’t have a gap year culture like they have in the UK and we don’t tend to take vacations longer than a week. I can’t think of a single place I visited where I met Americans in numbers anywhere close to our relative population.

And I’m starting to realize just how true this is. I can count the number of fellow Americans I have met here, including my own roommate, on one hand. Meanwhile, I have met people from:

France, Italy, The United Kingdom, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Barbados, Zambia, South Africa, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia

I feel like I’m trying to “collect” encounters with people from all different countries; maybe I’ll make a map of where all the people I’ve met hail from 🙂 I love living in an international city like this, and every day I remind myself how lucky I am to have grown up speaking English as my native language. The one thing that every single foreign person I have met has in common is that they all speak English… many of them are trilingual, even. I think America should definitely put more emphasis on gaining fluency in a foreign language, from a much younger age, considering that so many other people in the world are expected to do the same with English.

On an unrelated note, one of my jobs has me working directly across the street from the most expensive office building in the world, which I find pretty cool. They call it the “pants building”, you can probably guess why:

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3 Responses to Happy Halloween!

  1. Mom says:

    Happy Halloween back at ya! Eric has his face paint and clothes ready to go for tonight. At age 16, I don’t think he’s missed a year of trick-or-treating yet – ha! I agree that Americans could (and should) do a better job with traveling and learning about different cultures. What better way to work toward peace and understanding? To add to that, here’s a quote from this weekend’s D.C. rally: “The inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more” – Jon Stewart

    As always, “go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Love, Mom

  2. mjcox says:

    Jake, you are absolutely right.
    as I look back, though, when I was in high school we had four years of foreign language. German and Latin.
    Interesting isn’t it. Then had a spanish major and german minor in college. But if you don’t use it, like you are doing , you lose it. Of course now need to relearn all my Spanish to interact with Ignacio’s family.

    Your mom popped over last night, just to hang. We watched the USC – Oregon game together. And caught up. We think your apartment looks doable. We are glad you are having such a grand adventure.

  3. Dad says:

    Happy Halloween Jake!

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