I feel blessed that my first foray into international consulting is in a country that speaks and understands my native tongue. I feel like that has made this transition a lot easier. There are some things that I am noticing that might just be lost in the translation shuffle…
I pride myself in my grasp of the English language, but I have come to realize the amount of words and phrases that might not translate perfectly into another language. Things like “Sup bro” and “howdy” seem to just confuse the locals. The biggest confusion point appears to be “y’all.” They just can’t grasp this concept. So in the end, I think everyone should be grateful that I came over here #yallAreWelcome
Growing up in America, I was blessed with a multitude of gifts and good situations. I have now been able to experience a culture of friendship and kindness in an area that I knew nothing about. I have met some of the nicest people ever here. One person in particular is possibly the most generous and genuine humans I have ever encountered. Her giving spirit comes from within. It is awesome to experience this.
I also notice that nobody has taught the locals to avoid staring at strangers. When my crew walks into the mall, I feel eyes lock on me. Kids will literally stop in their tracks just to stare as I walk by. This isn’t the most uncommon thing that happens to me. As anyone who has met me in person can attest, I am probably the largest human you have ever met. In high school I was nicknamed “Sasquatch,” in college friends called me “Baloo” and now I have acquired the name “Big Boy.” But I am HUGE here in Saudi Arabia. Locals continue to stop me and take pictures with me
Last week, in the market, the owners of a clothing shop jumped at the chance to take a picture with me.
Then during our trip into Bahrain, our driver kept taking selfies with me.
Over the past few years, I have become known as the guy who loves wearing patriotic outfits, and I have been told that I embody the epitome of America…
These feelings have not and will not leave. I love my home country, but expatriate life is growing on me. I am thoroughly enjoying learning new cultures and languages, experiencing unique things, exploring new lands.
I encourage everyone: if you get a chance, get out and see the world, meet new folks and embrace new cultures