Are you going to tune in to Welcome to Sweden on July 10th? I’m kind of stoked about meeting Amy Poehler’s brother, Greg Poehler. The series begins when Bruce, an accountant to the stars, follows his love, Emma, back to her native Sweden. The cultural divide tests their relationship, but more importantly, produces some really funny situations.
Watching Bruce struggle with the language and social customs in Sweden reminds me of traveling to Paris last year. My French is pretty awful and I’m sure my look screams American, so making our way through attractions, restaurants and hotels had it’s uncomfortable moments.
For example, on our last night in Paris, we went out for a nice meal and the waitress literally read the whole menu to us because it was, of course, in French. It was incredibly kind of her, especially because she spent about 10 minutes explaining each item to us. I read before our trip that to experience a culture’s cuisine, you should order from the specials because they’re the most in-season and authentic items. So, I looked over at the chalkboard specials menu (also in French) and vaguely recognized salmon and ordered it. What came out was a small piece of salmon and a big pile of black… something. I reluctantly began eating it (cause, yah know, YOLO) and as I ate, I kept glancing back at the chalkboard menu, wishing I had studied my French a little more before the trip. When we made it back to the hotel, I made a beeline for Google and realized I had been eating oysters and mushrooms in a white wine sauce. Whew.
Something as simple as ordering a meal in another country can be such an adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of shenanigans Mr. Poehler finds himself in Sweden.
Have you ever found yourself surrounded by a different culture? How did you get through?