There are, in fact, Americans that travel overseas. Quite a bit of them, in fact. Our friend Miriam has danced in Australia and has backpacked much of Western Europe. Jamie's been to Israel. Scott used to live in the Czech Republic, David's been to Asia, Patrick learned Spanish in Guatemala, the other Patrick met his WIFE in South Korea, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. So it would be silly to have a blog based on the differences between American culture and that of a foreign land.
That said, however, this is Dizzle's first overseas experience (first time ever being west of the Mississippi River!), and the first real long one for Baby G. Because we're spending so MUCH time here, there are certain things that we find slightly amusing, or downright... well, foreign for lack of a better word. We are not making fun, we are simply allowing for some of the nuances to come to light. When you're in a country that is NOT yours for a period of time, it's the small details (“The little differences”, Pulp Fiction) that can really make one smile or cringe. Just when it seems like you're getting used to it, like you've got the majority of it all 'sussed out', you come to something so monumentally off the wall, you simply HAVE to share it with someone.
So. Have we ever told you about the children here?
The other day, Dizzle was working at the coffeeshop part of the airport food court, and a family came up for lunch and coffee. They were a little indecisive, but there wasn't yet a line behind them, so nobody was in any rush. When, item by item, they'd finally gotten to the end of the order, the mom said to the little boy, “Do you want something to eat?” The kid yelled, “I WANTED THE CAKE!” Now, Baby G and Dizzle aren't parents, and so the whole world of parenting is unknown to us. They may have all been having a bad day, or were nervous to fly or something, but Dizzle still thought he handled it well by GLARING at the child as he set down the slice of cake, never again making eye contact with the mom. He wasn't telling her how to parent – on the contrary – he was having a private, psychic conversation with the kid and telling him he was a little brat who should probably start saying 'please' and 'thank you' or, sooner or later, he'll end up with his cake shoved in his face.
When we were both exploring up North, we stopped at a campsite for the night, just to pitch the tent for a few hours and get some sleep. We were next to a campervan with a very nice family from Auckland who offered us beer and soda. We'd clearly had quite a long day and were looking forward to getting to sleep. And we would have, too, if the couple's two young sons hadn't been, we swear to God, HITTING OUR RENTAL CAR WITH A TENNIS RACKET. And the parents said NOTHING!
Right now, in current events here in NZ, the main three stories are: the policemen who've been forcing themselves on women and videotaping it; the murder spree of a paroled man named Burton, who was caught shortly after he was released to begin with; and a potential law on the books banning parents from smacking their kids – even a little. Everyone here has an opinion about all three of these things, but the one we've been paying almost NO attention to is the last one. But as soon as we hit one of these little punks, we'll probably start.
Dizzle's sister, Claire, and all four parents will probably read this post and laugh. They'll all smirk and say things like, “They'll understand how it is when they have kids.” To this we say two things: 1. So? You might be right, but we're NOT parents yet and so nanny nanny boo boo. :P And 2., just because we don't HAVE kids, doesn't mean we aren't FAMILIAR with kids. That's why we mention it at all. Believe us, if this were a couple isolated instances, we'd never mention it. We would just go, “Ah, well, I guess kids are kids everywhere,” or something. We are saying that there are a lot of little demon midgets running around in this country and if you ever end up visiting here, don't be surprised. That's all we're saying.
Don't get us wrong, the well behaved kids here are SO cute. The little almost-Euro accents being so polite and adorable... it's quite heartwarming. Like something out of a Roald Dahl book, or a movie starring that kid from Kindergarten Cop. Those kids are all right by us, and we look forward to them.
The other kids, the ones it will soon be illegal to smack, need to be shipped off to someplace where their days are spent learning to be polite and respectful of other people's space. But no tennis or cake.
They'll understand why when they're old enough.