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RE: [Slovak-World] Visiting your relatives in Slovakia

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  • Bill Tarkulich
    Vladimir s comments are quite appropriate. I have also felt the same way, and I wrote about it in my trip narrative from 2001 http://tarkulich.tripod.com My
    Message 1 of 83 , Jul 1, 2003
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      Vladimir's comments are quite appropriate. I have also felt the same
      way, and I wrote about it in my trip narrative from 2001
      http://tarkulich.tripod.com My biggest fear was being perceived as the
      "arrogant American" and described behavior appropriately portrays.

      The people from our homelands are generous, warm and welcoming. The
      last thing I ever wanted to do was alienate them, as the connection back
      to the homeland and to my cousins took so long and much work to
      establish.

      It took me exactly 10 minutes after coming into their home to learn to
      listen more and talk less. There was a quick tendancy for me to say,
      "Well, in America we have this or that" and to compare.

      Eventually when they warm up to you, they will begin to probe and ask
      about things in your life. And even then you must respond with some
      amount humility. Certain things I would have been embarassed to tell
      them - that my family not only has two cars, but a garage to put them
      both in, for example.

      But there does come a time to tell them things. When communism lost
      its' grip, many Russian-based television programs were replaced with
      captioned American sit-coms and game shows. And hoo-boy, some of my
      cousins sincerely believed we all lived like that, that we were all loud
      mouth, pushy and arrogant. That took a bit of explaining that only a
      few actually live and act like that! Needless, they were surprised but
      relieved.

      Remember that except for those in the cities, for the most part they
      were cloistered from information outside the iron curtain. In many
      cases I found their opinions of Americans to be an "open-book." That
      is, no opinion formed. So remember when you travel, you help create
      their first impressions of Americans. As with me, you may be the first
      American they meet. I quickly considered one of my roles to be a minor
      American "ambassador". Take it seriously!

      Bill Tarkulich
    • genie h lalonde
      aChancellor Herman B Wells did that at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in the 1960 s If my memory serves me.
      Message 83 of 83 , Jul 7, 2003
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        aChancellor Herman B Wells did that at Indiana University in Bloomington,
        Indiana in the 1960's If my memory serves me.
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