I just met a fellow American at the grocery store. I was perusing the pasta selection when I finished my cell phone call and heard an "excuse me." You learn as an expat in a non-English speaking country that when you hear English at close range it is usually being directed at you, the foreigner. This little fact also makes me quite rude in Portuguese as the person has to say it about 3 times before my head wakes up and I turn around.
Anyway, I turned and there was a friendly American face. "Hi, are you American?"
Me: "Actually I am."
Funny enough, this was the second time I had this same conversation today in my neighborhood (and no I do not live in Leblon or Ipanema).
So we exchanged expat pleasantries of "what brought you here?" and "How do you like it?" Of course a few minutes had passed and we were heading in different shopping directions. I had my eyes on the leafy greens and he was headed towards the bananas. It was time to part ways. We said a quick nice to meet you and went about our way.
Strangely enough, I felt like I owed this new acquaintance more than that. It actually crossed my mind that maybe it was rude that I didn't suggest we exchange emails or something.
What the hell is that? Just because he's American? Why would I feel a hint of responsibility to stay in touch just because a person is from my Motherland?
But there is a sense of automatic connection when you meet someone from your country, though it is not full proof. I must admit that I have adapted enough to where I have muttered "annoying American" to Mr. Rant on occasion. That being said, I still have a lot of my annoying American traits as well. What can I say, you can take the girl out of the trailer but you can't take the trailer out of the girl!
Did I just compare the US to a trailer park? I think that's a sign that I should be logging off now.