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Barcelona, Spain

When I arrived at my hotel in Spain a few weeks back, I immediately was blasted with a wall of cigarette smell. So, I looked at my paperwork to find the phrase 'non-smoking' room (which I did) and then I paused and wondered whether or not I would switch rooms. 

I asked the nice lady at the desk if there's anything that could be done about the giant ashtray I was assigned to sleep in and she said that they'd work on it. I thanked her and then went to my scheduled business meetings. When I returned, my room smelled like a perfume bottle exploded and the windows were all open. I had to smile.

And then I promptly went downstairs to the desk to thank the nice lady and her staff. And therein lies the cultural moment that if you're someone who travels, feel free to take note. Saying 'thanks' in a sincere way truly does translate in to other cultures and languages.

And I was sincerely grateful and no, my Spanish ability is not impressive. In fact, I first had meetings in Madrid and on the train from Madrid to Barcelona, I probably said fewer than three sentences. Partly because I was tired and engrossed in my book; partly because I am secure with my broken Spanish and know by now that I am not delusional enough to fake it with a local. By the way, the countryside an hour outside of Barcelona is pretty inpsiring at times which also goes along wtih paying attention and being nice and well....saying thanks.

People can spot a fake in other cultures immediately....people also can understand if you're truly thankful. And both are worth remembering. 


Bo, glad your posting blogs on ConversantLife again. You bring refreshing, reflective content to the site!

Thanks Stan. I admire you and your vision and am grateful to contribute. I feel I am a bit more organized as well....full speed ahead.

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As a University director of study abroad in Central Texas, ideas and stories matter. These reflections are for pilgrims making progress.