Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Channeling a Non-American

By Megan Powers 

As I set off to see the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica yesterday, I was wearing a long, black halter dress and had my hair pulled up in a bun. 

A guy sitting on the sidewalk yelled out to me, “Senor!” As I kept walking, I thought, that’s odd – why would he say that? He said it once more and then as I was about 100 yards away, he yelled, “Senora! Senora! Senora!” It seemed he thought I was Spanish, and realized he had the wrong gender with the word he used. 


Later in the day I asked for the “bagni” (how it was written on the door at school), and the security guard replied, “Bagno?” To me, that sounded like the Spanish word, which left me thinking, do I have it wrong? 

Am I channeling my inner-Spaniard today? 

That evening I ordered white wine… I said, “Vorrei vino blanco, per favore.” The server replied back by saying “Bianco?” Now it seemed to be a conspiracy! I had been saying blanco for almost two weeks and just realized in Italian class today that white in Italian is, indeed, bianco. 


I realize these confusions happened for various reasons. 

But what sticks with me, is this might be the first time I’ve traveled abroad and I wasn’t assumed to be American. 

For a moment I felt a sense of relief about that, but not because I’m not proud to be American. I am proud, but there’s something to be said for being stripped of that stereotype (if only for a moment... or a day).

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