When traveling to new areas it is easy to jump into generalization about others. When we meet people from different countries and backgrounds it is also easy to jump into conclusions regarding other peoples’ habits and ways of being. Especially if they are very different from our own ways.
I was always curious about the world around me and about other cultures. Trying to understand situations and human behaviour – and why we do the things we do – are things that still interest me immensely. I made conscious choices in my life to learn languages to be able to communicate with foreigners and live abroad. I expatriated from Sweden 12 years ago.
However. There are still moments when I jump to generalization.
Our brain wants to simplify and put new things into our own individual reference frame. Trying to understand the world around us, we simplify. That’s when generalization comes in to the picture.
The more we travel, the bigger the reference frame become however. The more different kinds of situations we put ourselves into, the bigger the reference frame become. The more different kinds of people we meet and learn to communicate with, the bigger our reference frame become. The bigger the reference frame, the bigger understanding that things can be made in many different ways. With the same outcome.
I’m now thinking about Romania.
There are lots of generalizations from the west about Romania. Here are a few.
“Romania is poor.
Romania is “dark “ and “depressing”.
Romanian food is not very tasty.
Romanian mountains ? What ? Do they have skiing areas there ?
Romanian sea resorts / the Black Sea : “ Oh, yes, hm, I remember Scandinavians used to go there , oh, is it nice ?”
“Budapest …is it nice ?…eh…oh, right, Bucharest. What does it look like? “
They are a few.
Yes, Romania is poor, in a way, however, with lots of natural resources.
Yes, recent history was dark and depressing under communism,
No. Food is amazingly tasty and abundant. With lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Nice apple juice. Great wines. Eating with a Romanian family sarmale, or grilled fish with salad, nobody will never say Romanian food is not tasty.
Oh, yes there are amazing mountains and ski resorts ready to be discovered.
And yes, the Black Sea coast should be re-discovered by Scandinavians.
Bucharest is like a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered.
I’ve been thinking about Romania and tourism a lot this past week, as I was on holiday in Greece.
Romania could do what Greece has done regarding tourism.
It’s all there in Romania.
All you need is some leadership and to spread it.
Yvette, Rhodos, September 2012.