Are Europeans Bossy?

Finger wagging

Is it a European thing, or have I lived in the politically correct states of America for too long that I’m not used to people speaking their minds? Of course I don’t want to generalize. I can really only speak of recent experiences with the French, Spanish and Mallorquin, but they really seem in love with “educating” people, at least me, and telling people, again me, what to do.

Here are a few anecdotes…

When En France:

A few years ago, when I went to France for the first time, Paris more specifically, I was eating at a little bistro late at night. I sat down outside and it was so dark, I could hardly see the menu, so I just asked the server if they had what I wanted. He scolded me! He told me that they only had what’s on the menu and I should read that first. Sir, yes, sir!

Then, one afternoon I was having lunch at the Centre Georges Pompidou at the over priced bistro on the roof with the lovely view of Paris. The server was a total shit. Not only did he “educate” me on how they order in France (i.e. the proper way) because I decided I wanted a starter after I had already ordered my main course, but then he gave me the wrong bill and when I brought it to the manager’s attention because I had not noticed at first and accidentally paid it using my credit card, he didn’t bring me the correct bill, just cash for change. I was so frustrated and annoyed, I just left. I didn’t have it in me to argue in French. Don’t get me wrong, I love the French. These incidents mostly amused me, but also kind of annoyed me since I wasn’t being an annoying American, at least not on purpose, and was SPEAKING FLIPPING FRENCH. Some credit please, people. Thank you.

Spanish Scoldings:

If you read my last post, you know all about my newborn baby girl’s recent trauma and stint in the NICU here in Mallorca. The NICU team was AWESOME. But, as is the case in life, there had to be a few meanie nurses to balance out the good, kind ones. My first scolding came as I was taking a few pictures of Leah’s incubator and all the stuff hooked up to her. You see, we were talking to a specialist back home, just to ease my mind, and I needed to send him as much info as possible, so he could consult on Leah’s case. One of the nurses came up to me and told me I have to ask permission to take photos. I said okay, sorry, and explained why I was doing it. I really didn’t know we weren’t aloud (the RULES aren’t posted anywhere!). She kept going on and on and on while giving me the stink eye. GEEZ!. Then, hubbie called me one morning for an update while I was visiting Leah (I was spending every morning with her during her 5 week stay in the NICU). Another meanie nurse shot daggers at me and scolded me for talking on the phone. Okay, okay! I honestly didn’t know that wasn’t aloud, since EVERYONE always had their mobiles on hand and I was whispering. You’re probably thinking, “duh, Andrea,” but I just didn’t think about it. Anyway, she kept giving me dirty looks and wouldn’t stop monitoring me during the rest of my visit. MAN! I was really annoyed because hubbie had taken LOTS of pictures and talked on the phone more than once. He laughed at me and said I was just too obvious about it. Okay, fine. Sharpen ninja smartphone skills. I’m on it.

So we’ve only had Leah at home for a week, right and I’m trying to get the hand of juggling a new routine with TWO LITTLE GIRLS! Holy crap! So, one day I was 45 minutes late dropping off Fiona, my little two year old bundle of adorableness, at morning daycare. It was totally my fault, I overslept, so the first thing that came out of my mouth was an apology for being so late. Was that enough? Oh, no. The director proceeded to take me to task for not respecting the “normas” or rules, I guess that translates to, of the school. Those of you who know me can probably guess how I reacted, especially since this was a first offense on my part. I told her to fuck off. Just kidding. I told her I understood and was AGAIN sorry, but needed a bit of flexibility considering our circumstances (lots of doc appointments for Leah, no sleep, etc.) and if it was such a problem, I’d turn around with my little girls and go home. Cut me some slack, teach. The little school, or escola, is really great and I have no complaints, except this chic is young, immature at times and lacks some serious empathy skills. She’s now giving me the silent treatment and avoiding direct contact. It’s a Spanish chic thing, I think.


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