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Worldly Tips

It was a little less than a year and a half ago that my grandfather asked me about my plans after graduation. I outlined some grand schemes involving several different countries and possible futures. He chuckled about how small the world is for my generation. Now here it is a little later than a year after he died and I have hardly left the (lovely) state of Minnesota. Despite my homeliness I have a reputation to keep – so how does a girl keep up appearances of worldliness when she hasn't got the time, money, or follow-through to actually visit the world? Well I haven't let my accidental self-grounding go to waste; here are a few tips I have learned:

How to keep up appearances of worldliness despite contrary facts:

  • Always plan to be going somewhere – regardless of how likely it is to come true. The more places you plan on going the better. Six months ago had so many travel plans for this winter – either a return trip to India, a jaunt through Ethiopia with a native friend or a joining another friend for a family reunion on Reunion Island off the east coast of Madagascar. Does it matter that none of these journeys materialized? Only to me.

  • Interject experiences you have had in foreign countries in every conversation possible. If you can't be there now, you may as well talk about it now. Ignore glazed and rolling eyes – they are just jealous!

  • Listen to music from as many different countries as possible.

  • Read the internationally news religiously – especially pay attention to news about countries where you have been, or know people who are currently there. Talk about said news with anyone who will listen and be sure to mention your friends and/or experiences.

  • If anyone asks you about your travels to a specific country, be vague and downplay them. This display of false modesty and ignorance makes you seem even more worldly and wise!

  • Discuss the U.N. government as if it were more important and had more authority than your own government.

  • When other worldly friends talk about travel plans, both past and future, always listen attentively, ask intelligent questions and never appear jealous. Your turn will come one of these days, honest!

  • Always be polite and don't look down on people who haven't been able to travel abroad – at least to their face. When talking with other worldly people it is perfectly acceptable to say "everyone should leave their home country at least once," and then sigh exasperatedly at all the ignorant local yokels.

  • Keep practicing your second language and always act like you speak one more language than you actually do.

  • Read books by authors from as many different countries as possible.

  • Always seek out other well-traveled people at parties and make conversation about the various places you have been, even if this puts all other guests to sleep.

  • If anyone expresses interest in going anywhere always volunteer to go with him/her.

  • When you meet people who have been to places you haven't, quiz them as if you were leaving for that destination next week.

  • Look down on the way your government runs things, but get really defensive if anyone questions your patriotism.

  • Watch movies from other countries as much as possible.

  • Wear clothing and jewelry bought in other countries and be sure to mention where you bought the item if anyone compliments you.

  • Above all else, understand that you may be stuck in this god-forsaken (err, I mean beautiful and democratic) cultural hell-hole (err – opportunity for personal growth) for all eternity so be thankful for your past experiences!

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