Stop honking... I'm not Dutch! Stereotypes!
I always talk to myself when I am driving. My kids make fun of me. If you drive with me, you might hear me say, "I know honey, you just learned to drive but speed it up it's an 80 zone." Sometimes I can say some pretty rude things; I can be pretty bad because I think .... hey they can't hear me.
The other day I was in my adopted hometown in Switzerland and a woman started honking at me like wild. As I pulled into the local grocery store to park, I met a neighbor who had seen the transaction. I got out of my car slammed the door, and I said, "What was that? What was her problem? I didn't do anything wrong" He laughed and answered, "It's your car, you have Dutch license plates!" I asked, "What? Why does that matter?" The young man answered, "They just think you are a tourist. They assume you came with your car full of Dutch food, Dutch beer, that you will be loud and ski out of control, so they honk!" I was in awe. You see my husband just had started a new job in Amsterdam, thus the company car with Dutch plates. I had forgotten that the car had foreign plates.
Today my two daughters were in that very nice company car. The eldest was driving and said she noticed people looking at them. She asked me, "What do you think they were thinking?" My answer, "Two wealthy blonde tourists from Holland." Nothing could be more wrong! I believe we all assume too much; myself included. My muttering has gotten better since that lady honked at me. I start muttering and realize I don't have a clue about the person in the other car.
—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife