That would be me...a bull in a china shop
Last year I was in the grocery store in Amsterdam, and I heard an announcement on the loudspeaker. It pretty much sounded like someone was clearing their throat and a lot of jumble. I paid no attention thinking the man was announcing a special. I was close to the check out around this time going merrily about my shopping. The line was long, and my hand basket was heavy. Suddenly everyone seemed to stop what they were doing. I should have taken this as a clue and instead, I blabbed, "Mam, my cart is heavy do you mind continuing?" Everyone looked at me angrily and pointed to their watches shushing me. It was the day after the attack on Paris and there as a minute of silence nation wide. I wasn't connected and didn't read the news and made an utter fool of myself. I left the store embarrassed and felt daft yet again.
This morning a friend of mine posted this on Facebook.
If you had absolutely no fear of being rejected, criticized or looking weird, what might you do that you are not already doing?
I thought long and hard about my life in Europe and what it has taught me. The list is long and varied, but one thing is clear; I have made a fool of myself so many times.
I love the man in the arena quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; [...] if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly."
That day in the supermarket I realized I was lazy, I wasn't in the arena I wasn't trying to be informed; I was in an expat bubble. I have upped my game since and even though I do dare, I forget sometimes and become lazy... don't we all need little things to give us a wake-up call when we get lazy?
—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife