Americans ride bikes?!

Americans ride bikes?!

I made an appointment in front of my new house to meet with a relocation agent. She had the address, and I had been particular with her. As I waited for fifteen minutes, I wondered what had happened.  Eventually, I called, "I am in front of my house. Where are you?" She sighed, "No, I am there, and you aren't" We quickly realized that we were both at houses, but I was where I told her I would be as she was waiting for me where I had been staying. 

She arrived ten minutes later by car, "Sorry for the misunderstanding but how did you get here you don't have a car?" I looked puzzled, "I took my bike and rode over."

I wish what happened next would not have but as I said those words her draw dropped, and she looked stunned. "How did you bike? Americans don't bike right away here, do you know what you're doing? It might be dangerous."

The word mad does not describe my emotions. I am fed up with being told I can't do something based on the mere fact that I spent the first nineteen years of my life in a country.

People make "the American" assumption about me on a regular basis. Sometimes I turn them into funny stories that I tell at dinner parties, sometimes I am hurt, and sometimes I go on a rant, but they never go unnoticed.

Assumptions can be dangerous things. I wish others would just ask me about who I would be so much easier.

–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife