Saturday, January 24, 2009

N in England

In earlier posts I have mentioned my friend N who also lived at the B&B and relocated back to New Zealand last January after living in England for about nineteen years. We have kept in touch over the past year and he truly loves being back in New Zealand. He was in England over Christmas so we got a chance to visit briefly. Our schedules just weren’t in sync for anything longer unfortunately. I always enjoyed talking to N about cultural differences because he also was a stranger in a strange land and could understand where I was coming from. The week that I saw him, I was feeling very much a foreigner. I was telling him that I had gotten into a discussion with some folks about money and how these people were telling me that people in the UK are not motivated by money, and when I admitted that I was, not 100% but it did motivate me, I got a look like I was a lowlife. N laughed and said “That’s bullocks” of course they are motivated by money. Everyone is motivated by money. He said the difference was probably that they would never admit it. He went on to tell me that he was currently reading a book about a European mathematician that went to work in the U.S. at a university for a time. In the book the mathematician said that when he would be sitting in the faculty lounge having lunch, his American counterparts would stand up after finishing eating and announce that they had to get back because they had a lot of work to do. The author commented that a European would NEVER say that, even if they did have a lot to do. He went on to say that if given a problem that he had to work on all night to finish, the next day he would come in and act very casual about the amount of work it took to complete and would never let on that a lot of effort went into completing it. N has a way of not taking anything too seriously, and it was good to laugh a lot of things off that afternoon. I wish he was still in England.

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