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Archive for the tag “manners”

Around the World on a Few Magical Phrases

As a privileged guest in over forty countries, I always try to pack basic foreign language skills. I’m not talking about investing in a Rosetta Stone course for a two-day jaunt, but rather the simple gesture of memorizing phrases such as: “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” that will seamlessly bridge a pathway to positive encounters. Best of all? There’s no need to stress over the precise pronunciation.

Case in point, on a recent journey through Poland to Hungary to Austria/Germany, I struggled less with my Polish and Hungarian (!) than I did with my German, where “thank you” stuck to the roof of my mouth before oscillating off my tongue in a tangle of incorrect vowels. On more than one occasion (I wish I could blame on Oktoberfest), I actually blurted out what sounded a whole lot like, “Thank you…Donkey,” leaving my husband to shield his red face.

We eventually queried our hotel receptionist in Vienna as to the degree of offense my mispronunciation might be causing. To my delight, he did not laugh, assuring me that no one would be the least bit insulted or confused by my efforts at gratitude.

So take it from the donkey lady herself, give the native language a gallant whirl and disregard any smirks or raised eyebrows (if only from your traveling companion). I promise your display of respect will supercede any enunciation gaffes…

Manners and Closed Toilet Lids


Observation:  Humans who are gracious enough to incorporate words like “please” and “thank you” into their daily interactions are more apt to close the toilet lid.

Sure, there’s the Feng Shui ideology about exposed toilet bowls serving as vortexes that suck prosperity away, but some people simply adhere to common decency.

I salute these considerate individuals, the ones who never think twice about leaving a place better than they found it. Whether closing toilet lids, tidying up before departing an area, or displaying heartfelt manners — THANK YOU — for enhancing the civility of our world!

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