The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Will Help for Food

Posted by thearrow on July 8, 2009

You didn’t think I was done with commenting on cultural differences between the US and Romania now, did you? I thought so.

A friend of mine from high school, now in Chad (of all places) where she does some international work, emailed me yesterday to ask if I could help a friend of hers find a place in DC for 2 months. This unknown friend is a French woman doing an internship (one block from my office) and she couldn’t find anything for such a short period of time. Indeed, finding that in DC is a bitch; everyone wants long-term tenants. So I called a couple of friends to ask them to ask other folks if they know of anything. Turned out one of them was thinking of renting her studio short-term (and staying with her family) if the appropriate occasion appeared. Which just did. My DC friend and the French woman are getting together tonight to hammer out the details and I really hope this works out well for everyone. The studio is very close to her office, and, on top of it, it’s located in Dupont Circle, a really charming part of town with lots of restaurants (for all wallets), bookstores, nice shops, and a little park where people come to hang out on the grass on weekends. It will make it for a really nice experience in DC.

My friend (who is Romanian) is excited about the prospect, so she tells me in an email that she owes me at least one dinner. HUH?? Sigh… This is one American thing I cannot get used to. In fact, I do everything I can to not adopt it. I understand that this is what people do when they are grateful, but it really makes me feel that I help others for food 🙂 A simple “thank you” and hopefully some help when I need it (if at all possible) are more than enough. I helped someone else I know by being a witness in her divorce case, which involved just going to court and answering “yes” to a few qustions from the judge, and she wanted to take me out to lunch. I don’t think I could have swallowed a bite. I would have felt as if I was saying, ok, I helped you out, now give me some food :). Seriously, I find this hilarious. People, just say “thank you” and I’m happy I could help.

Oh, and another funny thing related to my friend in Chad. A few years ago she had an assignment in Phnom Penh. She had told me about it but I put the info at the back of my mind. After about a year, an American friend of mine was getting ready to move there and emailed everyone to see if he could get any job leads. I didn’t even connect the dots for a while until it suddently hit me: I know someone there! So… I, a Romanian, help an American with job leads in Cambodia through a high school friend. The mere thought of that just cracked me up. I am really not that well-connected, you know. I’m not one of those people who can say, oh, let me call so and so for any kind of request (although I’d like to be). My Cambodia connection led to only some freelance stuff, not a steady job. Thank God my American friend didn’t mention anything about dinner.

I’m meeting with the (unkonwn) French woman for lunch on Friday, though.

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One Response to “Will Help for Food”

  1. Wandering Elf said

    arrow, lunch-ul si dinner-ul au functii sociale aici. ca sa te invite la dinner, inseamna ca iti datoreaza mult. si in loc ca sa te invite la ea acasa, te invita la un restaurant – asa scapa de problema mancarii. evident, noi romanii am fi invitat acasa, am fi facut conversatie placuta, am fi servit serbet cu apa rece (mi-e dor de serbetul ala din copilarie…nu inteleg cum chestii din astea simple si atat de populare au disparut) etc.

    asa ca nu cred ca tre sa te simti in vreun fel, asta e cultura.

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