"Not all those who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkien
Sad to say, there is more than a kernal of truth to this. When I go to France, and shopkeepers find out out that I am a Yank, even though I speak French well, I kind of get this attitude of surprise like one sees with adults who are confronted with a precocious child. There are Americans who study foreign languages, but unfortunately, not enough when confronted with the stereotype that many people have of Americans as being apathetic about learning languages, and happily oblivious about what goes on outside of the US. Watching episodes of "Jay-Walking" on the Tonight Show don't help with the stereotype either.
This is one area of life that I feel like an ugly American. I try to pick up new languages and fail miserably. I struggled to get through Latin in High School and Spanish in College, the subjects that earned the chant "C is for Complete, D is for Diploma." Nursedude, I envy your mastery of French, I'm still working on English.
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