Everytime I think I’m getting more worldly and sophisticated, I get reminded that I’m still a rube… a babe in the woods… a neophyte. In a conversation with a friend from Israel (via the US currently working out of Singapore), I casually mentioned the incredible international faculty that I work with in the UAE. He quickly dismissed my enthrallment and moved on to another topic. At first I didn’t understand why he wasn’t impressed with our international faculty until I realized that it is the norm for faculty in non-US universities to come from a multitude of countries.
I sit near faculty from Canada, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, and the US, and that’s just those physically close to me. I suspect a survey would show that every continent and many, many countries are represented. It makes for interesting conversations and my weak geography knowledge is showing. I actually had to go to the Internet to refresh my memory on Great Britain which was rather limited to the fact that it has a queen who lives in Buckingham Palace.
I can’t be the only one who didn’t know/remember that Great Britain is composed of four countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales). I must have been sleeping when the teacher covered this. Oh well… now I know. This also leads to conversational shifts of clarification when discussing money (dirhams, euros, dollars, etc), heat (Fahrenheit or centigrade), weight (kilograms vs pounds). The good news is that my elementary schooling is beginning to pay off. I’m rusty, but am developing some facility in converting on the fly.
Oh well… I’ll just have to embrace that I am a bumpkin…. And it’s okay.