Lunch with Foreigners
Yesterday I went with a group of friends to lunch at a quick little greek eatery. This place is one of very few that serves good, quick, non-Italian food near the embassy. (Hooray Mythos!) Consequently it begins to get crowded shortly after noon when the Americans are ready to eat lunch. And shortly after 1 it begins to get crowded with Italians.
Yesterday we arrived around 1230. By 1pm we were done eating, but hadn’t yet motivated ourselves to clear the table and get back to work. At this point, all the other tables were full of Italians, and the tiny shop was literally ‘standing room only’. Italians who had just received their food were literally standing in the middle, holding their plates, and looking around trying to figure out what to do. Turning my head to see the line of people with full plates, I figured we may as well get moving and head back to work, so that other people could eat. I stood up, my coworkers stood up, and we cleared the table. Meanwhile the Italians with full plates looked on in awe and I heard one of them comment to another:
It’s because they’re foreigners. In my opinion Americans are much more considerate of others. They are leaving because they saw us waiting.
Seems normal to us, but it’s just another interesting cultural difference.