American’s have a host of greetings – from sea to shining sea. “Whazzup,” “Hey ya’ll,”“Yo,” and “Dude!” all boil down to “hello.” Your greeting of choice depends a lot upon your age, what part of America you are from and your training. Can’t imagine a presidential candidate addressing a crowd by opening: “Howdy dudes and dudettes. Sup?” And if he or she waits for a response to the question, it could be a long night.
Months before we took this world trip, we studied about the places we wanted to go, and in addition to making the boys do extensive reports on the countries we were about to visit, they were required to learn “hello,” “goodbye,”“please,” “thank you” and the equivalent to an apology “excuse me” in each language.
The first country we visited, Japan, was a snap: “Konnichiwa,” they shouted out. They even nailed down the nod. Then came China and they boys threw out a “Ni Hau” or an occasional “Nay Hoh.” But once we hit SE Asia, we traveled so quickly through the countries, words seem to constantly change. But this didn’t stop the guys – well, any of us for that matter. We butchered attempts at “hello,” “thank you,” and “please.” But it didn’t matter to the people. They were eager to help us with our pronunciation. And of course, that opened the doors for new friendships.
We were flying through the “Adventure” part of the trip, but never ever lost our enthusiasm for the importance of “Engagement.” AWE – Adventure With Engagement. The engraving AWE on my leather bracelet is a daily reminder to me.
Don’t be afraid to practice the words you have learned in an effort to communicate. Most everyone we approached was more than willing to reach out and engage with someone who is sincerely trying to communicate. Imagine how honored they feel knowing that you cared enough to try.
So for now — ‘Do svidaniya,’ which means “till we meet again” in Russian. No idea how to pronounce it? Welcome to my world!
Talk soon! Dawn