A few weeks after I arrived Denmark
I found myself in a new society with an entirely new culture
Every waking day, I try to grasp a bit of the whole new environment
And just then, my new friend and housemate
A PhD researcher introduced me to her Danish supervisor
During dinner, she hosted at our student hostel
Her supervisor came with his lovely wife
And we all chatted while eating the assorted dishes
Prepared by my amiable friend.
We exchanged contacts afterwards
They appeared really happy to meet a Nigerian girl
Several questions were thrown at me
And dinner was scheduled at the supervisor’s home the next weekend
They invited me to dine with them without my friend, anyway
So I could tell them more about Nigeria and the interest in Denmark
I was still a JJC (New) with no clue of Danish traditions
I barely knew the Danish culture as I do now
So I left for the dinner with a bottle of red wine to present to my host
As I was told is the norm
“Take something with you when you are invited to dinner”
“Present it to your host at the door”. And I took a bottle of red wine with me.
The Professor and his beautiful wife lived in a huge house with beautiful lawns
I was fascinated
Before dinner commenced
The supervisor’s wife asked us if we’d drink tea after the food
They had invited another lady too, a Dane
The lady accepted the offer
But I wasn’t too sure if I’d like some tea after eating
So, I declined the offer.
After food, our host made her way to the kitchen
Returned with a tray of snacks and teapot
Then she asked me again if I wanted tea
And I said, yes, Please!
Surprisingly, she said to me
“Oh, you changed your mind?
Sorry but I can’t go back to the kitchen for more tea
You ought to have said yes from the beginning
And I would have included yours from the onset”
With that being said, she smiled and continued with the conversations.
A smile I found offensive
I just stared at her expressionless
Then, I told her she need not bother herself
Because I’d have enough tea when I get home
Inwardly, I felt she was too hard on me
I wondered why it was a big task for her
Was it a big deal to satisfy her guest who knows very little about her new culture?
Was it the best way to host a young foreigner in your land?
But different strokes for different folks
Because I later met other families
who I believed, showed more sincere affection
We all chatted briefly and I took my leave
I never went back to that house again even with later invites
I turned all of them down
But I learnt some lessons with that experience
To be firm with my words
To say No and mean it
To say Yes and own it too.
Know what you want from the beginning and be firm
Believe in what you say and stand by it no matter the pressure
Don’t be fickle and never allow others to sway your thoughts or opinions
Be a good host and make people comfortable when they spend time with you
Encourage others and teach them if need be
Be kind in your words and in your deeds too
Help people settle in well in a new environment
Choose to love people genuinely whether they are black or white
And no matter whom they are or where they come from
Never mock anyone.
Don’t show interest in people superficially
And then bring them closer to you
Only to leave them empty or depressed
Practice liking people if you never do
Be kind and good to strangers
Leave good impressions with people who cross your path
Because, first impressions matters, oftentimes.
Be unassuming in your dealings with other humans
At the end
Life has a way of humbling us all
My Experience. My Story. My Life.
My Travel Diary.
Peace and Love!
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