Friday Fictioneers: When in Rome…

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox. Click for Rochelle’s blog.

Genre: Micro Memoir
Word Count: 100

We flew to Brussels to visit friends in the municipality of Heist-op-den-Berg, a Belgian, Flemish community of 42,000. Brussels is an international big city to the south. This little area is pure Netherlander (Dutch) in language and a reserved, coldish, culture.

Rudy had said he liked American helpfulness and friendliness (speaking, holding doors, smiling, etc.) when he visited here.

I went for a run through town.

Seeing the surprised looks I got, instead of a wave and “good morning,” I got louder with “Howdy, y’all,” all smiles like I wanted to hug. The natives were plumb shocked. I loved it.

Look both ways trying to understand life, history, language, and culture.
Travel, learn, love, and mind the gaps.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do,
but “to thine own self be true.”

Click on Photo for more FF stories. (Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau left his Belgian counterpart red-faced after he raced straight past his open arms to plant a smooch on the latter’s partner. Trudeau was among the world leaders attending the NATO summit in Belgium. The awkward moment took place as he arrived at a dinner in Brussels.}


40 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: When in Rome…

    1. I like him. An interesting man. And, he seems to have his priorities straight (ladies first). 🙂
      After the past 5 years here, embarrassment takes on a new dimension.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. One Justin “out-trumps” a hundred, no a million, of his redness of the fake news/hair. Justin’s father, Pierre, was also quite a character. Canada had it’s “Trudeamania” in 1968. Nothing at all like the Cult of Trump!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Do they not do the double-cheek kiss of greeting in Belgium? It took this friendly American a bit to make the adjustment to that in central Europe. Grew to love it, but it’s very different from what I’m used to.

    I’m glad I wasn’t the recipient of Trudeau’s social faux pas. Wonder if he ever realized what he had done?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only know what I was told and what I experienced. Sometimes I pass people on the sidewalk, all of whom I greet, some will not even make eye contact, but it’s rare.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I disagree. I love New York and the people, especially NY City. I would visit again without a thought (minus covid). Maybe I’ll soon tool up one of my NYC stories. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Aha! I, too, came to like the easy, superficial friendliness of Americans and Canadians I encountered when abroad. But the key is superficial. If you make friends in one of the ‘cold’ European countries, they really mean it. Otherwise they call you acquaintance. But I still miss the friendliness and easy service where I live (cold Germany) you all too often get grumpy faces and lousy service. Great story, I can see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, culture clashes will never end as long as we’re allowed to have our own cultures. I think I’ll take the clashes as the alternative is unfathomable. I’m glad you / your character enjoyed introducing a little friendliness into their stay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did enjoy Belgium and their regional differences. With 3 official languages (none English) and so much interesting history, it is, as I’m sure all of Europe is, fun to visit.. In the states, we still have some regional cultures, but the homogenization of America is sad, in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Bill,

    We do vary in different cultures, don’t we? I do like NYC. Jerusalem is lot like it only in Hebrew. 😉 Nicely written story of human differences and similarities.



    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish I’d been there when you were running, and calling, ‘Hi, y’all!’. I can just imagine some of the looks you got!
    I worked a lot with Dutch colleagues and visited often. I liked them enormously.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Be yourself. When we lived in Bavaria the nighbours always greeted us with Gruss Gott. I think they found my reserved Guten Morgen a little understated. 🙂 Nice story.

    Liked by 1 person

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