As you already know, I have extensively traveled. I was born in France where I had many American friends during my teenage years. I remember that these Americans found that France a little archaic to their taste. Then, my wife and I took our children and went to live in SE Asia. Whether it was in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh or Thailand, France still seemed a lot more advanced that these countries.
When I arrived in the US in 1995 I heard so many people complaining about this and that. The wait for the transport was too long. The food wasn’t exactly as they had ordered. The line was too long. The seats were uncomfortable. There was not enough ice in the drink. After coming from developing countries, it was hard to understand the complaints of these people. How could they?
In my interpreting job I often have to interpret for refugees or people who come developing Asian or African countries. Lately, I was interpreting for an Algerian lady who was coming in for cataract surgery. She was commenting to me how in the hospital, nurses always came to ask her if she was hot, cold, thirsty, comfortable? They brought her blankets and pillows so she would feel at ease. The doctor always made sure she knew what he was doing, all things that we here are very used to and even take for granted. At one point the lady looked at me and said, "This is so nice; I'm totally pampered . I'm really not used to that." In the end, she felt it was too much and told the doctor to just do what he needed to do; that he didn’t have to ask her.
Today I also interpreted for an Israeli woman. When we talked she complained, "This is crazy what they do here. We're not used to all this fuss!”
These two foreigners had a different complaint. Their complaint was not about what was wrong with things, but rather about how good they were taken care of. As a person, a company, or a country, if all people can find to complain about us is how well we care for them, it’s a good thing.
If you appreciate these articles, support their upcoming publication in a book called, "REFLECTIONS OF A FIRE CHAPLAIN"