Monday, December 25, 2006


I was recently in a training intended for Expats to help them settle more into the Polish culture and although it wasn't really part of the training when the instructor asked if anyone has any questions, I asked the following:

Based on my little experience with the Polish Culture I can confidently say that if I go out now and ask 10 random ppl, 10 different questions, 8 of them will start their reply with "it depends". Do you agree?

There was an awkward 5 seconds of silence, only then that I realized that my question -although VERY valid and positioned as more of a funny comment- might be taken as offensive! I was finally relieved when the instructor -she's Polish- started her answer by an agreeing laugh! Only then did I realize that not only was not misunderstood but also I was onto SOMETHING!

Here's why I find this behavior, which I call Itdependence (pronounce it like Independence, then replace the 'n' with 't'), very strange for me. In Egypt if you ask ANYONE about ANYTHING they'd have an opinion. Although this is not necessarily a good thing because sometimes ppl just have an opinion based on little or no data at all, But what I like about non-Itdependence is that it usually results in shorter conversations and I like that.

Let me give you a hypothetical example. You ask someone if renting cars here is expensive, if the person suffers from Itdependence, you're probably going to get a lecture on how smaller cars are less expensive than bigger ones.... oh and local car rental companies will be less expensive...and if you .....bla bla bla.

Ask the same question to someone who doesn't suffer from Itdependence and you're gonna get a straight answer: Yeah, but try this company or that .. they usually have good deals. Problem solved!

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