Smiling for all the wrong reasons

When moving abroad, you quickly notice some differences in how people interact from strangers to family. In my case, I noticed that I was the only person smiling at strangers on the street in Tampere, Finland, whereas I’d never even questioned why everyone smiled at each other in Canada. I made a decision in 2010 to change my ways and adapt, but a couple weeks ago, I decided to revisit that decision from a new perspective.


And now I want to get the convo started. I’ve just changed the comments section of my website to make it easier for you guys to post comments and have a conversation, not just with me but with each other. So tell us: have you had this issue with eye contact or smiling in other cultures? What did you do? Has your approach changed throughout the years? Did you find a way to mesh your personality into the local culture, or are you still figuring it out?

[Tweet “Cultural missteps abroad? Share yours and join the convo at via @irinapravet”]

Can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say! And once again, happy Canada day!

smiling for the wrong reasons screenshot


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Hi! I’m Irina.

I’m a multibelonger to Finland, Canada and Romania, without ONE language or culture to call my own – I have several. My intention is to be present where I am and find inner peace and harmony where ever life takes me. I’m embracing the gems of the ongoing cultural and linguistic transition which is my life and hope to inspire others interested in doing the same. Click here to find out more!