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Retiring Overseas Is A Cultural Experience

“Chère Kathleen, all your information is usually quite accurate. However, I have recently noticed a small mistake, in your story of your first trip to Europe many years ago. Icelandair was not flying to Frankfurt at the time you reference but to Luxembourg. It is true that they were offering a bus connection to either Paris or Frankfurt.

“Enjoy your last days in Paris and keep telling your fellow citizens that they have too many preset ideas about France. All the best.”

Alain C., France

Indeed… you are correct. Thank you for filling in a gap in my memory!

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“Kathleen, I have to respond to Andy D. who points out the lack of cultural sophistication in places like Nicaragua and Panama (relative to Dublin, Ireland, or Paris). Certainly the cultural sophistication of Dublin/Paris/Medellin/Montevideo/etc. is far different than the cultural sophistication of Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti, Thailand, or the Masai of East Africa. But, make no mistake, the culture is indeed there in almost every locale you can choose. If the sophistication of western education and arts is all you want to recognize, then forget about the millennia of rich and ancient cultures of the Thai and the Masai. Different, of course, but each equally as rich in its own right as anything the traditional West has to offer.

“If one really wants to appreciate the richness of the myriad of cultures in the world, one must put aside the biases of one’s own heritage and approach each new cultural experience with a clean slate and an open mind. Give your experiences enough time to be savored, not just a passing glance. Embrace that which pleases and/or intrigues you. Reject that which bores or displeases you. But evaluate each in its own right and don’t let your cultural biases get in the way. Though I realize that sometimes this is easier said than done!

“There is nothing wrong with not letting go of your cultural biases but please don’t look down on other cultures because you don’t or can’t understand them.”

George F., United States

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