I guess that I don’t look all that American to Americans. On my second day here in Abu Dhabi I was waiting in the lobby of my residence building with a couple dozen teachers who are in my program. I wasn’t feeling particularly social, so I sat alone on the side of the lobby. Regardless, the lobby was densely packed and one couldn’t avoid being more than a couple feet away from another person. I think anyone who entered and observed the language and demeanor of the people would assume that all in the lobby were part of the same group: Americans.
At this point, I’ve previously spoken to a few of my new colleagues, but I hadn’t met everyone. As I sat there, a group of four women in the program stepped out of the elevator and began making their rounds greeting all the teachers in the lobby. Interestingly, I was excluded from these kind formalities.