Well, since my last post several of my friends have made the point to tell me that they think I am indeed exotic. *sigh!* I guess I’ll never win. ;p This puts me at the same level as peach-pomegranate-raisin-acorn-pineapple-wheat yogurt.
For the Germans I’ve met, some of this exoticness comes from my hometown: Florida. Although their reaction is “cool” when I say I’m from America, they are far more excited by the fact that I come from the land of Disney. Many have heard of Orlando because of the theme parks, and those who don’t know Orlando know exactly what I mean when I say “You know, Disney World?”
I used to think Florida was like any other state, just with theme parks. Now I know that Florida is like any other state, BUT THERE’S THEME PARKS! It’s fun trying to explain to people that Disney World is actually four parks in one, or that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a section of Universal, or that I worked at SeaWorld. Once in a while, an ad will pop up on the internet offering a cheap vacation to Orlando, and I double-take.
Once in a while I’ll meet people who know more about Florida than just the rides. They’ll ask about all the beaches (particularly the girls who like to go tanning ask about this one) and how close they are. Someone asked once if it was true that alligators will walk into people’s homes (yes, but it’s not that common). The same person also knew about Ponce De Leon and his search for the Fountain of Youth (major props to him for his trivia knowledge!), and I tried to explain how we also have tons of springs, and each spring claims to be the fountain of youth. I’m not sure if he got it.
Also, explaining manatees is really hard to do in German. “It looks like a seal, but it’s really, really fat. And it swims into the springs when the ocean turns cold in the winter. It eats a lot of cabbage and doesn’t do anything. They’re just really silly!”
People are also really surprised about how warm Florida is. During a refreshing day here, I’ll usually be all bundled up and possible shivering. People ask me if I’m cold, and I tell them that this feels like winter in Florida. They can’t believe it!
Lastly, I’ve seen Mickey Mouse over and over again in Germany. I can’t escape him, it seems. The Disney Orlando attractions (and maybe the California ones too?) have “hidden Mickeys” all around the parks, and it’s fun trying to find all the different mouse ears lurking in the rides or buildings. In fact, there are “hidden” Mickeys all over my post! I’m sure I’ve seen more than just three here in Germany, but this gives you a taste of how surprisingly common they are here.