While it’s not an easy time to be living in the United States, as our country appears to be falling apart, being an American abroad presents its own unique set of challenges. Here are five crucial phrases you might want to memorize if you find yourself traveling south of the border:
1. Soy de los Estados Unidos. (I am from the United States)
Own up to it. Don’t be a wimp and pretend to be Canadian to sidestep the negative stereotypes associated with Americans. Do your part to improve our reputation.
2. Tengo mucho miedo, y tengo mucha vergüenza. No se porque Donald Trump tiene tanto éxito. (I’m very scared and I’m very ashamed. I don’t know why Donald Trump is so successful.)
Every acquaintance, Uber driver, and storeowner will ask you about Donald Trump once they find out you are American. But fear not, it is almost always out of curiosity and never accusatory. Once they find out you are just as terrified and baffled as they are, that is. Pleasant responses not guaranteed if you are actually a Trump supporter, in which case, well, that's your own damn fault for going to Mexico.
3. El feminismo es la teoría de la igualdad política, económica y social de los sexos. (Feminism is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.)
The patriarchy is alive and well all over the world. There’s never a bad time to get out of your elite bubble of liberal feminist friends and start a dialogue.
4. Si, hablo español. (Yes, I speak Spanish)
People assume that Americans have deficient foreign language skills, so they will be impressed by even the broken Spanish of a gringa like yourself. Here is your chance to wow them! Although most people have learned some level of English in school, you should still do your part to try and speak Spanish. When traveling you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of being the only person in a hostel full of multilingual Europeans that only speaks one language.
5. Has oído del Brexit? (How about the Brexit?)
If worse comes to worst you can always change the subject. Luckily the U.K. briefly stole the spotlight of supposedly civilized societies making irresponsible political decisions. Thanks, Mother England!