Cross-Cultural Awareness (2): Not Personal

If you come across something unpleasant in a foreign country, stop yourself from taking it personal (though the incident happened to you at a personal level).
A similar incident may happen to most foreigners in that country (not that it would make you feel better). Often time, it may be a matter of miscommunication due to the differences in culture and language.
A few weeks ago, I was in a supermarket in Paris and I lined up on a checkout line in a civilized manner. The cashier starred at me for some reason before it was my turn (well – I am no stranger to being starred, so I did not pick up the hint) and at some point she shouted at me to get off the queue. I got her point that I should not be in that line but I did not know why (Let us say I was “traumatized” as being shouted as it is a stranger to me :>). I departed from the queue promptly and reminded myself not to take it personal. “Out of the blue” (really!) the sign of a line designated for pregnant women and the elderly floated (figuratively) up in the front of me and voila – I was in the wrong being distracted by sales items (still did not make the cashier right to shout me, but at least she did not classify me as an elderly).