One of the things I like about my work is the opportunity to speak to people from other countries. I often get to talk with folks from Europe like France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Despite the language barrier, I feel that most, if not all my conversations are likened to either a doorway to another world, or a simple mirror image of ourselves.

One may ask what it's like to speak to someone who lives on the other side of the world. One thing I can say about my experience is that we are more alike than different. For example, I enjoy having open discussions with people from Italy. They are never without anything to say and you can "hear" the passion in the sentences they make.

The French are a bit reserved when you meet them the first time, but once they get comfortable with you, they make you feel welcome every time you talk to them. One nice thing I learned is their love of taking walks in and around the city, or in a forest near their village. It makes me realize that simple pleasures are one of the best ways to let go after a tiring week in the office.

Germans are very punctual, they are always there when you call them, ready for the day's work. They also like to talk about every thing under the sun and sometimes a bit adventurous when it comes to picking places to have a telephone discussion. One colleague of mine surprised me when politely interrupted me because he had to shift gears. It turned out that the number he was using auto directs his calls to his cellphone and we were talking while he was driving along the Autobahn!

When I had my first conversation with a Spaniard, I had no idea how their telephone numbers were arranged much like the local cellphone numbers in my country. Since my native language uses a lot of Spanish words, there were times I could make sense of some the things my colleagues says in his native tongue. Like the Spanish, I too like hot cocoa, relaxing afternoons reading or just lounging around watching the everything around me move.

Thinking about what I just wrote made me think of how lucky I am to have this kind of work. I have always wanted to visit other countries, to see things I have only read in books or seen in television. By having these conversations, it gives me a glimpse of what it's like out there. But what about what I said earlier regarding mirrors images? Simple. We are all people looking for the same things in life: to earn an honest day's pay, have fun with friends, and come home to family.

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