Arrive. Feel incredibly inadequate all of a sudden — one never realizes how much of their confidence is based on familiarity with their surroundings until they are thrust into a place where they recognize nothing. Everyone seems to dress better, to talk faster, and to make you feel as though you are a child who has suddenly been allowed entrance to the grown-up table at Thanksgiving. Everything you do seems to be a faux pas, a way of revealing yourself as the new kid in town, the tourist. You discreetly check maps and ask for help, not wanting to seem as lost as you are.
And everything is foreign. The signs don’t make sense, the public transportation seems designed to throw you off, and no one is friendly. The locals seem to have this calculated cool, a certain kind of immunity to the frenetic pace of their city, to the…
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