Am I A TEFL Weirdo? Things I Do That Make Me Stick Out

I’ve posted about TEFLers being weird (or not) in general, and about TEFL co-workers as possible weirdos too…but what about me? As promised, Am I a weirdo? Things I do that make me stick out, generally in the context of Eastern Europe, to begin with.

1. Buying second hand clothes enthusiastically, and telling everyone about the great deals I’ve found. Previously owned attire, in much of Eastern Europe, has yet to achieve the status of “vintage” and as such is not “cool.” Fortunately, I’m 27 and not 17 (usually), and am mostly over the concern with whether or not people think I’m cool. Come on, a wool coat with a fake fur collar that makes me look Russian for $20? What’s not to love?

2. Going jogging (at all).

3. Going jogging at odd times of day.

4. Sporting gym shoes for the hike to work and then changing once there. This is a particularly urban American one, I think, and I don’t do it anymore, now that I have found shoes which are both cute-looking and comfortable.

5. Eating while walking down the street. Sometimes I’m hungry and I’m on my way to work or somewhere else; I’m not about to go to a restaurant. I try to be discreet, but even discreet street-eaters are rare.

6. Refusing plastic bags. Shopkeepers are often intent on dispensing them, even when they clearly know I don’t want them. In fact sometimes I think they derive joy from throwing my meager purchases into their plastic bag before I can snatch them up in my reusable Humane Society bag.

7. Speaking loudly, when with compatriots. I’m generally a quiet person, in the literal and more figurative sense, despite being a teacher. But when I’m with other Americans, I’m amazed at how loud we get.

A few more I don’t do but which would make you stick out:

8. Wearing shorts. It’s not totally inappropriate or anything, but it’s just not done very often, especially for women.

9. Wearing an oversized t-shirt outside your home, again, especially for women. The Gap’s “favorite tee” style is okay, but that oversized deal that often has a college or sports team logo is for the guys, or for a night in.

Finally, this makes me weird at home:

10. There are celebrities I just don’t know, and popular shows I’ve never seen. I still haven’t ever watched American Idol – this I’m okay with, as having caught Eurovision 2004 mostly makes up for it – but I saw, for the first time this weekend…Lost (and I think they are on to something, this is good stuff!). I’m also not totally convinced that I could identify Justin Timberlake in a lineup. It seems that being abroad makes it easier to get out of the loop with pop culture, though this could just be me. It took me near 20 years to get around to the original Star Wars Trilogy, and really, that was only under duress; throw a slightly different mix of people into my life and I would probably still be Star Wars-less.

At any rate, these are my own personal “weirdo” habits – I guess they don’t really make me an eccentric, but they do make me stick out a bit. I’m sure others have better ones – so let me know with a comment!