During a conference call with a design firm in Florida yesterday, I was suddenly reminded of how isolated the US, even small US companies, can be. Where Spain is exactly, how one dials all those numbers, what time of day it might be in Spain....all raging mysteries in Florida yesterday.
Made me think of this, which I'd meant to post a while back:
When I faxed a wire request to a broker in the US during my money-moving, form-filing residency process, I was surprised to receive a live call from the brokerage just a few minutes later. The woman on the other end of the line told me she needed to ask me a few questions, this being an international transaction. I agreed and we started in. Once we had settled that the currency I wanted was euros, E-U-R-O, not euro-dollars, and that yes, in fact, it was the official currency of I don't know how many countries, including Spain, she got a little personal.
"I have to tell you I was thrilled to be able to call you myself", she told me.
"I couldn't help but notice that you and I were born in the same year, and you live in Spain and I've always wanted to visit Spain. And then I saw the address of your bank: on Calle Zamora. My last name is Zamora!"
"Well, that sounds like a good Spanish name", I countered.
"Really?" she asked me. "I've always been told our family came from Mexico."
I'd stop there, but I can't because when I heard her heartfelt confusion, I tried to help.
"Well the family might have moved to the US from Mexico, Anna, but the name came from Spain."
"Really? Do you think so? Because I've always heard we're Mexican."
I gave up and thanked her for the wire transfer.
Oh dear. Do we really not teach even Mexican Americans the history of that continent we're sitting on?