Change This Habit

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

“Next, please.” called the receptionist.

I took our passports and put them on the reception desk.

“Good evening. Petrik. We have a reservation.”

Looking into the computer, the young receptionist quickly found our reservation and prepared the keys.

“I apologize for that,” he said, pointing to the large group of noisy guys from the First Nation. I looked back and took the keys with mixed feelings.

For those of you who don’t know, the “First Nation” is the term for original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada.

It was early summer of 2011, and we have just arrived at the hotel in Winnipeg on our way from Vancouver to Toronto. Our travels somehow attract the unexpected.

The noisy group behind us looked a bit dangerous. Some were OK, but some were acting too aggressive for a quiet four-start hotel lobby.

With my girlfriend, we took the lift to our room, exchanging surprised looks.

Will they stay at the same hotel? Is it safe to go out? We were tourists, obviously without knowledge of the local relations.

Having lived in many different places across three continents, I’m not the person who is putting people into some predefined boxes. But this time, I was concerned.

The strange thing was that I started to judge those people straight away. “They shouldn’t behave like that.” “This is really out of limits.” I was judging them based on “our” standards. Based on “my standards.”

The night was quiet. During breakfast, we talked about what happened. But this time on a different wave. Perhaps their behavior had some reason. Something happened to them that caused the “unacceptable” behavior in the lobby.

Over the next two weeks, we’ve visited local sites and museums and started to understand. How other nations gradually took their land. How their original culture changed under “western” influence.

It’s not my intention to judge history. All I want to say is that the 200 years of cultural changes defined their noisy, aggressive behavior. Knowing about the past changed my view on that evening in the hotel lobby.

This experience helped me to start to perceive the bigger picture of the things around me. The world is so complicated. Making correct judgment on the first time is unlikely. Yet, we like to jump to a conclusion straight away.

-Slavo

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