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  #1  
Old 04-13-2012, 05:40 PM
Imago Imago is offline
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What's the polite reply to "You live in a beautiful country"?

Alright. So this is the most common conversation-opener people use with me online, particularly on writer's websites where it is common to have your nationality included in your profile. Being Canadian, that it's considered geographically pretty seems to be the only thing the average person outside Canada even knows about it, but I don't really mind that. Thing is: I have no clue how to respond to it!

Generally if it's coming from an American I say, "And yours makes damn good whiskey." Considering the politics of the day and my love of whiskey, it's really the only honest compliment I can give. My general philosophy overall is to counter a compliment with a compliment- is this what I should be doing?

That line, of course, is out of the question when talking to former alcoholics- the last American ex-drinker who told me I live in a beautiful country, I resorted to saying "Thank you" instead, which makes me cringe because it sounds like I'm taking credit for putting all those lovely mountains and trees and lakes and such where they are. Lol.

Because these are fellow writers, when it comes from a British person I will usually say something about a British writer they're likely to like (I infer their tastes based on age and their own writing). i.e. "Yeah, but you've got [insert author here]". I can't do that with Americans because I can't stand most great American literature, not even Hemingway- I'd be quickly called out on my bullcrap if I said otherwise.

And that's only the US and England... I got the exact same compliment from a Swedish woman a while back and had to fall back on the dreaded "Thank you" again. It killed the conversation, which sucks, because that one was on a dating website!
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2012, 05:53 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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"Thanks!"

If more is needed, take some credit for it. "We work hard to keep it that way."
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2012, 05:55 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is offline
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Really?

Just throw back an empty, meaningless compliment about their country and be done with it.

"Yours has nice fjords."

Done.

Last edited by Leaffan; 04-13-2012 at 05:55 PM..
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2012, 05:56 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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American: "Thanks."

Canadian: "Thank you."
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2012, 05:57 PM
Moonlitherial Moonlitherial is online now
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Thank you, we love it too (if you're so inclined)
or
Thank you but I'd move to yours in a heart beat (if you're otherwise inclined)
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2012, 06:01 PM
Sudden Kestrel Sudden Kestrel is offline
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Well, you could always try slipping in some stealth insults, but you might not get the response you're hoping for.

I can't say I've ever had anybody say to me, "You live in a beautiful [whatever]," even though I do live in a beautiful region (in a beautiful state and in a beautiful country), so I'm thinking your friends are a little strange. Still, in the interest of being polite, why don't you just say, "Yes, I really enjoy living here," then follow it up with a question about the person's own residence or personal experience.
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2012, 06:03 PM
The Devil's Grandmother The Devil's Grandmother is offline
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Originally Posted by Imago View Post
Generally if it's coming from an American I say, "And yours makes damn good whiskey."
Mmmmm, whiskey...... Were we talking about something?

When I get that compliment, I tend to say "I'm very fortunate" and change the subject.
If I were on a dating site, I'd say "I can't wait to show it to you!", or "Yes, and the best part is the skiing/surfing/local music scene/cute woodland creatures/really big trees/whatever".
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  #8  
Old 04-13-2012, 06:07 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
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"Get off my lawn!"
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2012, 06:14 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imago View Post
My general philosophy overall is to counter a compliment with a compliment- is this what I should be doing?

That line, of course, is out of the question when talking to former alcoholics- the last American ex-drinker who told me I live in a beautiful country, I resorted to saying "Thank you" instead, which makes me cringe because it sounds like I'm taking credit for putting all those lovely mountains and trees and lakes and such where they are. Lol.
The appropriate response to a compliment is "Thank you." You are not taking credit for the beauty of the country, you are thanking the person for complimenting it. This applies to all compliments -- they do not need to be deflected, or replied to with another compliment, as if it's some kind of contest.

If you want to keep the conversation going, you can add whatever personal reflection you like, "Thank you, I enjoy visiting [a particularly beautiful spot in your country]," or "Thank you, we've had [nice] [terrible] weather lately. You could also try, "Thank you, have you visited?" or "Thank you, is there any particular place you would like to visit?"

I'm a little confused, though. If you feel the need to compliment the U.S., why not go with, "Your country is also very beautiful"? Whatever you think of the U.S., it has some stunning natural beauty.

Last edited by SpoilerVirgin; 04-13-2012 at 06:14 PM..
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2012, 08:28 PM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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"Fucken oath!" is the standard reply here..
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  #11  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:14 PM
Lubricious Integument Lubricious Integument is offline
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"Fuck you!"

"I beg your pardon?"

"That's Canadian for 'Thanks!'"

"I didn't know that."

"Well now you do."

"OK. Fuck you."

"Fuck you too."

"I beg your pardon?"

"That's Canadian for 'You're Welcome'".

"???"
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  #12  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:19 PM
chacoguy chacoguy is offline
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"Most folks don't even know about the really good stuff".
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  #13  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:31 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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"Yep, that's why we stole it from the Indians!"
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  #14  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:36 PM
Girl From Mars Girl From Mars is offline
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Yes, I love it here. Or similar.
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  #15  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:02 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin View Post
American: "Thanks."

Canadian: "Thank you."
Doggone Canadians; they talk our language funny!
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  #16  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:08 PM
lavenderviolet lavenderviolet is offline
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Being Canadian, that it's considered geographically pretty seems to be the only thing the average person outside Canada even knows about it
Nobody else is going to say it, so I will: When the majority of Americans picture Canada, what they actually picture is a hockey-obsessed nation that is mostly (though granted not exclusively) a bitterly cold wasteland and has punished the world with the likes of Nickelback, Jim Carrey, and (of course) Justin Bieber.
In other words, there is an excellent chance that most of the people saying you have a lovely country are just saying it to be nice. It's okay for you to respond with "Why thank you. You have a lovely country too" even if the person you are talking to is (somehow) in North Korea.
I would say that "Lovely country" comments fall in the same realm of social niceties as answering "How are you?" with "I'm fine" (because it is understood that nobody actually wants to hear the truth about how you're doing when they say that) or gushing over some new parent's ugly baby instead of pointing out to them the truth of their child's hideousness.

(I hope it is clear that I am kidding around with the Canada bashing and don't actually have any sort of grudge against Canada. I have actually been there a few times since I spent most of my life living near the border.)

Last edited by lavenderviolet; 04-13-2012 at 10:09 PM..
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  #17  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:10 PM
Count Blucher Count Blucher is offline
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I'm not Canadian, so I'm sure this will sound 1950s & phony... but...


"...its 'cause its Canada! Beauty...!"

*gotta be said with Feeling & Pride, not snark*
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  #18  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:12 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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I would just say, "Thank you, I love living here." Or, just "thank you." I may reciprocate a compliment if I really want to do that, but it's not necessary and if it was a forum where others could see multiple replies over time, I would think someone who always deflected compliments was a little weird.
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  #19  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:25 PM
MichaelEmouse MichaelEmouse is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavenderviolet View Post
Nobody else is going to say it, so I will: When the majority of Americans picture Canada, what they actually picture is a hockey-obsessed nation that is mostly (though granted not exclusively) a bitterly cold wasteland and has punished the world with the likes of Nickelback, Jim Carrey, and (of course) Justin Bieber.
You forgot this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmbw8OycJrE



So woeful that people have such bad examples in mind when they think of Canada. But it's encouraging to know that there are people working to give an accurate representation of Canadians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsgVspgy184




As GirlyColor says, it's a conversation starter/compliment, not much different than "I like your shoes". I'd respond with this:

http://www.wallpapersland.net/wp-con...-landscape.jpg

http://www.allpics4u.com/www/slike/n...andscape18.jpg

http://www.v3wall.com/wallpaper/1366...3403401992.jpg

and then make a positive comment about their country.
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  #20  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:08 AM
Isamu Isamu is offline
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Yea-ah! Sudbury 2012 represent! Is the correct answer.
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  #21  
Old 04-14-2012, 12:22 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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Yours is very attractive too.
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  #22  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:56 AM
EddyTeddyFreddy EddyTeddyFreddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post
So woeful that people have such bad examples in mind when they think of Canada. But it's encouraging to know that there are people working to give an accurate representation of Canadians: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsgVspgy184
Like the fact that Canadians are just so gosh-darn nice.

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  #23  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:09 AM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
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"I...I thought you loved Canada for its brains? Oh, that's so objectifying!" burst into tears, run from room
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  #24  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:43 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavenderviolet View Post
Nobody else is going to say it, so I will: When the majority of Americans picture Canada, what they actually picture is a hockey-obsessed nation that is mostly (though granted not exclusively) a bitterly cold wasteland and has punished the world with the likes of Nickelback, Jim Carrey, and (of course) Justin Bieber.
I had no idea those were Canadian. See, in Spain we tend to assume that anybody who is white and who as far as we know speaks only English is American, we assume that movies "in English in the original" are, too. We pile up people from a bunch of countries into "Dominican" or from a different bunch into "Ecuadorian" unless we happen to have better data; Australians, Canadians and Brits are always at risk of being mis-filed under "American".

I'm happy to get people who exclaim "flah! men! cou! olé!" and refrain from following up with a request to teach them how to dance sevillanas or who don't jump directly into independentist politics My response to most references is "yes, that place"; if that isn't appropriate and I've visited their own country I answer with something I liked about it.

Last edited by Nava; 04-14-2012 at 03:44 AM..
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  #25  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:10 AM
shantih shantih is offline
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"Thank you, I'm very fond of it, too." And then go on to say something complimentary about their own corner of the world.
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  #26  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:32 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
I had no idea those were Canadian. See, in Spain we tend to assume that anybody who is white and who as far as we know speaks only English is American, we assume that movies "in English in the original" are, too. We pile up people from a bunch of countries into "Dominican" or from a different bunch into "Ecuadorian" unless we happen to have better data; Australians, Canadians and Brits are always at risk of being mis-filed under "American".
Americans tend to have a sharp eye out for foreigners but Canada is a special case. It is really difficult for us to tell the difference in many cases too. Australians and Brits are easy to spot but many Canadians are not. That is why I say Canadians are the biggest threat to U.S. national security out of group. Canadian spies could be all around and we would never know until they start getting all of the hockey questions right in a trivia contest.

It is a pretty country though. Cold but beautiful.
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  #27  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:04 AM
Ken001 Ken001 is offline
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Yeah? You think you have a beautiful country? Wait'll you see New Zealand.

In the meantime see below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast View Post
"Fucken oath!" is the standard reply here..
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  #28  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:29 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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I'd say something mildly humble like, "Thank you - parts of it are, yes." Then return the compliment in kind if you've been to their country, or say that you've heard there are pretty parts if you haven't. (Just about every country has some pretty parts.) Or say something else nice. You indicate you're a writer - it shouldn't be that difficult!
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  #29  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:35 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpoilerVirgin View Post
I'm a little confused, though. If you feel the need to compliment the U.S., why not go with, "Your country is also very beautiful"? Whatever you think of the U.S., it has some stunning natural beauty.
Also, this. If saying we have nice whiskey is the only "honest compliment" you can come up with about the US, it indicates either an incredibly closed mind, or an amazing ignorance for someone who lives so nearby.
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  #30  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:41 AM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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"thanks. It was like that when I got there."
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  #31  
Old 04-14-2012, 07:47 AM
6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast 6ImpossibleThingsB4Breakfast is offline
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It's a brilliantly honest compliment if you slur it and hiccup, Rodgers01.
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  #32  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:24 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Thanks! You shoulda seen it before all the (ethnicgroup) got here.
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  #33  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:48 AM
SDMBKL SDMBKL is offline
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The correct reply is...

Thank you.

"Thanks" would work too.
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  #34  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:53 AM
gracer gracer is offline
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How about: "Aw, thanks, but you know: the grass is always greener! I love [specific thing about their country, eg whiskey/palm beaches/hot weather/wind mills/the eiffel tower]."

ETA: There is always something to say about a country. The south of the US is nice and warm (I hear). Say they got the better climate if you really can't think of anything else.

Last edited by gracer; 04-14-2012 at 08:55 AM..
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  #35  
Old 04-14-2012, 09:37 AM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
Thanks! You shoulda seen it before all the (ethnicgroup) got here.
Ouch. I can imagine some pricks here saying shit like that.
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  #36  
Old 04-14-2012, 11:23 AM
Imago Imago is offline
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So seems like it's just social paranoia that makes me think "Thank you" is icky.

Making a giant mountain of evil out of a piece of spat-out gum on the sidewalk. How Canadian of me.
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  #37  
Old 04-14-2012, 11:50 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
"Yep, that's why we stole it from the Indians!"
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  #38  
Old 04-14-2012, 11:56 AM
Zulema Zulema is offline
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I live in a very beautiful paert of my state so when people hear that I live here they always say "That's a very beautiful area". I've never taken it as a compliment, it's a comment on where I live. I say "Yes, it really is". Saying "Thank you" would seem weird to me.

If someone said your friend was pretty would you say "thank you" or would you say "yes she is"?

Last edited by Zulema; 04-14-2012 at 11:57 AM..
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  #39  
Old 04-14-2012, 01:57 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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It doesn't particularly make sense, but it's one of those things that most people say anyway. It's like when someone says my boyfriend is cute or something, I say thanks. But it's not like I made him myself in a lab or something.
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  #40  
Old 04-14-2012, 02:27 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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"Your country is so beautiful I want to take it behind the middle school bathroom and get it pregnant."
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  #41  
Old 04-14-2012, 03:46 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavenderviolet View Post
Nobody else is going to say it, so I will: When the majority of Americans picture Canada, what they actually picture is a hockey-obsessed nation that is mostly (though granted not exclusively) a bitterly cold wasteland . . .
I've never visited, but I am a life-long reader of National Geographic. Does that count for *anything* in terms of an education?

(Favorite anecdote: a group of Yanks are on a tour through Belgium. The train comes round a corner, and there is a meadow with cattle grazing. One Yank, in a California accent, cries out, "Oh my God! Cows!")
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  #42  
Old 04-14-2012, 06:41 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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"Thanks. And it's all natural. Not like America that's had some "work" done."
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  #43  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:21 PM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
Americans tend to have a sharp eye out for foreigners but Canada is a special case. It is really difficult for us to tell the difference in many cases too. Australians and Brits are easy to spot but many Canadians are not...
They're easy to spot around here... they're the ones with a maple leaf sewn on their backpacks. Well, they're either Canadian or Americans-in-disguise.
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  #44  
Old 04-17-2012, 09:26 PM
ToeJam ToeJam is offline
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"Thanks!"

Pretty much what I say 100% of the time. Let's read what I SHOULD be saying instead....
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  #45  
Old 04-17-2012, 10:13 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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I get "state" from people from away more than "country" but I just tell them thank you. And to watch out for the moose, who gun for motorists in a sort of sad pyrrhic victory*. Next time they tell me how pretty the trees are in autumn I'm going to point several out and claim I planted them as is our state duty.



* I've also claimed we hunt by mooseback (see 1/28 here)
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  #46  
Old 04-18-2012, 05:18 AM
Shade Shade is offline
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As someone said, I expect people are just looking for something polite to say, and probably don't have anything interesting to say ABOUT natural beauty. I'd say "thanks" and look for a polite way to continue the conversation. Throw out another conversation starter. Or ask if they've ever been there: at least that'll start a conversation about travel, whcih may lead to something more interesting.
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  #47  
Old 04-18-2012, 05:21 AM
sandra_nz sandra_nz is offline
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I'd like a good answer for, 'You're a fucking idiot for leaving New Zealand to live here'. Actual thing said to me by a British person.

I get this a lot, although it's usually a bit less agressively worded.

Funnily enough, when I ask them how long they lived in New Zealand, none of them have actually so much as visited the country...
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  #48  
Old 04-18-2012, 05:54 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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Originally Posted by sandra_nz View Post
I'd like a good answer for, 'You're a fucking idiot for leaving New Zealand to live here'. Actual thing said to me by a British person.
I was asked how could I leave Spain for Miami. My answer "lady, they paid me to come!"
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  #49  
Old 04-20-2012, 03:48 AM
Killswitch Stunner Killswitch Stunner is offline
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Odd thing to say on a dating site. Seems she would ask a personal question about you whether than kissing ass about your country. Maybe she got her last boyfriend by bragging about his homeland, who knows.
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  #50  
Old 04-20-2012, 05:01 AM
Cheesesteak Cheesesteak is online now
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What a beautiful country you live in.... be a shame if somethin' happened to it.
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