Today was a bad day in terms of my foreign relations. Prior to leaving the States, it seemed impossible to have a conversation regarding Europe with anyone without being subjected to repeated warnings to ´be safe´. Receiving this advice hundreds of times, coupled with additional 1st- and 2nd-hand accounts of people being mugged, robbed or taken advantage of, has left me on heightened alert the entire time I´ve been in Europe (of course, this annoys/amuses David to no end).
Today, I was walking back to the hostel in the middle of the day and was approached by a group of gradeschool children. One of them had a folder open and started to ask me a question about a paper in the folder; instinctively I tensed up and turned away from them, saying, "no, no gracías" and made my way to the door.
The second I was inside, I quickly realized how ridiculous I was being and that these innocent kids were in no way going to harm me. This, of course, left me feeling like quite a jackass given that I blew a perfect opportunity to talk to and interact with some of the local residents. Further, they probably now have the impression that Americans are rude and neurotic.