sneezing

Long ago, I worked in a large lab that was divided into several small rooms. For part of that time, I shared one of the small rooms with a graduate student from Taiwan. She was a wonderful person who taught me that many cultural norms are not normal in other cultures. One moment stands out. She sneezed. "Gesundheit" I replied. She stared at me, clearly puzzled. "What?" "You know, it's a word we say when people sneeze. It keeps demons from running up your nose" If she looked puzzled before, now, she was clearly alarmed. I could see her sneaking ... Read more

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