It's taken me a few years to adjust to certain expressions and body gestures, but slowly I'm becoming indistinguishable from the locals.

For instance, I've learned that when someone says "Thank you" the correct response is not, "You're welcome" but rather... "Uh huh."

I'd defy anyone to recognize my foreign status when I say good-bye on the telephone. My former "Good-bye" has now been replaced by the more familiar "nnnnnnnBye." I've learned that you have to sort of slide into the Bye with a sort of "nnnn" sound.

So, having mastered the local verbal expressions I'm currently working on what I term the Northwest nod. Here's how it's done.

When two people are talking, the person who is listening can show either involvement in the conversation or agreement with the speaker if he continually nods. Now ... the nodding has to be done in an almost rocking back and forth motion. It sends a message to the person talking that his listener is right there with him. It sort of bonds the two (I guess). I think I'll try this on Lin tonight, when she tells me something about her day.


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