Anything that can be learned by a normal American adult on a trip to a foreign country (of less than one year’s duration) can be learned more quickly, cheaply, and easily by visiting the San Diego Public Library.

Simon’s Travel Theorem, As read in the preface to The Halo Effect. A bit more here too, including the vital “I’m not trying to be a dick” defense.

It’s a lovely feeling, to be helped along in a task like that, by someone expert in something you might know only a little about.

As long as you don’t get yelled at, you can just let yourself be borne along by the experience. It’s similar to one of my most favourite things in life: to listen to a practiced expert explain process, or take me through their work. And of course the real experts don’t think of themselves as experts, or even describe themselves as that. They certainly don’t sit someone like me down and think “I’ve got to teach this fellow something.” I just sit there and smile and nod and try to keep up. People who give like this are absolute jewels. Absolute jewels. And you definitely don’t know who you are. That’s just how it works.