"There's really no way of knowing."

This has become my motto. It's probably the most useful phrase in life right now.

What's for dinner? Why is the Eiffel Tower shimmering so intensely? Is that a man or a woman? How do you say "Where's the toilet?" in German?

A shrug, a grin, a flippant "There's really no way of knowing," and virtually any trivial question can be avoided. Its utilitarian beauty is in the lack of personal responsibility. It's not that I don't know something when I ought to know it; this phrase absolves me of all discomfort over my confusion. Not that that's any excuse, but...

In the past three months, I've been in Italy, France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, England, and these United States. Languages, ideas about cultural norms, and travel details swim randomly through my mind.

Grazie! De rien. Pas de problem. Ausgang? Oui. Oh! Vietato ingresso. Si. Comprendo. Prossima fermata! Merci!

How do you say...?

There's really no way of knowing.