A couple weeks ago I started a short two-credit course called La España franquista a través del cine y la literatura (Spain under Franco through film and literature). Last week we watched Bienvenidos Mr. Marshall, a 1953 Spanish comedy film about the arrival of the Americans under the Marshall Plan. There's one scene in which an American flag is thrown into a river, and the professor asked the class how that could be interpreted.
The Spaniards in the class weren't saying much, so the professor asked if there were any norteamericanos present. There were 4 of us in total, and we started giving our opinions. When Danielle and I explained that the flag holds a lot of significance for most Americans, and that when a flag touches the ground or is damaged, it has to be burned in a special ceremony.
The kids in the class were actually laughing and looking around like it was the most ridiculous thing they'd ever heard. Yeah, I know, us Americans go overboard with the whole soaring-eagle-red-white-and-blue thing, but respecting the flag is a part of our culture. It's not something to laugh at. I personally couldn't care less for "displays of patriotism," but I actually took offense to the class' reaction to this American custom.
Just my daily dose of culture shock, I suppose.