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Thread: Traveling across the pond...

  1. #1
    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Traveling across the pond...

    We've seen the results from the 'Ignorance and Arrogance in Americans and Europeans' - threads. We now know what we think of each other. A question by Don Corleone inspired me to make this thread.

    When and where were your opinions on the other formed?
    And were your opinions changed or confirmed by any travels across the pond?

    Were Americans really the dumb, arrogant fools you thought they were?
    Did the French turn out to be the nasty, despicably chauvinistic creatures you took them for?
    Did the English finally seemed to have gained access to modern dentistry?
    Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant
    Texan by birth, woodpecker by the grace of God
    I would be the voice of your conscience if you had one - Brenus
    Bt why woulf we uy lsn'y Staraft - Fragony
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    Member Member Azi Tohak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis IV the Fat
    We've seen the results from the 'Ignorance and Arrogance in Americans and Europeans' - threads. We now know what we think of each other. A question by Don Corleone inspired me to make this thread.

    When and where were your opinions on the other formed?
    And were your opinions changed or confirmed by any travels across the pond?

    1. Were Americans really the dumb, arrogant fools you thought they were?
    2. Did the French turn out to be the nasty, despicably chauvinistic creatures you took them for?
    3. Did the English finally seemed to have gained access to modern dentistry?
    Well... I still don't have an opinion on the actual people (not politician slime) for the nations of Europe. I've met some nice ones, and I've met some real donkeys.

    To answer your questions:
    1. Yes. Unequivocally. The Americans I met in Australia made me want to smack every single @#*$@( one of them. But then…I did not meet one from the Midwest. More people from New Jersey than I care to remember, a couple of Californians…and those were the biggest states I can remember there. But I met people from New York, Georgia, N and S Carolina, Utah…that is all I can remember right here.
    2. Nope. I like the (few) French people I know. One of the Post-Docs I work with extensively is a French Moslem. Cool guy.
    3. …And I’ll plead the 5th.
    4. (You left out Germany. The Germans I’ve met all have rods up their…well… you know… but that is probably because they are all academic. And I still haven’t met one who looks like me. The Aryan master race. [Maybe there aren’t any in Germany?])

    Azi
    "If you don't want to work, become a reporter. That awful power, the public opinion of the nation, was created by a horde of self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditch digging and shoemaking and fetched up journalism on their way to the poorhouse."
    Mark Twain 1881

  3. #3
    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Traveling across the pond...

    I've been to the USA 9 or 10 times. From short trips to New York City to extensive stays in Florida. I must've spend close to a year of my life in America.

    I remember the first time I went there. I was just a little kid and my parents told me we were going to America for our summer holiday's. Naive Louis jumped up and down with joy: 'Yeah! I'm going to see real cowboys and Indians! Just like in the movies!' Only to be terrible dissapointed when my parents couldn't help themselves and bursted out laughing. Another childhood dream shattered. Though the trip to Disney World more than made up for it.

    Later on, I went to see Florida several times, New York, New Jersey, California, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina.

    For all we know, Don Corleone and Louis may have met face to face...

    I can't for the life of me remember what the place was called, but my sister was an exchange student for a year in some small town near Raleigh, NC. I visited her twice for like two weeks at a time. I was shown around all over the state. From her school to Myrtle beach. I was introduced to all her friends. Including this girlfriend of her's who apparently had had the hots for me ever since she saw some pictures. This girlfriend took me out one night for 'cruising main street'. That still ranks as the single weirdest saturday night of my life. Literally driving up and down 'till you see somebody familiar to go to Burger King with. Fortunately, the two of us went to the movies alone later that evening, but as this is a family forum, I'll not linger over what her warm, feminine hands did during the show....

    The people my sister stayed with were very run-of-the-mill. Your average God-fearing, conservative, small-town Southerners. They 'persuaded' me to go to church with them on sunday's, for they felt obliged to try and save my hellbound atheist soul. They told me countless 'ni@@@@-jokes'. They proudly told me they possessed guns for the protection of their family. During a barbeque, some relative even asked me if 'we've got telephones in France'.

    Know what? None of that mattered.
    I know good people when I see them. And they were the kindest I've ever met...
    Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant
    Texan by birth, woodpecker by the grace of God
    I would be the voice of your conscience if you had one - Brenus
    Bt why woulf we uy lsn'y Staraft - Fragony
    Not everything
    blue and underlined is a link


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    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    *sigh*

    Soooooooooooooo boring...

  5. #5
    Member Member Azi Tohak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    Quote Originally Posted by Byzantine Prince
    *sigh*

    Soooooooooooooo boring...
    That wasn't very nice BP. I rather liked Louis' story about the hicks.

    Azi
    "If you don't want to work, become a reporter. That awful power, the public opinion of the nation, was created by a horde of self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditch digging and shoemaking and fetched up journalism on their way to the poorhouse."
    Mark Twain 1881

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    Old Town Road Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re : Traveling across the pond...

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis IV the Fat
    The people my sister stayed with were very run-of-the-mill. Your average God-fearing, conservative, small-town Southerners. They 'persuaded' me to go to church with them on sunday's, for they felt obliged to try and save my hellbound atheist soul. They told me countless 'ni@@@@-jokes'. They proudly told me they possessed guns for the protection of their family. During a barbeque, some relative even asked me if 'we've got telephones in France'.

    Know what? None of that mattered.
    I know good people when I see them. And they were the kindest I've ever met...
    Thats southern hospitality for ya The few Europeans i've met (2 English, 1 French 1 Greek) have all been extremely nice so this leads me to believe were all victims of the canadian conspiracy to drive a wedge between Europe and her American brethren
    There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford

    My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.

    I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.

  7. #7
    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Traveling across the pond...

    *Be quiet, BP. The adults are talking*


    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone
    I suggest that cultural awareness is a double-edged sword. Were you Europeans to travel to America and spend some time here, you would recognize that the America you see on television, that you assume is us.... Gerry Springer, Beverly Hills 90210, reality TV, etc. is cartoonish. It's true, I mean, these are Americans on these shows portraying Americans, and these people do exist somewhere. But it's such a gross refinement of some extreme trends that I think you come off with a very cartoonish view of us.

    We don't all live in trailer parks or mansions. Not all of us have been arrested. Not all of us believe in exposing ourselves on national television. Algunos de nosotros hablamos mas que una lingua, y aun mas que uno.
    I swear, I'm not being defensive or setting you up.... how much time have you spent over here? How exactly did you reach your conclusion?
    For crying out loud, three posts by me and a whole thread and I still didn't manage to answer your simple questions. Yes, I've been to the States and spend in all quite some time there. As you've gathered from my previous post. So my image of you guys wasn't formed from the media, nor did it change overnight once I actually visited America. It has gradually formed over the course of my life through countless interaction with Americans. Despite what you'd think from reading my countless provocative comments I do have a soft-spot for you lot.

    So no I don't share a cartoonish view of America. Nor some more damaging image formed by an America that is omnipresent yet untangible.
    But I know very well what you mean.
    America, the Juggernauth amongst nations, permeates everybody's lives yet remains untangible to many. It's therefore easily turned into an object of hate, fear or desire. Projected hate, fear and desire, for it's based on an image of America that does not exist in reality.

    The America in my mind is very real. As it is to many, maybe even a majority, of Europeans. I've known America and Americans ever since my childhood. I've met a few new ones today whom I played 'waterballoons' with in the park. (Don't ask)
    I mean, It's not as if there's not an awful lot of you around.
    But you know, when I meet an american in real life I go and shoot some pool with him, have a couple of beers together and watch some football. I don't discuss silly politics as I do here.
    Oh well, I do, but at least we're both drunk then.
    Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant
    Texan by birth, woodpecker by the grace of God
    I would be the voice of your conscience if you had one - Brenus
    Bt why woulf we uy lsn'y Staraft - Fragony
    Not everything
    blue and underlined is a link


  8. #8

    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    Ive cut back traveling to Europe as much as I used to but my perceptions of the two continents were formed when I moved to America. Very different places, yet very similar..

  9. #9
    Ambiguous Member Byzantine Prince's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re : Traveling across the pond...

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis IV the Fat
    *Be quiet, BP. The adults are talking*
    It's funny that you think you are speaking about some profound "adult" themes, when in fact I've debumked this whole thing in the other thread.

    PS. I'm 18.

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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis IV the Fat
    We've seen the results from the 'Ignorance and Arrogance in Americans and Europeans' - threads. We now know what we think of each other. A question by Don Corleone inspired me to make this thread.

    When and where were your opinions on the other formed?
    And were your opinions changed or confirmed by any travels across the pond?

    Were Americans really the dumb, arrogant fools you thought they were?
    Did the French turn out to be the nasty, despicably chauvinistic creatures you took them for?
    Did the English finally seemed to have gained access to modern dentistry?
    I actually go to Europe quite a bit. I spend a lot of time in Ireland, visiting friends. I have a foster-sister who lives with her husband & 4 daughters up in Cumbria (lakes district, NorthWest England), and I go to the rest of Europe a lot for work, especially Spain (Indra) and Finland (Nokia). My impressions:

    In a 1-on-1 view, not all that different. But the way you guys approach the world is different. It's hard to put my finger on a universal theme, it'd be more a list of behaviors and I could say "that's more European" or "that's more American". I do note quite a bit of differences within Europe (naturally) and I'm sure you noticed some between different parts of the US. Interestingly, the 2 most popularly visited European places in my line of work (semiconductors) are Sweden and France. While I know many Swedes and more than a few French people, sadly I've never been to either place.

    My impressions of the French actually defy the stereotypes. It seems that you folks have a pathological need to be polite, which is quite the opposite of how you're portrayed. Allow me to enter an anecdote to support that:

    1) I was in a hotel in Brussels waiting to checkin. A large group (about 8) of Frenchmen entered and 2 immediately got in line behind me. I nodded and said hello to them. One nodded and said hello back. The other started yammering away in French. Not speaking a word, I didn't understand him, but his mate was clearly horrified. Well, the other 6 overheard all of this and the older of the bunch (the rest were roughly my age, this guy was 50ish) started speaking very softly but with a very determined, gritty tone. Finally the guy who had been yammering away looked at me and said something sulkily I didn't understand. The boss (who was 3 inches shorter) walked up to him, stared him straight in the eye and said one more thing. Then the guy sheepishly apologized to me. Then the boss, and the other guy in line did too. I explained "No need, I'm a blissfully ignorant American, naught but 5 words of French in my vocab". Well, boss bought me a drink, then I bought him one, we all (8, even Mr. Sulky) chatted for a while and then we we went our separate ways.

    One thing I do find about French people that is disconerting, at least ones that haven't been living in the US for a little while is what a nation of introverts you all are.

    I started a thread on Finland one time (shouldn't be that hard to find) that offers my views on there and its people. I don't spend much time among the English, as I spend most of my time there visiting family, but they seem very similar to us, from what I can see. The Irish seem to be a great lot, friendly and generous to almost a fault. The Dutch... well... Adrian assures me i've been very unfortunate on my travels to Amsterdam and I will take him at his word and say that I'm still waiting to enjoy myself there.

    Spain.. ahh. well, I love Spain & the Spanish, but I strongly suspect the fact that I speak Spanish fairly fluently (enough to give a technical presentation on synthesizers in Spanish) allows me to see a side of Spaniards most Americans don't get to. Odd thing about the Spanish. Of everyone I met, except possibly the Irish, the most outspoken in their opinions. Not in a bad way, but surprisingly frank. They say things to fairly new acquaintances friends of several years wouldn't say here in America (such as inquiring why you'd been married for several years but had no children).
    "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
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    Minion of Zoltan Member Roark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    I love Yanks. I always get a buzz out of them.

    Every time an American warship comes into harbour, I am dumbfounded by how well-behaved and respectful the serrvicemen are. Paragons of society, even when we're out partying hard. Really impressive guys. Welcome anytime.

    Additionally, when I've met "friends-of-friends" who are Yanks, they have always been a gas to hang out with. Intelligent, well-read, and polite.

    American tourists can sometimes be the pits... But quite often these are the stereotyped loud, privileged, arrogant mugs who would suck no matter what country they came from. A small, unfortunate cross-section of any culture.

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    Member Member Azi Tohak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roark
    I love Yanks. I always get a buzz out of them.

    Every time an American warship comes into harbour, I am dumbfounded by how well-behaved and respectful the serrvicemen are. Paragons of society, even when we're out partying hard. Really impressive guys. Welcome anytime.

    Additionally, when I've met "friends-of-friends" who are Yanks, they have always been a gas to hang out with. Intelligent, well-read, and polite.

    American tourists can sometimes be the pits... But quite often these are the stereotyped loud, privileged, arrogant mugs who would suck no matter what country they came from. A small, unfortunate cross-section of any culture.
    Psst...it was these spoiled jack-asses I met while I was in Brisbane. I never met an American older than me. I know (I like to think I'm proof) that not all Americans are asses...but man, those pricks give us a bad name!

    Azi
    "If you don't want to work, become a reporter. That awful power, the public opinion of the nation, was created by a horde of self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditch digging and shoemaking and fetched up journalism on their way to the poorhouse."
    Mark Twain 1881

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    Member Member bmolsson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    It's important to remember that ignorant people are many times very nice. Ignorant girls can be really interesting on dates for example....

  14. #14
    Savior of Peasant Phill Member Silver Rusher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    I think that saying English people do not take care of their teeth and are naturally ugly is just stupid stereotyping, the kind of stupid stereotyping that says that Americans are all super-fat and super-stupid (or supid) or that the french are snobby frog/snail-eaters.

    We have to stop with all the xeno-phobic stereotyping. While there are toothless and ugly Englishmen, snobby Frenchmen with a taste for foods that seem disgusting to foreigners and super-fat Americans who don't even know where Canada is, it doesn't mean that all of the people of those countries are like that.

    (p.s. I don't know if anyone actually accused these people of being like this, but I'm just saying it as a general thing)
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    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    Where did I get my opinion about American?
    When I did my military service we had a 'sister' unit from the US. We worked together but the officers tried to seperate us as much as possible. So there was not much communication possible.
    During my time at the university I met quite a lot of US students who came in an exchange program. In fact there were two programs, one from the East and one from the West coast. The Eastern came from a rich environment, the Western not. There were some differences in their behavior. However, most came to Germany because alcohol is legal here for youngsters. Nevertheless I had a very good friend from Phili.
    Now I work for an internationalö company and many of my collegues and customers and suppliers are American. I've been to the US only three times, for short business trips, in total about 10 days.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Senior Member Ser Clegane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Traveling across the pond...

    A good chunk of my experience with "normal US family life" stems from 5 months as an exchange student in Washindton State in 1986 (including a couple of weeks traveling down the West Coast with Greyhound).

    After that I spent two vacations in the US (in 1990 and 1996) and for the last 8 years (my current job) I had daily interactions with my colleagues in the US plus several couple-of-days business trips to the US.

    Having discussions on this board adds to the experience

    So, overall, I believe that I have sufficient personal experience with America/Americans to form an opinion that is not mostly based on the media and/or clichés...

    A number of the prejudices I might have had before I went to the US for the first time in 1986 (e.g., Americans are superficial, Americans have no idea of what is going on outside the US) turned out to be rubbish.

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