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Fi3M: 17 cultural reasons why this European never wants to live in America


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17 cultural reasons why this European never wants to live in America

Warning: If you are pissed off easily, don’t read this post. Although plenty of (American) commenters agree with me, I’m also getting a flood of angry comments and hatemail, but this is my (as always) frank and honest non-watered-down opinion, take it or leave it! Read on to the conclusion to see my positive thoughts about Americans before you conclude that this is Anti-American propaganda.

Normally, after I spend considerable time in a country/city, I like to summarise my cultural experience there and tend to put a positive spin on it, as I did with Germany, Amsterdam, Brazil, and even Paris, which was actually a negative experience for me.

This time I’m not doing that.

This post is my rant about America because of all the places I’ve been, the people who always complain the most about the local country are travelling Americans. It has annoyed me so much over the years that I honestly feel like a lot of you need to hear a foreigner complain about YOUR country.

Note that I’ve actually really enjoyed my last three months in the states, but there have been too many things that confirm that this really is not the place for me.

I’m not interested in whining about foreign policy, economics or politics. This is entirely about my frustrations with day to day life in America. The United States is a huge country, and it’s impossible to generalise all 300 million of you, but the points below are my observations after spending:

3 months in upstate New York, 4 months in La Jolla/San Diego, 1 month in Chicago, 1 month in Nevada, 6 weeks in San Francisco, 1 month in Austin, 2 weeks in New Orleans, 2 weeks in Los Angeles, as well as several days among other cities like Portland (OR), San Antonio, Houston, Durham (NC) … (and visiting sites like the Grand Canyon). Over a year in total, most of which was in trying to live as a local rather than staying in tourist accommodation.

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Funny, but Terry Pratchett said something similar to #2 on his most recent visit to the US. To paraphrase him, If a cheeseburger is awesome, how do you describe the universe? Someone in the audience responded, "Wicked Awesome!", which got a chuckle from the crowd.

That's fine. But ask an Irishman/woman to describe something they like and the sentence is sure to contain "lovely" or "brilliant".

Either word, when used to descibe a bowl of potato soup, is just as nonsensical as "awesome". A bowl of potato soup is neither "brilliant" nor "lovely". It tells me nothing about how it tastes.

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Boy, this dude is just plain hard to please.... Americans smile too much? Give me a freaking break. I guess being from Ireland he likes misery? not sure I haven never been there.

I do agree with some of his points on food costs and taxes - but its kind of silly to get worked up over silly things like peoples Apple obsessions.

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It's basically all true with one caveat. Americans know it's all true and have learned to gloss over it. We are, without question, the most ridiculously jaded, "attentionally deficited" (patent pending), group that's ever been. We are the founders and world leaders in "shallow". We are also the most caring and generous. I can understand how a foreigner would feel smothered here, it's a warm cocoon of a place.

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Yes, assuming someone is a "drunk" just because their Irish is a bit much ... on the other hand ...

Numbers can be misleading. The French and Germans drink a lot of alcohol but as it's often part of a more leisurely dining experience there's not a high degree of drunkeness and binge drinking.

In the case of Ireland though, the numbers are not misleading. I would guess the Irish are strong contenders for the greatest number per capita of drunks. Other close contenders would be English, Scottish, Finns and Russians.

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Yeah, I actually don't have a problem with most of it. Some of it was silly (You like Germans better because they don't smile as much ... okaaaay) but some of it was kind of interesting. Point #5 in particular, I hadn't thought about it that way. And he's right.

But if he doesn't 'get' us that's fine. He doesn't have to stay here. This is, after all, America. :D

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Funny, but Terry Pratchett said something similar to #2 on his most recent visit to the US. To paraphrase him, If a cheeseburger is awesome, how do you describe the universe? Someone in the audience responded, "Wicked Awesome!", which got a chuckle from the crowd.

Jeff Gordon ruined the word Awesom for me. He's says it after every race. I never use that word.

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Corcaigh - don't leave out the Latvians. Boozers one and all.

Yeah, our country is filled with lots of fat overly-sensitive ignoramuses (ignorami?). But complaining about having to calculate sales tax might suggest this guy is too stupid to do basic math in his head. And I completely disagree with his complaint on tipping. I actually appreciate having good service. I'm not into sitting around for an hour waiting for my food to come out.

It's true our country is designed around cars, but the US is far too immense for an efficient network of public transportation.

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