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When you say where you're from to Europeans how do they respond?

When you say where you're from to Europeans how do they respond?

Jul 3rd, 1998, 08:22 AM
  #1  
s.fowler
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When you say where you're from to Europeans how do they respond?

I'm wondering what reactions you have gotten when you tell people in foreign countries where you are from? What is the first thing they say? Mine is easy. I'm from Chicago... I get "Michael Jordan" and/or Chicago Bulls. I don't mind it. Jordan is a great man [and it sure beats the gesturing of a machine gun "ack-ack" and the name Al Capone. Thank you Michael!] What "instant image" do you get back when you state where you are from in the states?
 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 10:13 AM
  #2  
jenny
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in the beginning, i would tell people that i'm from houston. they'd say "hoooston?" weird, no one really pronounces it right first of all. then they ask if everyone wears cowboy hats all the time, etc.

people are genuinely interested in running into an american, for some reason. don't know why. they see so many all the time, i'd imagine their tolerance would be saturated.

now, whenever people ask, i say i'm from "tehksas" with a very pronouced southern drawl just for fun. that usually breaks makes them smile and laugh since i don't normally speak with a southern accent. then they ask "so does everyone have a cowboy hat there?"
 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 10:42 AM
  #3  
wes fowler
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S Fowler, this is Wes Fowler to whom you're not related....I think! I've had a couple of interesting and bewildering experiences after revealing I'm American. In a London pub one evening, I spent four hours conversing with a financial reporter from the Reuters news service. His interest? American baseball! Knew as much as I. Puzzling! Same pub at the time of the O.J. Simpson trial. Much speculation by pub attendees, not over guilt or innocence, (all assumed guilt) but rather about the verdict. All were habitual watchers of CNN and knew more of the trial procedings than I. Finally, in a small Swiss village celebrating the Swiss national holiday, I sat at a table in a parking lot where the villagers had convened to celebrate and to watch bonfires on the mountain-sides. A young couple mentioned that during many of the wars and occupations of Switzerland, villagers would light bonfires to warn neighboring towns of impending invasion. I mentioned that American Indians in the southwest had used fires and their smoke to communicate. "Oh, yes", said the young fellow, "I know, I've read your comic books!" Asked me, upon parting, if I would send him some hot rod magazines which I subsequently did.
 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 12:35 PM
  #4  
Donna
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I've also found that Europeans are incredibly interested in all things American. Their curiousity generates all sorts of amusing questions. For some reason, they're really well-informed about politics and other happenings. When we were in Leichtenstein, our waiter (from Austria) was well versed in all Bill Clinton endeavors, and he referred to him as "Billy Boy".
 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 12:51 PM
  #5  
Glaucia Arruda
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Fodor's Forum is just great! I learn a lot with you all!
OK, what about being from the third world ? (Brazil to be more specific). Do you think I will encounter in Europe any problems/prejudice whatsoever?
I am such a sensitive person, try hard to be politically correct most of the time, consider myself a good and well-behaved tourist in all times and occasions and would feel rather disappointed if I met the "wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time". I have a friend who visited Europe and when she mentioned she was from Brazil, someone asked "is it true you have snakes in the streets?" Ah, ah! Or shall I lie and say I'm from Mars? Thanks, Glaucia

 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 01:49 PM
  #6  
kam
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When we say San Francisco, we either get bombarded with travel questions or in depth stories about their trips to SF. A few mentions of the gay population, the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and lots of interest in Yosemite---thinking it's right around the corner, I guess. When we lived in LA we got the predictable questions about crime/riots/carjacking and how many movie stars had we met. The OJ year was interesting--we were in Hong Kong and nobody seemed to care--it was a nice break!
 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 01:54 PM
  #7  
kam
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To Glaucia from Brazil--------let's see how the World Cup turns out and that might be the biggest topic of conversation. I have a good friend who lives in Rio and she is always told that the women there are so very beautiful----she laughs and says yes, but I'm not one of them! I would imagine Europeans think of Brazil as being very exotic with huge sandy beaches and little bikinis! A pretty nice stereotype!
 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 02:49 PM
  #8  
Joyce
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One year we were in Skiathos, Greece, a rather dusty, uninspiring town on the otherwise beautiful island of Skiathos. A pretty young woman tending the local jewelry store inquired as to where I was from. When I replied California, she said, "Oh, California. That nice place. Why you come here?" As a rule, though, they generally just tell you about friends and relatives who have moved to or visited California, or that they hope to come some day.
 
Jul 3rd, 1998, 06:27 PM
  #9  
Ree
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When I tell people I'm from Santa Barbara, California, they say "Oh, like the show on TV!" At first, I didn't know what they were talking about and then it dawned on me that they were talking about the TV soap opera that was cancelled in the US a few years back. Apparently it's still playing in Europe along with other older American TV shows. I get asked if SB is really like the show on TV. Since most of the exterior shots were shot in SB, I say "yes!"

Other people say "Oh, California!" and ask me if I see movie stars a lot! No!

I've visited England and ITaly and most people there are nice. In Italy, they are extra nice and friendly if you speak a few words of Italian.



 
Jul 4th, 1998, 01:14 AM
  #10  
Maira
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When my husband & I are asked where are we from and we say New York, you literally see the change in people expressions (...oh, no!). We often add that we are from UPSATE NY, which makes no difference to them. Well, if people are going to pre-judged your character without giving you the chance, is their loss. However, I have notice that Europeans, in general, are very curious about American things and culture, which is flattering somehow....
 
Jul 4th, 1998, 07:11 AM
  #11  
Arizona
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In many cases, we are amazed at the sophistication of some Europeans we have met and especially how well they keep up with news of what goes on in the States. However, those who have not visited America have some of the strangest notions of distances over here. We suppose this is enhanced because of the size of Europe compared with America. Recently, I encountered a Swedish gentleman in our small town in Arizona who asked me how he could find "the mountain with the four presidents." When I told him that Mt. Rushmore was in S. Dakota, a puzzled look came over his face. And when I showed him where it was on a map, he asked if he could drive there by sundown.
 
Jul 5th, 1998, 02:53 PM
  #12  
hamlet
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I'm from a subrurb of NYC and when I tell people I'm from NY they don't believe me. The reason: I'm not "white" and so they tell me "No, you look like ------ (county of their choice)!" So it seems they were interested in ethnic heritage rather than where I have come from. And then the conversation continues and people still can't believe that I live in NY - sometimes this is a fun conversation and other times it is rather annoying. In some areas people haven't realized the US is a melting pot.
 
Jul 5th, 1998, 04:00 PM
  #13  
Paul J
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Last Fall we were in a Paris restaurant and struck up a conversation with four Italian businessmen. Two of them spoke English very well but the other two were about as proficient in English as we are in Italian. They asked us where we were from. At first we said Wisconsin. No recognition!! Then I said Milwaukee. One of the none English speaking men of about 40 replied. Oh, the Fonz!!! He apparently had seen a lot of the old Happy Days shows on TV.
 
Jul 7th, 1998, 11:03 AM
  #14  
monica
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You cannot really say the europeans are as you all describe.I am from Italy and every time i go to the U.s and say where i come from i get all the "pizza - pasta - mafia" stuff.
what when they ask i have been to Milan met this guy named .......do You know him?
stereotype concerns everyone.
the real interest is in culture and the america and European one are as nigth and day!
being different (in culture , origins and costumes)
is great and understanding and deeply knowing each other is even better!


 
Jul 7th, 1998, 11:43 AM
  #15  
Ann
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And I'm from Sweden. No, we do not have Polar bears walking the streets and no, Olso isn't our capital and no, all people are not blond and blue- eyed.....
 
Jul 7th, 1998, 01:07 PM
  #16  
Joe Ovey
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Glad to hear the Europeans who read this site are fighting back. I know some Germans who went to the States as au pair girls and their host families greeted them by shouting Heil Hitler! and the wife spent three hours explaining washing machines. When the girl said - but it's a German washing machine and we have a newer model at home, the American woman was shocked - she thought Europeans still went to the river. Another friend told me one man couldn't believe we had sunflowers here. And another point. If we don't know where Wisnonsin is, do you know where Sachsen-Anhalt is?
We're not the only stupids idiots in the world!!!
 
Jul 7th, 1998, 02:05 PM
  #17  
Richard
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Well, I'm from upstate NY and worked in Manhattan for 10 years, my wife is from west Texas and we now live in Dallas so that opens a lot of avenues for a conversation starter. A lot of Europeans have been to NY, and everyone knows Dallas, lots of oil well jokes etc. Arizona is right, Europeans have a hard time fathoming distances in the US and how difficult it is to travel here, especially when you're used to a great rail and highway system as they have in Europe.
 
Jul 7th, 1998, 03:09 PM
  #18  
CJ
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To Maria-- You took the words right out of my mouth. I am also from Upstate NY and right away they think New York City. When I say Rochester NY automatically they think Kodak. Now in Spain because I amof Itialian decent and olive complected I was mistaken for a gypsy. People are people all over the world.
 
Jul 7th, 1998, 05:19 PM
  #19  
Paul J
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C'mon Folks, lighten up!!! My comment about recognizing Milwaukee as the "home" of the old Happy Day's show was not meant as a put down of anyone, and I seriously doubt that S Fowler, the originator of this thread meant anything derogatory. I took it as an interesting and amusing subject...... Paul J.
 
Jul 8th, 1998, 10:25 AM
  #20  
s.fowler
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Thanks PaulJ! I think what the posts have shown is that stereotypes occur everywhere. As the posts make obvious, Americans are as prone to the "quick image" of another country or culture. [Stereotypes can be, unfortunately, an easy way to not have to deal with who people REALLY are.] I posted because I had just returned from a month of "Michael Jordan." It didn't offend me, it was always said with a smile and I hope I will have the chance to show many foeign visitors the Chicago beyond MJ. I'm glad the posts have been as varied and thoughtful as they have been!
 

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