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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?

Old Jan 6th, 2000, 11:04 AM
  #81  
Joe
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For some strange reason, people think I'm from Germany. I have been approached and asked if I was German in Paris, London (twice), Washington DC (too many times to count), and Boston. Most are German tourists who are asking for directions.

I'm going to Germany in the spring, maybe then I will be able to figue it out.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2000, 11:59 AM
  #82  
Monica Richards
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Speaking of "Monica, Clinton" when I was in Portugal in September, we went to the exchange office to change our American dollars to Escudos (aside-don't ever do this! You think it takes a while to cash travelers checks, just wait 'til you see the process they put cash through!). Anyhow, they asked my name, and I said in my American accent "Monica Richards". The guy burst out laughing, and turned to his coworkers and said something in portugese along the lines of "her name is Monica" and then the whole office started laughing. Hey, there are lots of people in the US named Monica who didn't sleep with the President, you know!
 
Old Jan 6th, 2000, 01:07 PM
  #83  
lola
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Five years ago, when I used to say I was from NY I used to get "Aren't you afraid of getting murdered"? Now, it's more often, "Oh, I hope to get there," or "I love it," or "oh you're so lucky." I'm really from Westchester county, and if I said "Chappaqua" in the past no one would know where that was (unless they confused it with Chatauqua). I'll have to try that out on my next trip to Europe and see if the Clinton's new residence is known world-wide.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2000, 02:17 PM
  #84  
donna
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I found this question and all the answers very intersesting. On our first trip to Europe, my husband assumed if he spoke English, that everyone would know he was an American! I pointed out the people speaking English next to us were clearly not American-so many people speak English.(Not just us!)
When we say we are from Boston, we usually get a nice reply-I guess they know Harvard and about the American revolution. (they used to know Larry Bird!)
 
Old Jan 6th, 2000, 02:44 PM
  #85  
Joel
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My wife and I lived and worked in Central France for a few years. We spoke French at all times, but, of course, people could readily identify us as American. Reactions were invariably cordial. There was no "standard" question we were asked, but I noted that when the French person was a girl in her late teens (such as a cashier) she would often ask whether we had been to Dallas and state that it was "her dream" to visit Dallas. That came from watching too many US soap operas. It pointed out how skewed the French view of Americans could sometimes be due to the crummy sitcoms and soaps that formed much of their impression of us. The big hits in France at the time (early 1990's) were such "greats" as Gilligan's Island and F Troop. It was appalling, not only to think that this was their young peoples' introduction to the US culture, but also that we were deluging France with such crap. I often expressed my concern about the Americanization of France to my French friends. Believe me, they shared my concern. I guess, though, that if I were to succeed in making one point in this e-mail, it would be that the French, when you speak to them (even poorly) in their language, are as friendly and outgoing as any in the world.
Congrats to Mr. Fowler for starting this fascinating string.
 
Old Jan 6th, 2000, 04:08 PM
  #86  
Diane
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How did I miss this last year? Great thread...We answer depending on our mood or who is asking and is what circumstances. We live in Maryland half way between Washington DC and Baltimore, so some times we claim one, sometimes the other. I have to say, when I first lived here (actually IN DC) and went back to the Chicago suburbs to visit my folks, people I'd known most my life would ask me if I saw the President (then Nixon) often. Oh yeah, sure, every Thursday night at the Safeway!
 
Old Jan 6th, 2000, 05:25 PM
  #87  
Shari
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Often, if I tell someone I'm from Cleveland, they nod and say "oh yes", but I'm never entirely sure if they know where Cleveland is or are just being polite. Sometimes when I say I'm from Cleveland or from Ohio, I'll get: "I know a guy from Ohio -- his name is Joe Smith, do you know him?"
 
Old Jan 7th, 2000, 06:34 AM
  #88  
Susan
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Apparently, I look like the generic European (you wouldn't think there was such a thing, but brown hair, grey eyes, middle-aged figure), and my accent in the local language is good so long as what I'm saying is limited to "yes," "no," and "thank you." More than that is a give-away, and sometimes people seem to think I was trying to put one over on them by not admitting "out front" that I am an American by insisting on speaking English.

Perhaps the least pleasant response I ever got, though, was on a train opposite a Brit, whose introductory comment was "you're an American. I hate American women."

Foolishly, I asked why and was told in no uncertain terms about all of us harridans. Hard to imagine what he thought he was accomplishing.
 
Old Jan 7th, 2000, 06:48 AM
  #89  
PWilson
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There are those, often students, who are sure they have a firm grip on American attitudes and are therefore entitled to criticize at length and depth. I remember finding myself attacked for America's Viet Nam policy in the 70s, and my attackers ignored the fact that I agreed with them. The irony of the fact that they were French escaped them.

More recently, I was in a discussion with (again French) some academics who deplored with great moral rectitude our treatment of African-Americans ("noirs"). When I asked about French attitudes about Tunisians and Algerians, their response: "oh, but that's different. They are terrible people!"

...which is not to say for a moment that Europeans will not encounter equally idiotic, opinionated Americans.
 
Old Jan 7th, 2000, 12:05 PM
  #90  
Hypocrisy
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I'm an American, and proud of it. But I think it is so ironic to hear Americans make cracks about Europeans' stereotypes of people from various states. I am from KY. In Switzerland, I was asked very intelligent, sincere questions about the Kentucky Derby, horses and bourbon. People from Boston and New York have asked me if I own shoes and am I married to my cousin. Americans are the very last nationality that should look down their noses at impressions of foreigners. I guarantee you that if you compared Europeans' impressions of certain states and compare them with Americans' impressions of the same states, the American impressions would be just as misguided, if not more so. As I said, I'm proud to be an American, but, on the whole, we can be very arrogant and obnoxious.
 
Old Jan 7th, 2000, 02:20 PM
  #91  
specs
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My favorite response was when a Frenchman noticed my daughter's t-shirt had a California logo on it. He exclaimed, "California! USA! Hollywood! Schwartznegger!"

That moment caused me to wonder if one day we will be on vacation and someone will say, "California! USA! President Jackie Chan!"
 
Old Oct 13th, 2000, 12:28 PM
  #92  
top
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To the top
 
Old Oct 13th, 2000, 08:02 PM
  #93  
listy
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On a recent trip to Italy, I met some cousins living in Italy. I think many Europeans do not realize how really large the US is. I live in Colorado. My cousins said they were going to be in New York City this winter, and wondered if I could pick them up. We had a good laugh when I told them it would take me three days to drive there! I also think some Europeans think the US people live like the people on tv shows. They asked me if all hospitals were like the one on the soap opera they had been watching.
 
Old Oct 13th, 2000, 08:52 PM
  #94  
Dino
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I think there are ignorant people in every country. I was driving through to California from Chicago and I stopped somewhere in Wyoming and the waitress asked where I was from. When I said Chicago. She said that is impossible because you are white.

Another time in Greece I was cornered in a kafeneio by some people who when they found out I was from the US asked if I have to carry a gun with me everywhere and if I have ever killed a Black man. When I said no they did not quite believe me.
 
Old Oct 14th, 2000, 08:29 AM
  #95  
sandi
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Last year, while travelling thru Italy, I would mention that I was from Texas and almost everyone would draw their thumb and forefinger from their hips like western gun slinger.
 
Old Nov 1st, 2000, 11:08 AM
  #96  
upsy daisy
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Well?
 
Old Nov 1st, 2000, 01:55 PM
  #97  
michelle
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When we told Europeans we were from Colorado, they would either say "Oh, mountains!" or make skiing motions with their arms. We happen to live on the high prairie, with no mountains in sight, but we always nodded agreement when people would "ski' for us.
 
Old Nov 1st, 2000, 02:28 PM
  #98  
sam
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Although some people in foreign countires have heard of North Carolina, especially if they travel for business, they know where it is. If not, which can be often--I look at them and say "North Carolina". If I get a puzzled look, I point to a spot in the air and say "New York." Then I take my other hand and point to a spot below the "New York" spot and say "Maimi." Then I point half-way in between and say Raleigh, North Carolina----Research Triangle Park??? They usuually go "OK." Then I say "It is where Michael Jordan played basketball when he went to the university. I usally get a big grin at that point. Although sometimes I just Raleigh and they say "Oh, yea---a lot of technology companies there, right?"
 
Old Nov 1st, 2000, 03:05 PM
  #99  
elizabeth
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Several years ago my husband and I were driving in Holland when smoke began billowing from the engine of our rental car. I pulled off the road at the first available opportunity - into a large parking lot with a giant garage. Out came several gentlemen in coveralls to check out the situation. They were marginally interested in the situation and then asked where we were from. "Canada" we said. Well.......what happened next was amazing.

One of the men took charge - He explained that this was the mechanic shop for the local transit authority . "Give us the keys, go to the bar across the street, have a beer and we'll figure out what's wrong with your car". We were taken aback, but did as instructed. An hour later they all came into the bar and joined us. They explained the problem with the car; their temporary fix, but advised us to get to Amsterdam and demand a replacement for the car. Of course we thanked them profusely for their help. In answer they said "our parents have always told us about the Canadians who liberated Holland - this is our small way of saying thank you". Plus, they wouldn't let us pay for our drinks - nor let us buy them a drink.

It was a lovely experience.
 
Old Nov 3rd, 2000, 06:02 AM
  #100  
Elizabeth White
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That's a lovely story!
 

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