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Old 06-22-2009, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Omaha
2,716 posts, read 6,213,794 times
Reputation: 1221

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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldwine View Post
I'm an American expat who's been living abroad for a few years, and prior to that has traveled extensively... Albeit for work more so than pleasure.

Americans have perfected the art of being very friendly on the surface, which I think is extremely strange to foreigners. They then expect Americans to genuinely extend friendship, whereas for us it's just a social behavior that makes public interaction more pleasant.

The size of things. Americans are used to crossing large distances every single day as if it were a matter of course. So many Americans have at least an hour long commute-- it's very common. Here in Sao Paulo, it's unthinkable. In Europe, it just wouldn't happen.

It's so much more acceptable in America to just be in your own space. This is something that I discover over and over again. We really live in our own little world on a daily basis. We tune out with headphones, books, newspapers and the way we walk. Especially the way we walk. As a woman who came here I was told that I walked like a man, even though in the US I've since mastered the art of walking in stilettos. You truly can tell Americans by how we walk-- it's our space, wherever we are, and you'd damn well better not get in my way.

People in other countries, especially in Asia and South America, are terrified of working for Americans. To a lesser extent, it's also true in Europe. We're stereotyped as hyper-productive worker drones that will kill ourselves and anyone else until whatever we want done is done. They treat us like an alien species they've only heard about in newspapers and television shows. My colleagues here tell me that their families prayed for them when they found out they'd be working for an American woman... and then promptly wanted to know what I looked like, as if I'm going to look any different from them

I was lucky enough to have an admin when I came here, and when the copier broke one of the first days she had a nervous breakdown. I had no idea what happened-- of the languages I speak, Portuguese is not one of them-- and when I tried to find out why there was so much paper all over the place she went into hysterics. As if I'm going to kill someone for a technical error I just helped her clean up the paper and rearrange as much as we could. It's irritating to everyone involved, but really? I'm still working on getting her to fear less and work more

Back to work ethic. There is no one more productive than American workers. We agonize over how good we are at our jobs. Work just rules our lives. We're the most driven people on the planet, overall. For whatever reason, good or bad, we're willing to give up almost everything for work. My colleagues here ask me, "How can you stand to be away from your family?"

Which is another point. I don't really talk to my family, and I haven't for over a decade. They could never understand this-- family is so much more important here than it is back in the states. We think nothing of moving far away. That just doesn't happen here.

There are also other differences here that I'm more or less comfortable with. Men catcall you on the streets, which previously I'd attributed to construction workers in Doris Day movies. Although I suppose it's meant to be a form of compliment.

On the whole, people here and elsewhere are much more "wholesome" than we Americans. We're probably the most jaded, over-sexed, over-hyped and burned out people on the planet. We've seen it, been there and done that. I and many of my fellow Americans here are surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery, and we honestly are only just discovering it. Rain forest? Fine, whatever. Waterfalls and canyons and mountains? Yes, yes, gorgeous, but where's my coffee? I had to learn the hard way to put the wonder back in life.
Very interesting post. I had not thought much about differences of that nature.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:02 PM
 
254 posts, read 428,414 times
Reputation: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by CBB View Post
I'm not really SHOCKED about anything in the U.S. - which I love and spend a month in each year.

1) The really OBESE people: those who can't walk anymore - you don't see them here.
2) The obsession about lawns: we think it's crazy to water and fertilize a lawn constantly even if the climate calls for something else.
3) We own a little home in a charming beach community in Florida and were stunned to learn that a lot of weapons were stolen from our community (by the same person). Nobody I personally know owns a weapon.
4) Slums sit right next to wealthy neighborhoods.
5) Inner U.S. cities are run down while they are the most expensive neighborhoods in our towns.
6) Order your Coke WITHOUT ICE unless you want a terribly tasting cloridic beverage.

Other than that I enjoy being in the U.S. for one month a year and don't find it too different or "shocking". But then, we've been there so often.
There are no slums in America. Maybe in Germany, where you're from, but not in America. Sorry, not even the worst neighborhood in the United States could qualify as a slum.

Last edited by SeattleWA; 06-22-2009 at 11:38 PM..
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington
2,317 posts, read 6,884,577 times
Reputation: 1701
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleWA View Post
There are no slums in America. Maybe in Germany, where your from, but not in America. Sorry, not even the worst neighborhood in the United States could qualify as a slum.
Get out of here. Please? Thanks, 'ppreciate it.

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Old 06-22-2009, 11:37 PM
 
254 posts, read 428,414 times
Reputation: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by backdrifter View Post
Get out of here. Please? Thanks, 'ppreciate it.

Do you have any proof stating otherwise?


No you don't. So why don't you get out of here.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:58 PM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
4,467 posts, read 8,435,983 times
Reputation: 5512
Quote:
Originally Posted by eskercurve View Post
A friend of mine who was born in Japan (he was a military brat) and moved back to the US was surprised how fat everyone was, then complained about it and never did anything about it.
LOL this one is funny!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:14 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,955,873 times
Reputation: 6679
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleWA View Post
There are no slums in America. Maybe in Germany, where you're from, but not in America. Sorry, not even the worst neighborhood in the United States could qualify as a slum.
I'm thinking this is some kind of technical or definitional statement. What qualifies as a slum to you?

Princeton Wordnet states "a district of a city marked by poverty and inferior living conditions." It has no exact specifications on how poor or inferior.

http://www.city-data.com/neighborhoo...l-Paso-TX.html

This neighborhood of El Paso has a poverty rate of 66.4%. A large amount of the people didn't finish high school and live in places with few rooms. The Zip Code's poverty is mentioned in the following news article.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_126573...ce=most_viewed


Perhaps the "inferior living conditions" portion is what you mean. I'm not sure if an American city has the kind of "barrios" that lack running water or telephones. I'm pretty sure Germany has no such places either though.

Last edited by Thomas R.; 06-23-2009 at 01:54 AM.. Reason: changing it up a bit
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:17 AM
 
9,912 posts, read 12,468,996 times
Reputation: 7280
OH! I thought of one!

I was shocked and bitterly disappointed to discover that Butterfingers makes ice cream!!!! Why couldn't I have discovered that while I was there?????
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Waipahu, HI
50 posts, read 170,910 times
Reputation: 71
I am a Filipino American. I live in the US and travel to the Philippines annually. I enjoy the Philippines so much that I get shocked each time I return to the US. Here are some things that shock me about the US:

* The US doesn't have 24-hour restaurants like the Philippines does. In the Philippines, Jollibee and Chowking are a couple of restaurants open 24 hours. Sometimes I would eat out a little past midnight. It makes the Philippines seem more advanced than the US.

* In the US, you have to wear your seatbelt, something that is not required in the Philippines.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:57 AM
 
11,171 posts, read 22,363,867 times
Reputation: 10919
^ really? I've never had any problem at all finding 24 hour restaurants in any US city larger than around 30,000 people. They might not be fine dining, but it's MUCH easier to find places open past 11pm in the US than almost anywhere except a huge city in Europe, especially at say 2am. Let alone convenience stores, Wal-Mart, etc.

In the US I never thought about where I'm going to eat at 3am, or worried that I needed gas or paper supplies at 4am. You can find places open almost anywhere because of our extreme consumerism and workaholic lifestyles. In Europe I'd walk out of a bar at 3am and ask people, and there was always like ONE or maybe two places open way down the street at that hour.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:09 AM
 
177 posts, read 428,662 times
Reputation: 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by IBadget View Post
I am a Filipino American. I live in the US and travel to the Philippines annually. I enjoy the Philippines so much that I get shocked each time I return to the US. Here are some things that shock me about the US:

* The US doesn't have 24-hour restaurants like the Philippines does. In the Philippines, Jollibee and Chowking are a couple of restaurants open 24 hours. Sometimes I would eat out a little past midnight. It makes the Philippines seem more advanced than the US.

* In the US, you have to wear your seatbelt, something that is not required in the Philippines.
Im a fil-am too but I grew up in the states, and havent been back home since 2004. Like you say, I think the US has so many more laws than the Philippines, and sometimes is way too constricting. There is a fine for any little thing - seat belt, littering, loitering, jaywalking, parking, drinking outside, peeing, being too loud in public, trespassing etc. I find that the Philippines is actually much more 'free' than the US. This is probably true of a lot of other supposedly less 'free' countries. However, at the same time, the Phils has much more pollution (and people peeing everywhere lol), so sometimes the additional laws and ordinances can be good. Just that its a little overboard in the US.

The US does have late night places to eat in big cities though, and even smaller cities. Any small city will at least have a Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendys, and even IHOP or Dennys. I miss jollibees! And what about burger machine everywhere? I like being able to sit outside and drink san miguel and just chill. Man I want to go back!
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