Fourth and last week of USA and Americans viewed by two European chicks.
Reminder for those who did not read the first posts.
This post series won’t be book related except that we both became “partners in crime” Talia @redhotink and I through our love for books. We met on Goodreads and it clicked immediately! You’ll find our “bio” at the end of the post if you are still with us by that time.
In this series of four Fridays posts we want to offer our US (and non US) friends our reading of America and its citizens. We’ll keep it light and funny. No debate about politics but talks about interesting tidbits and odd things we found while visiting and living in USA.
I’m covering the West-Coast and some West-Center States and Talia speaks aplenty about Big Apple.
This post has become nearly a small novel as we have much to tell. We decided to make it a mini series over the span of four weeks. We hope that you enjoyed the tour 😉
Let’s roll Ladies and Gents!
Last leg of our journey to the American way of life! Americans are outspoken and living the American Dream: myth or reality?
1)Americans go straight to the point and are super friendly
Americans are usually outspoken and very easy to talk to. I don’t know if it’s the “southern charm” like one ranger told me but I really loved chatting with strangers on the street, at gas station, at the restaurant, everywhere. Mu hubby and I are chatty people and curious about other people and cultures so it really was a godsend for us.
Easy to connect with Americans also cut the chase and go straight to the point. They explain what they want plain and simple. No chit chat.
European are more “contained” even if we are friendly (see waiters and waitresses above). If you would like something you will follow a more “convoluted” road. You will introduce your subject, and progressively go to the heart of the matter and state your request. It’s considered being polite in Europe.
Being a blogger and having many American friends I learned to be bolder and state my request right away. Selling myself and telling about my blog and… no way one year ago. I was too shy.
Your boldness is refreshing.
Now bold comes in many shapes even when it comes to flirting as Talia will tell you😉
2)Will you be my American boy?
Oh my, what a difference! I don’t know if by crossing the ocean I got hit by beauty radiations that turned me from a very average girl into a knock-out, but sure felt like it when, after ages of dealing with guys who would just not make the first move, I came across the American guys.
In Italy, you know there are some places where to meet people like possible-suitors, future-bearer-of-your-children, future-ex-wife/husband. Parties, aperitifs, dinners. In a word, events! If you’re a model then maybe random guys at the grocery store will try their luck, but from a normal girl perspective, you don’t expect to meet your other half of the apple outside of social circles.
In the US, every place is fair game. Grocery store, park, hallway, elevators! The elevators are tricky little creatures. You stand there for less than a minute, but it’s all an American guy needs to get your name, possibly your number (because it would be unpolite to refuse, right? Read: I need to grow a spine), or at least your Facebook friendship. From there it’s just a matter of days until the contact is made and next thing you know you’re drinking an overpriced drink with a stranger. That’s right, because you don’t really know the person sitting in front of you.
I’m not saying that dating with almost strangers doesn’t happen in Italy, but in my circles everyone kind of knew at least a bit of that person background. Friend of a friend is the most common answer when people ask “how did you two meet?”. Here, the answer could be as random as: “I was throwing out the garbage and he was standing in front of the door” or “I asked her if she was still using the burner in the kitchen” or “We bumped each other on the sidewalk.”
It might all seem very romantic, but beside the nervousness of meeting complete strangers, the chances of actually hitting it off are very slim.
On the plus side, it gives you a chance to meet more people, but on the negative side you’re bound to be asked out by many guys you’re not interested in and will have to devise the best rejection strategy.
Between you and me, it’s one hell of a confidence boost!
Now let’s speak about money! Everyone speak about the American Dream but is it true?
3)A whole new world!
Opportunities are everywhere. In Italy, and I guess in the majority of the southern countries in Europe, finding a job is harder than finding your way into Mordor. You don’t stumble on it. You don’t get offered by random strangers. In NY, just today I had a girl come up to me and my friends and ask whether we would be interested in a customer service job. Sure, it’s not golden, but it’s something.
Being young will not disqualify you from a job and many people I know here have one or two part time jobs. Working is part of the American culture the way family is part of the Italian one.
I stand with the US on this, and whish more job opportunities were offered to young students in Italy, but also for Italian kids to be more used to taking on humbling jobs. In Italy, there are no summer jobs, or at least unless your uncle doesn’t own a bar or your grandpa doesn’t need his grass mowed, chances are you’ll spend summer laying in the beach.
I know it’s what I did my whole high school years… wait, not. I was studying during summers too because the conservatory is basically a university, but most people actually had three months of vacations. Does this turn Italians into ungrateful little bastards? Not everyone, but I’m quite sure that transitioning into a real-life job will be helluva harder in their twenties given the experience close to zilch!
4)You are a professional
Everyone here has a business card. Even your resident poet or your mailman who moonlights as a drag queen will likely have one always in their pocket. Just in case.
It doesn’t matter what you do, you are your first marketer and your first investor. I’ve met so many people who started something new, like a guy who founded a salsa dancing studio, or another who invented a fancy software. In Italy, when you’re 20 you are still a kid, possibly playing with Pokemons and without a real understanding of how a washing machine truly works. When you’re 25 you start to envision life outside of the family, but from there to actually becoming your own employer or seeing yourself as a professional in a certain field… the step is huge. Some don’t take it until their forties!
At my college they teach us to be professionals. To dress as such, to behave as such. Basically it’s a fake it till you make it, if you ask me. I still go to college with hoodies at times and many others do, but there are days in which I dress up and can feel the difference, can see how it could be for me in the future.
In Italy we don’t have that. We focus a lot on the contents, but not much on the presentation. If that’s good or bad, I’ll leave it up to you. What I can say is that thinking of myself as a professional in my field helped me be more confident reaching out to authoritative figure or asking for chances or opportunities.
And this is how in a span of two weeks from my arrival I joined a research lab, became an It’s On Us team member to prevent sexual assault on campus, and got elected President of my Resident Hall Council.
Pfew that’s all folks! We hope you enjoyed this (little piece) series on America and Americans wonders and oddities.
LINK TO TALIA’s POST HERE
Talia is a 22 year old bookworm who is currently chasing her dream of becoming a forensic psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in New York. Originally, she is from Florence, Italy, where she lived all her life up until two months ago and with the exception of a semester of debauchery in Denmark (just kidding 😉). Only child of two musicians, she has also a diploma in flute, although she’d rather play the guitar to decompress. She started reading romance novels at the ripe age of 15, when the Night Huntress series came knocking on her door and demanded entrance in her heart. From there it was a slippery slope to the addiction it has now become (not that she regrets anything!). She (how weird is it to write about yourself in third person?! However…) also dedicated herself to writing, in both Italian and English, but hasn’t published anything because her perfectionism won’t let her. At the moment, she moonlights as a stripper in Las Ve… wait, no, as a graphic designer for indie authors.
Sophie is a forty something Belgian working mom of two teenagers.
Managing two teams at work and a crazy bunch at home furry ball included was not enough for her ADHD tendencies. She began blogging on a dare and does it like everything else with utter enthusiasm. She has lived her former life as a cat and is always landing on her feet even when her blog is crashing down. Wait , no! That’s her IT hubs mojo operating after she’s bribed him with her infamous …chocolate cake.
When she is not busy reading, writing reviews interviewing/stalking authors or clumsily following her feed you can find her on the treadmill, in the woods or in the kitchen baking for her posse.
Thanks for reading!