I have this theory that Europeans don’t quite get just how large America is.
This came to me after driving around Ireland. To me, going from one end of Ireland to the other wasn’t that big of a deal. It was sometimes just two to three hours of driving from one place to another. We were talking to an American living in Dublin, who told us how many of the Irish never even thought to drive anywhere, that it all seemed so far away. I found this humorous, as we regularly drive about fourteen hours to visit Josh’s family. Two hours is nothing in the car to us after that. But to them, it was a big deal.
I wonder how many Europeans miss out on all that is to be seen in their area of the world because traveling would be too difficult. Or maybe it’s all mundane to them? Is going from England to vacation along Spain’s sunny shores as normal as spring break in Florida to us? Is a castle just not exotic to them because they have them all over the place?
What I also don’t think they get is that Americans are not all one in the same. We have very distinctive regions and areas, and with those come distinct attitudes and lifestyles. New England is vastly different than the Deep South, from the landscape to the accents to the food served and house styles. New York City and Chicago are two major metropolitan areas with two very distinct feels to them. Southern Illinois is not the same as Northern Illinois. New Hampshire is a different world from New Mexico. I remember freshman year of college, we could pinpoint where in the U.S. a person was by what they called a water fountain (drinking fountain, bubbler) and sub sandwich (hoagie/grinder). Or if they said you all, y’all, yous guys or my favorite, y’uns. I once gave away my Chicago roots by saying “Do you want to come with?” – and until that moment, I had no clue that other areas of the country didn’t say that particular phrase.
So anyone visiting from Europe, keep in mind that what you may see on television and what is the reality are two different things. Don’t expect to go to the South and meet a New York attitude. No one goes over to Europe and expects each country to be the same. I think we all need to realize that the United States has just as many differences. Each state is not the same, which is one of the cool things about our country. There is truly something for everyone.