Tuesday, April 15, 2008

American Friends

It's funny the view that a lot of people seem to have of American folks. I've found myself having to really re-educate people since I came back from the US, on what American people are really like. Almost every time I talk about my holiday, either people are surprised at how warm, giving, intelligent and open I found everyone on my trip, or they make some kind of quasi-joking comment about how American people are stupid, narrow minded, rude, crass, pushy etc, which I then have to correct.

I guess a lot of people's perspective of the American people comes from television and movies, their Government (which truly does suck - sorry my American friends!) or that very narrow band of the population that travels outside of America. And it's a sad reality that travel outside of the United States is limited to a very small percentage of the American people.

Would you believe that I found American people far more friendly and warm than I often find people here at home in Australia? That could be because I was a visiting Australian, a bit of a novelty to most folks over there though, but I didn't feel so. I just felt that people were very friendly and warm, certainly most welcoming - I can't tell you how many homes I was made feel very welcome at, especially at Christmas time, which was a great honour for me - and while I do believe the American people don't have the luxury of the broad range of world news as easily at their fingertips as we do, (American news is atrocious - hardly mentions anything outside of the US, even when HUGE events happen!) when information is made available to them, they are a curious and interested. American people often get accused of being ignorant, but I personally believe that it is more a problem of insulated, rather than ignorance. The information just isn't there as readily available as it is here in Australia.

In fact, there was only one place that I found people rude. And strangely enough, this was the same place that those very people suggested that I may be uncouth for using a knife and fork "British style" (I can't find photos of the difference!) yet not once in the time I stayed with them, did I hear the words Please or Thank-You, and one night at a restaurant they were so embarrassingly rude and childish that I slipped the waitress $20 as we left and a profuse apology, and she replied "Oh, you were LOVELY!" I was mortified at their behaviour. And that was only one incident of several.

Everywhere else, even New York City, I found people to have beautiful manners, genuinely friendly, open and honest, fascinated with new information, generous and welcoming and hilariously funny.

It was delicious, and I made friends that I will have for the rest of my life.


Scott Hughes said...

I'm American but I can't compare Americans to other people because I've barely ever been out of the country. But I suppose there's nice people and mean people in every country. Anyway, I'm glad you had a good time here.

VivC said...

Thanks for defending us! I so wish we could have met...I guess I need to have a big Australian adventure someday!

To get worldwide news here, we watch BBC.