I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been seeing the whole “15 things European’s think the Americans are doing wrong”. I don’t give much credence to the list, but I do know that every country has people who are egotistical pricks who believe that where they are from is the only place that is right, and everyone else is wrong, and they love to pick on my country, yet get all butt hurt when anyone else (especially an American) says anything negative about their country or compares it to home.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW THINGS ARE DONE IN MY COUNTRY, THEN DON’T COME VISIT, AND YOU ARE OUT OF LINE TO TALK CRAP ABOUT IT. ONLY THOSE OF US WHO LIVE HERE CAN TALK SMACK ABOUT IT.
When you go and visit someplace new, especially some place as big as the United States, it’s going to be a culture shock. There are many different regions that have their own culture. The U.S. is huge, we have states larger than many European countries.
*to preface what I am going to talk about in the next paragraph, when I am talking about the UK, I am speaking in reference to the entire United Kingdom which includes: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland*
For example, there are 11 States that are larger than the United Kingdom, and the US is roughly 40 times larger than the UK. Alaska in and of itself is 7 times the size of the UK. The comparisons here I am taking into account is the total number of square miles / square kilometers. It’s weird to think that my home state of Oregon is larger than the whole of the United Kingdom. It’s weird to me, because Oregon about 1/3 the size of Texas and about 3/20 the size of the state of Alaska. Granted there are roughly 29 European countries smaller than the smallest state in the US, which is Rhode Island.
The US is a very culturally diverse country, and not at all like Europe. Even traveling around my own country, I have run into culture shock. New England is culturally different from the Urban core of the Pacific Northwest. Even within the states of Oregon and Washington, they are a bit different from each other, but even when looking at these two states, the I-5 corridor from Eugene to the south, up to the Canadian border to the north, are culturally and politically different from the rest of their respective states.
Because I am from Oregon I will use it as reference, the Willamette Valley, and Bend are very progressive and Liberal, while the rest of the state (especially Eastern Oregon, and southern Oregon is somewhere in the middle) is more conservative in terms of culture and politics.
I was just in Washington the other day, and every time I cross the river into Washington (because this part of Oregon and Washington is just separated by the Columbia River), and I have to remind myself that Washington has Sales Tax and that I have to pump my own gas. Those are two of the most obvious and biggest differences. Whenever I go to Washington, and stop at a store or restaurant, 99% of the time I don’t try to go through the process to not pay sales tax. Most of the time, I am not spending enough money to justify going through the hassle of not paying it. I am also of the mindset that, I chose to leave Oregon, therefore if I stop at a store or restaurant I should be supporting their economy, since I am not at home. Washington doesn’t have a state income tax, so their taxes come in through sales tax. It’s the way it works, and if I don’t like it, I shouldn’t have left Oregon. I am not going to be the prick who expects others to accommodate me when I am on their home territory.
In traveling around my own country, as well as British Columbia (Canada), I have learned to go with the flow, as they do things differently wherever I am going to. Just because things are done differently from where I come from, doesn’t mean they are wrong, and doesn’t give me the right (or entitlement) to force them to do things like we do where I come from.
Traveling is a huge learning experience, which will include some culture shock, and at times force you into new situations that are unfamiliar. If you didn’t want to experience a different way of life that was not totally familiar or completely different from your own, then you should have just stayed home, in your own familiar surroundings.