Americans

Keeping a long distance relationship healthy in between the visits is hard. I’m not exactly sure how we’ve been doing this for 2 years, and how we keep wanting to do it for the next 3 months. Apart, you are more apt to miscommunication, arguments, fear, doubt, insecurity…. you catch my drift. Now this is true with all long-distance relationships, add in the fact that he is German and I am not, and this gets different. Here is one thing that foreigners and even some Americans don’t understand- there are many different kinds of Americans.

There are Southerners, Mid-Westerners, Westerners, and Northerners. I am a Northerner, and worse yet, a New-Englander. Yes in the end we are all Americans, but most of you know that the differences are substantial. New-Englanders are colder, we don’t go around hugging people or saying hello to everyone, we aren’t known as the kindest people at all. We are very loyal people, however it takes a long time for us to know, accept, and befriend you. When you ask us where we are from we say our state or our main city, never our town; many jokes have been made that New Englanders act as if we are in part of the witness protection program. We have our own slang, and we generally believe we are superior to most people, especially the Southerners whom we poke fun at in our evening news.

Now when foreigners meet you for the first time, they don’t seem to understand these differences, we are after all just Americans; overweight, greasy-food eating, loud, big hair, quite daft, and prone to smiling too often. This may be the case in some places and with some people, but I think the same goes for any country in the world.

My German seems to think I’m less American than most Americans, which I don’t think is fair to say. However, in Ireland most Irish were surprised I was American as well. Which leads me to think that American stereotypes are what most foreigners believe to be true. When I said oh I’m from Boston in Ireland, I had more than a few Irish people say, ahhh so you’re Irish? This is acceptable considering Boston is a predominant Irish city and yes, my Mother was Irish. Although being half black, it’s a funny conclusion to jump to.

I’m as American as every other American, but I grew up in New England, and although I don’t seem like a stereotypical American, most people need to understand that there is no such thing as one type of American. That is all I’m saying.

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3 thoughts on “Americans

  1. You’re right, there are many types of Americans (it’s a big enough country after all). But your description of ‘your type’ cleaves pretty well with the typical description of a “typical German” (although there are also many types of them). This may be why your guy feels you’re less American and more German than most, and probably helped you two connect.

    Moving over here ten years ago, it took a while to unlearn the expectation that people smile when they make eye contact or share a lot of information with perfect strangers (I’m Northern Californian) or are superficially really friendly with people they never intend to see again. Now when I go back to the US I’m often taken aback by the very traits I used to exhibit.

    I’ve come to really appreciate German honesty, which includes not being overly friendly by default, but rather polite and pleasantly distant until eventually, gradually they get to know and befriend you. Luckily you say you’re like this too and so won’t be easily frustrated by the time investment needed to make German friends. 🙂

    Good luck with your prep, even after about ten years living in Germany is still a learning experience and in many ways an adventure.

  2. I think the “typical” American that foreigners think of is one that says Howdy and has guns, which just screams Texas. The irony is that most Americans only know of Bavarian Germans when they think of Germany. Bavaria and Texas are the over-the-top examples of each culture and both have a history of not wanting to be in the country.

  3. Currently in a long distance relationship with a VERY German German 🙂
    My story is very much the same…and right now I am having one of those “hard” days 😦
    I stumbled across your blog today and I would just like to say thank you!
    It’s put a smile on my face and given me HOPE.
    Because as frustrating as he is…he is the love of my life as well! 🙂

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