@ellie-b: Oh too bad I only see this now. Did you start this after my Germany-associations-post? 🙂
Ok, so you wanted the whole truth, right? lol …
I LOVE your endless shopping possibilities. I don’t know whether there’s another country in the world that has your concept of outlet malls. We have copied it but only have a very few in Germany and they suck as far as I know. Also your level of discounts. A friend that has never been to the US said maybe it’s a good thing she’s never been there because she heard it totally ruins your fun shopping at home. And it’s true. When we have a sale, it will be like 30% off and if we get lucky, there will be 50% off sometimes. I have the feeling when I’m in the US, there is always some sale of sorts going on. For every holiday, there is one (and your shops are open, then, too!) and you get like 50% off on an already discounted item plus your coupon so at the end you pay peanuts. I think most of my wardrobe has actually been obtained in the US haha.
And you really know how to entertain! Comedy, tv shows, Hollywood, musicals, … So good, so funny, so exciting.
Your country is so huge and diverse. And such pretty landscapes. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to the west coast, but DH and me would love to take a road trip there once. Also I just instantly think of NYC when I think of the US and I absolutely love that city. I’ve been 9 times (including 2 or 3 work-related trips, though).
I think in the US, the “American dream” is still possible, going from dishwasher to millionaire. (Not saying for everybody, but the notion that it’s possible and you’d try for it and one or the other still succedding, that’s great.)
You guys are so friendly. Germans working in the “service” industry? Oh boy … with some people, you really do wonder. Also outside of the service industry, just your average American is so nice. Some Germans say “yeah, but they’re so superficial” but to be honest, when I’m new somewhere, I appreciate someone being friendly albeit a bit superficial much more. Granted, it was difficult to make “real” friendships that wend a bit deeper when I was a high school student, but at least I didn’t have to eat lunch by myself 🙂 Here, I guess people would actually care for you more BUT only after a very long time to get to know you, in which you’d be stuck with yourself. So yeah, I prefer the “superficial” friendliness.
Also I love some of your food. Maccaroni and cheese, yumm! But the home-made one. The KRAFT mac and cheese with the orange “cheese”? Disgusting, I don’t know how any adult would love himself so littel to eat this. So yes, my feelings toward feed are very ambivalent. There’s such great choice and food fom all over. There’s this fantastic place in Brooklyn, I think it’s Lebanese and too tasty.
But despite having these endless opportunities, Americans seem to stick with their fast food (the bigger the better – as someone pointed out, our “large” coke is a small one in the US) and they LOVE chain restaurants, which I feel is a pity.
Also, on a related note, obesity is definitely a major problem of Americans. And it seems there is so little in between because a ot of Americans are also really athletic. Here, you see much more let’s say “average” people, whereas in the US I think of either toned up people on Malibu beach or wherever it is that they exercise half-naked 😉 or really fat.
And it doesn’t seem to bother people too much. Also here on the bee I read about how the obese people should love their body and be proud or how it’s really in people’s genes and what not. You can argue about whether you think it looks pretty or not but it’s simply really bad for your health. There’s no arguing with that. So while I support being comfortable with who you are, I think it’s wrong to settle with being so overweight.
Leading me to the healthcare system. Need I say more than WTF?
Same with gun laws. WTF?
Generally, I think for a country that thinks it’s so darn progressive, some basics are pretty far behind: workers’ rights (your vacation days from what I heard mostly are a joke), women’s rights (maternity leave, child care, ABORTION jeeze what’s up with the pro-life movement, seriously WTF?). Also the US seems to think of itself as being so open and tolerant, but then when it comes to being tolerant not only to people who think like you anyways, I think it fails. Taking gay rights for example. It shocks me!
And that all in the name of God. Same as with education. I can’t believe there are schools where it’s not allowed to teach evolution. WTF??????
And politics. How can religious have so much say in a secular system? The tea party movement scares me to death. Politics can seem really crazy to us anyway. The amount of money spent on advertisement during election? Craziness. You could seriously improve education, the health care system, etc. But no. You chose to throw money out of the window for serious shit storms, even within your own party (and after that is done you are one happy family to throw shit on the opponent party…).
The notion of America being the greatest country is also a bit irritating. As is the – I think someone called it naivety – with regards to other countries. The level of ignorance I have encountered when it comes to other countries? OMG. Also it seems to me that many Americans don’t like to travel abroad. Granted, the US is a huge country, but it’s still the same country with more or less the same culture. Expose yourself to something completely different to open your horizons, go somewhere where you don’t speak the language. And no, I am not talking about Cancun. Go to a place where other foreigners are not like: “I would never go there, that place is full of Americans” 😉
I was living in the US for a year during 9/11 and the attitude towards anyone foreign that they thought could be the axis of evil, holy moly. I remember somebody coming to church (!) with a t-shirt like those that you get of rock bands for their concert tours that was for a anti-terror tour with about 100 countries on it and a plan to bomb them all to the ground. It’s like anything that started with an “A” was on it because if Afghanistan is evil, Azerbaijan might as well be, never really heard of it anyways so it must be some backward, terrorist country, right?!
I hope I didn’t offend anyone, but you asked for honest opinions lol. And of course I know this doesn’t apply to everyone!