“Notre pays c’est le monde”
“Our country is the world”
As a French guy there is a few stuff that surprised me in the USA :
- The amount of food you have to buy when you go to the grocery store. You literally have to buy half a gallon when you need a quarter of it because it’s the freaking same price !
- How many 4by4 everyone possess here. It’s like the national sport, the more you got, the more you’re American !
- The fact that everyone talk to everyone else all the time and in any given situation. Even in the grocery store, cashiers talk to me all the time asking stuff about my life even if we never met before.
- Fast food… Fast food everywhere (you saved my life as I was starving so many time and you fed me. God bless you, American Fast Food !).
But, more than everything else, the first thing that I did found really surprising is the amount of flags that country display. They are as common as bakeries in Paris or kebabs in Marseille. They, by far, outnumber the French flags in France.
And that assertion, goes as a tandem with another one. When I share my surprise concerning the few point exposed before, I always got the same damn answer :
“Hey man ! It’s America y’know !”
Which make me feel like France is part of the third world. The thing is, American are freaking proud of their country and life style.
As a comparison, let’s talk about France. You’ll barely see any French flag. Only outside of : public institutions, monuments, at a “international something” with a bunch of other flags, at a tourist place, on the 14 of July or any other manifestations or strikes. If I was to proudly display a French flag in my yard, I would feel like a freaking extremist and live in fear. I would feel like one of those people from the far right. Displaying a flag in France when you have no reason to do it, is to ostracize other people that don’t fit into the same culture or just partially. Other flags from other country are fun but, the French one, in France, is a serious one. The reason is : why would like to show off your French proudness since you’re in France. Everyone know that already, right ?
This probably come from scars due to some dark part of our history linked to discrimination based on the nationality… But regardless of that, I feel like the younger generation feel less and less French and more and more European. Less parochial or centered around their own country. I actually was thinking that a country is now necessary just because we are use to, but, technically, people don’t give a fucking flying shit. I mean, do you feel like your country is truly, deeply important to you ? So do you feel better than someone else because you came from a country and he came from an other one ? If yes, you are an ass but since it’s no, then why care for such thing as a country ?
I agree that food, culture, accent and stuff are super funny and it is worthwhile to have them. I love it ! That’s one of the funniest thing in life. But they don’t need such a thing as a country. They just need a community and, if a country does include a community, a community doesn’t need to be a country.
As a French I fundamentally don’t trust governments. I’m easily sarcastic, caustic and critic about all the “governmental doings”. So first of all I was really surprised, and a little bit shocked, by the profusion of patriotic symbols, here, in the USA.
And then I realized.
It’s not ostracism. It’s not to show off that they are better than you (well a little bit…).
It’s just that they ARE proud of their country in the plain old good sense. They love being American and feel like the most powerful country in the world. They love having big cars and buy a lot of food because that show and prove to them that they are a wealthy country. Their country is still a country of hope and dream where everyone want to be. They don’t give a damn about other opinion regarding their county because they don’t need to. What, at first sight feel like aggression for me, is just part of their displaying of happiness.
Actually, looking at that last paragraph, they are pretty similar to French people ;).
Ho and screw that, American are part of the friendliest people I’ve met. And I freaking love fast food anyway !
PS : sorry for the double post. Got to familiarize myself with WordPress.