I know that you haven’t heard anything from me a very long time. As I told you in my last very short article I’ve been on a trip to the USA travelling across California, Nevada and Arizona. Of course I have a lot of subjects about which I would like to talk about. In my today’s article I’m going to compare the USA to Europe. When thinking of the USA many of you might think of positive things like Hollywood, careers being born and wealth. They say that you either love or hate the USA and that you will hardly find anyone who has no opinion about the USA or the American culture. But does something like an American culture actually exist?
USA – The whole world in one country
After having arrived to the USA I realized one big contradiction about this country. On the one hand it seems that the USA are a culturally and linguistically homogenous country as everybody speaks English which became the most dominating language in the world on the other hand all things we see as typically American actually have their origin in Europe or anywhere else in the world. That’s why I actually started this blog article with the question who actually tries to copy who. When going to a supermarket anywhere in Europe you will find American cookies, American pizza, American ice-cream, American burgers, American drinks … But is this originally American? I don’t need to explain to you that pizza has been brought by Italian immigrants to the USA and that it’s not the same one you will get in Italy. The Italian are also famous for their ice-cream which became famous all over the world. Burgers are originally German. The huge meatballs served between two big pieces of bread called hamburger are named after the German city of Hamburg. A very confusing example are the French fries which actually are not French but Belgian. And if you are in Belgium I recommend you to try the fries in Brussels near Atomium.
The American ignorance about Europe
During my trip to the USA I was really surprised in a negative sense about the American ignorance about Europe. They told me that in California many schools don’t even offer history and geography as usual school subjects. And believe me you even realize that in everyday’s life. I already listed the example of the French fries and started talking about American food so I will continue with some more examples. In California there’s a very popular fast food chain called Wienerschnitzel. And do you know what they offer? No, not schnitzels but hotdogs. I don’t know whether there are some people from Austria following my blog but imagine that many American people think that Austria and Switzerland are indeed cities in Germany. In California you will also find German influences especially near Los Angeles. Anaheim is famous for its Walt Disney movies but few people know that it has been founded by German immigrants before. There’s even a small German village near Anaheim where you can sometimes hear people speaking German and shops selling German sausages, mustard, sweets, newspapers and magazines. This reminded me of my trip to Bavaria and Munich many years ago.
And Halloween which many people consider as a typically American holiday is originally not an American holiday but an Irish and religious one. I already wrote about it in one of my articles about Ireland. This kind of holiday has been brought to the USA by Irish immigrants during the so-called Grand Fame.
The USA as a favourite destination to live
I often hear especially younger people saying that their biggest dream is moving to the USA and making a career in California or Las Vegas. To be honest I don’t dream about it at all although I liked my trip and I learned many things about the USA I didn’t know before. I appreciate the American for their optimism and their candour and openness. But I miss the historical cities which I know from my trips to Italy, Croatia, Germany or Poland. In comparison to Europe the USA are kind of artificial. Another thing which really surprised me especially in California is the fact that you spend the most time on the highway as you will need over an hour even of you want to go from Anaheim to Los Angeles Downtown. By the way the urban structure of American cities is completely different than that of European cities. They don’t have a city centre like you will know t from London, Paris or Rome.
However the USA are worth a trip as you will get to see things which you will hardly find in Europe namely some natural resources like the famous Grand Canyon. I’m going to talk about it in my next blog article. So stay tuned!