Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Experts

So I finally got my French passport - I don't really need one since I have my French ID card, but seeing as we Americans don't have ID cards, a passport is the only thing that makes it really real.

When the woman at the mairie du quartier handed me my passport she said, "Vous avez bien fait de quitter les Etats-Unis." You did well to leave the US. I looked at her a bit surprised because usually when I tell someone I'm from New York (it's just easier to explain than NJ), they say "so what are you doing in Lille? Which do you prefer? Oh, how sweet. You fell in love with a lillois."

So I'm thinking that maybe she just doesn't like George Bush, which is usually the next comment. I say to her, "So have you been to the US?" And she answers like she knows everything about the US. "Oh yeah, it was so dirty and noisy and the people are rude and there were police everywhere. It was really awful. I'll never go back." And I ask where she was. "We were in Miami for a couple days on our way to a cruise in the Caribbean".

Why is it that so many French people are experts on American culture (there is none), politics (W) and food (hamburgers)? I'm not even sure many people realize what a huge country it is and that not even Americans are experts on their own country. And how many French people actually know about their own coun try or Europe for that sake?! Grrr....


3 comments:

wcs said...

People are people. How many Americans do you know think they're experts on [name your topic] because they saw a tv show about it ? Add the 'tude, and you get "cheese-eating surrender monkeys." I remember people telling me to take toilet paper to France, because apparently the French used sandpaper if they used anything at all. And this from people who had never been outside the US in their lives.

We also get "why did you want to move HERE from San Francisco? I would love to live in SF..." a lot.

It's all perspective, non ? I think we just have to smile and be amused that the stereotypes still abound.

Congrats on the passport - that's cool.

Reb said...

sandpaper...that would explain a lot.

Deb said...

I guess she was in a really crappy part of Miami. I'm from the Ft. Lauderdale area and Miami is nice for the most part....especially South Beach.

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