Michaela Merz

Being visitor in the USA

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Every now and then I am visiting the USA. Looked at from the outside, there are clichés, which should be buried.

Americans are fat

No, there are not! Sure there are places where there are more overweight people but during my last trips to San Francisco, Boston and New York this was not the case. I really had to make an effort to see at least a few of them. The majority was slim and keen to stay like this and also very well groomed. Every time again I am amazed how American women manage to have their hair perfectly done, with sensationally formed eyebrows, manicure and pedicure along a ten hours work day, children and one hour commuting trip per direction. My remark is not meant tauntingly but I admire them because I don’t manage it. The legs are shaved on both sides of the Atlantic and the only difference is that the ladies of the European business world also wear stockings in the summer and American women don’t.

Americans are only interested in their own country

Absolutely not true. I had the impression that they know much more about Europe than I about the US. A taxi driver in New York told me about the four official languages in Switzerland, a taxi driver in Boston presented me with an impressive economic analysis of the Euro zone, including the differences in Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland. And a man of Hispanic descent, who sat behind me in a local bus when I went to the Golden Gate Bridge, amazed me with his comments on right-wing extremist tendencies in various European countries. Ignorance looks different.

Americans are superficial

I have some really good, extremely reliable friends in the US. It is correct that I won them as friends (or they me, however one want to look at it) with cosmic speed. But they are SOOO NICE and SOOO helpful (in San Francisco anytime I looked at my map, someone was standing at my side offering help. For European standards this was almost frightening). I cannot resist their warm-heartedness. And an American hug is simply great because it is honest and not at all superficial.

Also the willingness to share and take people home to show and tell everything brings people together. They are nice, happy and helpful and it is really balm for the soul after the cool Europe.

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