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Where lies your world, how does its heart beat?

By onyxruby in Culture
Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 03:32:39 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

I know what things are like here where I live (US), and have talked to quite a number of people in Canada over the years, but would like to know what it's really like to live elsewhere in the world. While we get some fair coverage (not as much as I would like) of Western Europe and Australia, I know that such coverage is often unrelated to reality. So please enlighten me, where are people from, and what is your country really like? Would you live somewhere else if you could, and if so, why?

I have perceptions of what it is like to live in other countries, perceptions that I am sure are loosely right at best. For example, I live here in Minnesota US, which has an image of being constantly cold and snowy. This image has been widespread enough that I have known people to come here with winter coats in the middle of July (we had more days in the 90's F / 32-37 C last summer than Atlanta Georgia)!


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I live in
o US 39%
o Canada 13%
o UK 12%
o Australia 4%
o New Zealand 1%
o Western Europe 18%
o Asia 0%
o Elsewhere (Fool! you missed my country) 8%

Votes: 174
Results | Other Polls

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o Also by onyxruby

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Where lies your world, how does its heart beat? | 105 comments (81 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
Blasted weather. (3.50 / 2) (#3)
by Inoshiro on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 03:47:41 AM EST

Right now, Saskatoon is -25 F. Last summer, we were at something like 112 F (eeach). I hate that. The stupid prairies always have the worst extremes.

[ イノシロ ]
I love it (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by Betcour on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 05:22:19 AM EST

I did my end of studies internship in the CS departement of the UoS, and I loved the weather there (especially winter - I don't get enough snow where I live). Just wish there was something to do in Saskatoon - anything at all. I'd like to come pack on a visit trip but there's hardly any justification for being a tourist there.

[ Parent ]
Come see the flat. (none / 0) (#99)
by Inoshiro on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 06:23:52 PM EST

It's so flat, you don't know you have a fear of heights until you visit Drumheller. :) You could see K5's mail and DNS servers, as they're here too.

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
BLASTED weather? (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by mikpos on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 01:07:32 PM EST

I agree with the other poster: the weather in Saskatoon rocks. I'm stuck in Calgary right now, where the weather is absolutely horrid. Basically, October through March is comparable to Saskatoon's autumn; April and September are comparable to Saskatoon's summer; and June through August are just too hot to think about (I consider myself fortunate I don't like in Texas). And the relative humidity here is about 5%. When it's raining! (ba-dum ching).

I'm a winter person, which I guess is why I like Saskatoon so much. You have real winters there, with snow and everything.

By the way has Saskatoon's summers been especially dry the past couple years or something? I went back to Saskatoon for the summer and noticed that river was pretty low :(. I also noticed that the overpass at Circle and 8th is finally done -- lame :P

[ Parent ]

texas isnt so bad... (none / 0) (#62)
by rebelcool on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:21:23 PM EST

except maybe houston. hot armpit where the wind doesnt blow the humidity away..

Besides, every building and car has A/C so its really not that bad... here in austin it's windy and somewhat dry for the most part, keeping it comfortable, though occasionally over 100 in the summertimes.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

I've found.. (none / 0) (#101)
by Inoshiro on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 06:29:37 PM EST

That for every "cold" area where people go from building to car to buildng in heated comfort, there is a machting "hot" area where the same happens in A/C comfort.

I prefer the cold, though, because all I need to do is shiver or put on another layer. Heat is harder to get rid of than to conserve :/

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
I hate the cold. (none / 0) (#100)
by Inoshiro on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 06:27:57 PM EST

A little snow is nice, but the windchill (because of the vaunted Flat) and the extremes of -30 C make me not enjoy it. I visted my father who lives in a tropical climate, and I would hate to have it warm all the time. But I like *moderate* winters. Not monkey -= brass_balls weather.

Walking to the univerity for 15 minutes in that weather is /not/ fun. Chinooks and the moderate winters are why I want to move to Calgary (my birth city).

The funniest thing about that overpass are people who take the exit, go straight through the intersection, and get back onto circle. There's /no/ reason to do that (all you do is slow down). Yet you'll see tire tracks of people who've done it, and occasionlly see one of these retards. These are the people who found a traffic circle too hard to understand, I guess, and this overpass just makes them less of a menace to everyone else :)

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
hah we should trade places (none / 0) (#103)
by mikpos on Sun Feb 03, 2002 at 12:40:16 PM EST

When I went to the U of S I had to walk a few blocks during the winter (because my bus let me off on Clarence). It was even worse in high school when I had to walk 15-20 minutes each way across this huge open park. I remember one morning they said it was -76C with wind chill (mind you this was before they revised the wind chill equations -- I think it was only -39C or something ignoring the wind). I still walked every day, and even went home for lunch every day. I guess I just really like the cold :)

By the way I seem to recall you being in one of my CS30 class in high school (WMCI). Were you the one who somehow pissed off Mr. Ruo and he started yelling at you "just get the hell out of here" or something like that? Ahh, memories :). I'm probably thinking of someone else.

Seriously, though, it seems we should trade places. While I wasn't born in Saskatoon (I lived my baby- and toddler-hood in the Qu'appelle Valley), Saskatoon is really my "home town" as it were. I'm starting to think that maybe it's not the cold weather I miss so much as some sort of irrational longing for the hub city. Mind you a little humidity in the air every now and then would be nice :)

By the way the funniest thing about Saskatoon weather I remember was in grade 12 (this would be the winter of 1997-1998 I guess) when a couple of German exchange students joined my HIST30 class. The whole time they went on and on about the snow and how they never got any snow in Germany, and how much they wanted to see snow. I guess it was a particularly dry winter and we didn't get any real snow when they were there (January I think?), just a bit of dust covering the pavement. Then on the day their plane left to go back to Germany, we got a blizzard.

Also, about the overpass thing: it did kind of freak me out when I went back there and saw it. I understand they're building an overpass at Circle and 22nd as well? It's weird because when I lived in Saskatoon, the only thing remotely resembling a freeway was that bit from the Circle highway to Idylwyld, which wasn't much of a freeway at all. But now, it's all changed; it's like they're turning into a major city. It's annoying because to some degree I visit Saskatoon to get away from Calgary and those evil Calgary freeways (or "trails" sorry).

Okay, a bit long and something more suitable to a personal e-mail. But what the hell do I care. I think my trusted user status is undeserved anyway ;)

[ Parent ]

Try South Florida (none / 0) (#75)
by Blue Aardvark House on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 09:52:48 AM EST

After our early January cold snap, it's roughly 70 degrees F when I wake up in the morning.

People have misconceptions about Florida, though. People think it's always warm, and there are no seasons. There are definite seasons, particularly in North Florida, where it can occasionally snow a little. Even down here on the Southside, it gets drier and cooler, and as I've mentioned earlier the occasional cold sanps leading to near-frosty mornings.

Even in the summer, we rarely hit 95 degrees down here and almost never 100. People think it's blazing hot down here, it's hot, but very consistently so. But a lot of times it's hotter in my old hometown, New York City.

[ Parent ]

Sounds nice.. (none / 0) (#102)
by Inoshiro on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 06:30:00 PM EST

Too bad about the Jebb Bush thing ;-)

[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Asia is not a country (1.14 / 7) (#4)
by SPasmofiT on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 04:01:37 AM EST


good for you (3.66 / 3) (#5)
by 31: on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 04:15:20 AM EST

neither is western europe. are you seriously voting this down due to the poll? Also, that option for an 'editorial' post is there for a reason. It helps to read a site for a while before you speak too loudly.

[ Parent ]
Do you even know what "editorial" is? (none / 0) (#43)
by scanman on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 03:02:14 PM EST

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

France! (4.72 / 11) (#6)
by fraise on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 04:22:47 AM EST

Thank you for bringing up a subject on which I hope to see plenty of comments! As for my own:

I'm an expatriate Oregonian (Oregon is a state on the US West Coast, for ye who know not) currently living in France, I also lived two years in Helsinki, Finland. I've been in Europe for five years straight now. My partner in life is French, my degree is in French, and I've spoken French since age 12, so I consider myself pretty well-versed in all things cross-cultural having to do with France.

I have to disagree a bit with the "fair coverage" of Western Europe - whereas Britain gets plenty of coverage, I get real tired of the one-sided, negatively biased US media coverage of France. They all, for the most part (I'm ignoring some exceptions, forgive me), give an incredibly flat picture of French opinion: ie, "the French hate McD*n*ld's". When I read editorials on "European" opinion, they almost always start out with "As seen in the British tabloids..." and usually throw in their token reference to "those arrogant French". I've lived here for a long time, and I've never had a problem with any French person, other than bankers.The French are not arrogant, they are opinionated; they are not ashamed of their opinions, and they are open to different ideas. When treated with respect, they return it. The only time I've seen French people be rude is when they have good reason to be - keep in mind that France leads the world in tourism, and when you get 125% of your country's population in tourons, your collective temper can get a bit short! (I can really vouch for this living in a city that happens to get twice its population in tourists - summer is hell!)

All in all, I love it here - the word "debate" still means something for the majority of people, and respect for others is of great importance (the link is to the Minister of Education's program on teaching respect in schools and thus reducing school violence, and it's working). Would I live somewhere else if I could? Well, I used to live in the US, and I moved to France because I could :) Why? The only things sacred to the French are humanity and food. Whenever they see those values getting trampled on, they speak up, they disagree, they agree to disagree, and then they do something about it. It can be chaotic, weird, and sometimes hilarious (like when the bankers went on strike this January 1st because they supposedly didn't have enough time to prepare for the Euro - they had three years and everyone laughed them out of their strike), but above all it's a country for humans by humans, and I like that.

For those interested in French news on the rest of the world, use your automatic translator (argh! :) or your high school French on these links:
Le Monde, the most widely-read French newspaper
Libération, left-leaning yet mainstream and a constant reference in investigative reporting (TV news programs here almost always get stories from Libération).

Guess you're lucky. (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by j1mmy on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 10:03:29 AM EST

Many summers ago, I went on a high school trip to various parts of Europe. During the three days we spent in/around Paris:

  • Our bus was hit by a reckless driver, who tried to blame our bus driver (our bus wasn't even moving).
  • While venturing into the suburbs around our hotel, myself and another guy came across a group of French youths that started yelling at us and throwing chunks of asphault in our general direction.
  • A group of girls was accosted by another group of French youths, whose english was limited to asking them for sexual favors.
Not everybody's experience in France is the same as the one I had. The trip was still fun. We spent a day wandering the Louvre and other days doing other touristy things. I even ate at a McDonald's in Paris!

[ Parent ]
Re: Guess you're lucky (5.00 / 3) (#31)
by jacoplane on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 12:08:36 PM EST

A group of girls was accosted by another group of French youths, whose english was limited to asking them for sexual favors

And of course youths in other countries would never think of doing something like this to pretty foreign girls.

[ Parent ]

you win. (nt) (none / 0) (#57)
by j1mmy on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 08:53:36 PM EST

[ Parent ]
dictionary says: (none / 0) (#52)
by sunyata on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 05:55:21 PM EST

One entry found for xenophobia.
Main Entry: xe·no·pho·bia
Pronunciation: "ze-n&-'fO-bE-&, "zE-
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin
Date: 1903
: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't call it lucky (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by Karmakaze on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 11:24:24 AM EST

I spent three months in France as an exchange student. I spend time both in Paris and in St. Nazaire (which is astonishingly like Hoboken, actually).

I did not have a problem with rudeness, either in the country or in the city. I did have a strange man follow me through the streets of Paris asking me if he could buy me a cup of coffee and being a little more persistant than I like - but, that happens to me in New York, too.

I have to wonder how much of the reason people think the French are rude is that, by and large, tourists are rude, and the natives just reciprocate.

[ Parent ]

Bonnie Scotland (4.00 / 3) (#7)
by gromgull on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 04:37:37 AM EST

I live in Aberdeen in Scotland. (And no, we still do not get "affectionate with sheep" as someone suggested last time I mentioned aberdeen)

It is fairly grey and rainy here, but not as cold as Norway where I used to live. Btw. Scandinavia really should have been a poll option, I have the feeling lots of scandos hang out here...

I tried to think of anything else to say about the "culture" of scotland but failed, I can only ramble on about highlands, whisky, kilts etc,etc.
If I had my way I'd have all of you shot

sheep (4.60 / 10) (#13)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 06:14:30 AM EST

And no, we still do not get "affectionate with sheep" as someone suggested last time I mentioned aberdeen

This is true; they brutally fuck them.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

I hate stereotypes, but... (5.00 / 3) (#22)
by ambrosen on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:13:02 AM EST

Thus spake the Welshman.

Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]
That's because (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by wiredog on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 08:34:45 AM EST

So many Scots moved to the Western USA. "Utah. Where men are men, women are women, and the livestock is paranoid."

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
I think it's an interesting subject.... (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by morkeleb on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 07:39:07 AM EST

and maybe this is just because I just finished watching Salvador and am in the middle of this Philip Caputo novel on the Vietnam war, but I would rather here from people who have experience living in countries that are currently falling apart or have fallen apart in the past. Or who lived under fairly repressive governments for significant portions of their lives.

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
England and Canada (5.00 / 3) (#17)
by czth on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 08:27:46 AM EST

I think it's pretty difficult to write about a whole country, culture, and way of life in a comment. There's some things you can only experience if you've been there. There are some things I'll only know I need to explain, and how to explain them, if I've been somewhere like where you live.

I was born in England (Hillingdon, a "borough" of London, just a short tube ride from London) and we moved to Canada when I was nine. Since I was too young to know much about politics and jobs and university when I left, perhaps I'm a little starry-eyed about the UK; I would like to go back sometime (still have dual citizenship, Canada doesn't make you give it up like the US does). I remember there was way less snow, and somewhat more rain. I remember that kids are absolute fiends to people that are different (British accent and no tolerance for the crap music most of them listened to), even if you do have the same skin colour as them.

Most differences between the UK and Canada to me are fairly superficial. I live in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, not too far from Toronto, an area with strong English roots. Different street signs (also miles vs. kilometres), but at least Canadians have a good grasp of spelling unlike our southern neighbours. More snow in Canada (beats me why Canadians haven't learned to hibernate yet). I skipped a grade when I came to Canada, I don't know if that means British schools are superior, or if it was just me. I find North Americans fairly ignorant, but I'd probably find that a trait of people in general if I went back.

Also the UK has a special "small" natural beauty of its own; Canada has the towering forests and mountains and lakes and all that, but Britain has gardens and thatched cottages and depth of history that makes the Americas in comparison a mewling infant.

I'm considering a move to the US right now, though, because I've got a good lead on an interesting job there (as opposed to the present one), the pay is good, and the weather warm. I would like to go back to the UK sometime - to hike in the beautiful Lake District and explore the old castles and historical sites and walk around the City of London and return to the place where I grew up.


Snow (none / 0) (#29)
by ParadigmShift on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:11:49 AM EST

Ha! I hope you're ready for it. =)
We're supposed to have a doozy of a storm in the next few days. Last night's freezing rain was only the beginning.
I'm only a little ways away from Toronto myself.
The UK sounds like it would be a great place to live. I spent some time in Quebec last summer, and visited Old Quebec City. It has a very 'old world' feel to it, much like you describe the UK. I would DIE to live in a place like that. It does so much for the creative soul. When I came back, I had artist's block and couldn't paint or draw for a while. Heh, I think I left in those old cobblestone streets with the local artisans. ;)

[ Parent ]
Creative soul (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by miller on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 03:06:45 PM EST

You can always spot a tourist from North America because they're so impressed by anything over 300 years old.

Let me tell you, unless you're a stonemason or similar, one five hundred year old ruin is much like another. And proper cobbles are really awkward to walk on compared to paving slabs in modern shoes.

I can tell you that natural beauty is constantly more surprising and affecting, and a bustling city is more inspiring. Being unhurried is the most important thing and while you might say that it's easier to live slowly in the old world compared to the new, that's got nothing to do with the fact that we've got a few ruins dotted about that we never got round to knocking down.

It's too bad I don't take drugs, I think it would be even better. -- Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]

impressed? (none / 0) (#65)
by ParadigmShift on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 12:23:22 AM EST

I'm not impressed, persay.. More like, I feel more at home in a setting that feels very natural to me. Cobblestone streets and old buildings like that give me that feeling. It's a personal preference more than anything. Mix that with the country and you have the perfect setting. But, it's really a matter of perception.
You're right, to some, one ruin is no different from another. But I like to think each structure has a feel of it's own. They don't feel as manufactured as modern structures.
From someone who likes to draw, I can tell you that there is nothing more boring than sketching and painting modern buildings. A cube and some windows and you're done. There's no imagination in them. There's no life.
Modern buildinds are very practical things. And they reflect that. But with older buildings, you get a sense that they were created by mortal hands. They take on the life of their creator in a way.
Maybe I don't see the beauty in a 'bustling city' the way you do. It feels cheap and manufactured to me. But then, having grown up in a big city, I'm more likely to see them in the same way as another might see a 500 year old ruin. =)
It's just a matter of perception.

- cheers

[ Parent ]

Finland (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by Nickus on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 08:41:35 AM EST

I used to live in Finland. I decided to move to Germany after I had to shoot two polarbeers the same day. And it ofcourse always annoying when the penguins goes through your trash and spread it all out. I guess I could put some poison in it but then I probably would get some flame from the local Penguin Club.

No one can tell you how it is to live in another country. Just like no one can tell you how chocholate tastes. They can give you an estimate but then it is not the real thing.

Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
Nice try (none / 0) (#21)
by pattern on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:08:38 AM EST

Penguins are antartic.

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#23)
by Nickus on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:15:46 AM EST

We also don't have either polarbeer or polarbears ;-)

Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#104)
by Trimeresurus on Mon Feb 04, 2002 at 11:51:40 AM EST

I guess Lapin Kulta must be the closest thing on earth to "polar beer", though. :-)

[ Parent ]
They could be migratory.. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by jabber on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 10:17:50 AM EST

After all, if coconuts can migrate, why can't Polar bears or penguins?? They could have escaped from a local zoo, for example, or hitched a ride on a freighter, the way that T-Rex in Jurassic Park 2 did..

Hell, I'd probably leave my home in rural Connecticut if I had to shoot two Polar bears on the same day, and penguins kept going through my trash.. I wouldn't care if they're indiginous to the region or not..

Now, if someone were to say that they left their home in Zurich because of the rising sea level, I would damn well expect a credible explanation, but here, I have no problem taking it at face value.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Morjens (none / 0) (#48)
by dlade on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 04:44:48 PM EST

Hey, I know you! =)

So this is where you do all your talking? That explains why PostMan hasn't counted a single word from you this year...

Oh well, I shouldn't be writing stuff here, I'm only a lurker on k5 and wouldn't want to start off on a rant about how the british don't seem to have heard of insulation, how the trains are always suffering from delays when it's raining (which is actually less often than in stereotypical Britain, though it's always grey) or how I as a Swede see the Brits as people who actively seek situations where they get to apologise to people.

No, my writing is done on irc. =)

[ Parent ]
Canada Eh!? (1.50 / 4) (#20)
by ChiefHoser on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:00:16 AM EST

Um, yeah, I am not entirely sure what exactly you want to know so I will just say that from my perspective Canada is the greatest country in the world. For the most part it is inhabited by moderately intelligent people, although some idiots do live here. We are fairly respected around the world, and our scientists are in demand everywhere (but here it sometimes seems).

The only bad thing about living in Canada is that we are so close to America. While most Americans are pretty much the same as Canadians the most vocal of them are of the stupidest people on the planet. But over all, Canada is a great country and I wouldn't give it up for anything.

Chief of the Hosers
Oooh... (none / 0) (#59)
by Thaeus on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:05:06 PM EST

Mmm... Canada / US relations. I took an International Studies class last year and every single discussion ultimately devolved down into that quagmire. Gah, bad flashbacks of futility..

Anyways, complaining about our proximity to the US is futile because our histories are linked and if we weren't geographically next to them, Canada would be a completely different country. As for vocal Americans, well, as you said they're hardly representative of the population as a whole.

Tap tap tap

[ Parent ]
Ehn (none / 0) (#74)
by ChiefHoser on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 09:29:51 AM EST

Yeah, they are a vast minority, but it is still annoying. And you are right, Canada wouldn't have developed into Canada anywhere else but north of the States.

Chief of the Hosers
[ Parent ]
au/sing (3.75 / 4) (#24)
by G hoti on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:23:43 AM EST

Im an Australian living in Singapore at the moment and having a wonderfull time, Min tmp is about 25 at night and max is about 34 during day and this is the same all year, The thing I find strangest is that here the day lengths vary a total of 13 mins throughout the year.

I just love the atmosphere, Strolling down to the local hawker center (outdoor food court w/ very cheap good food) with a couple of friends and getting a complete feed for 2-4 dollars (1-2 us)

Living style is very diffrent to Australia and most western countries, 90% of the population live in whats' called HDB's (government subsidise houseing [Housing Development Board]) all these are high rise (mostly between 7 and 25 stories high, I live on the 20th floor, I find this very strange after my *quarter acre block* in AU w/ a single story and a big backyard (at least its easyer to mow here :)

I was brought here w/ my parents as an expat and as It was my last 2 years at school (k-12) I had a pretty large say over the move, Well I have to say it was the best decision I have ever made in my life, Living in Asia has to be the best experience I have ever had, Traveling to Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia and not just the main tourist points but the towns, national parks and hidden places untouched by the tourists.

I love it


Just to be a dick... (2.28 / 7) (#25)
by jabber on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:33:24 AM EST

I'd like to know what it's like to be a black lesbian. I can talk to some, and try to understand what it's like to be them. I would have to try to side-step my experience of being a straight white male, but I think I could get a pretty good idea. Ultimately though, I would never truly KNOW. I would never understand what it's like to be black, female or gay. At best, I could develop a profound appreciation of their purely subjective and individual experience.

To KNOW what it's like somewhere else, move. Otherwise you're just reading brochures.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Places I've Lived (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by jacoplane on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 12:04:39 PM EST

I've lived in a number of countries. I was born in the Netherlands, where I lived until I was ten years old. After that I moved to Geneva, Switzerland. After that I went to college in the UK, also doing a year in the US (San Francisco). Currently I'm back in Holland (Amsterdam). So, your question is, what is life like in these places? For me the biggest difference among these places is the attitude of the people.

When I was living in the UK, for example (near Coventry, studying at Warwick Uni), I found that most people there always had this depressed look on their face. Maybe it had something to do with the weather, I'm not sure. In any case, when everyone around you appears to be depressed, you tend to do so too! So I'm very glad I'm not there anymore.

Amsterdam is a great place to live. The only problem really is the tons of American tourists who come over here just to get really really stoned. But Dutch people are fantastic: there's a certain vibrancy in the air, I always feel like I'm in a special place. People are really open and willing to meet new people.

Switzerland is very different. When I'm here I can feel the tradition of the place. It's a very formal place. This is the land of bankers. The Swiss are very suspicious of foreigners (not all swiss of course, but many of them). This can be seen by the fact that Switzerland is not in the EU or the UN. It's not so much that they don't like foreigners, it's more that they'd rather be left alone. This is mirrored in their longstanding neutrality, even during World War II.

Switzerland... (3.00 / 1) (#47)
by Rk on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 03:54:02 PM EST

I am an Australian expatriot, from Kilsyth (outer suburb of Melbourne, I presume you know where that is) Victoria, Australia, currently living in Kloten (just outside of Zurich, Zurich's airport is only ~1.5 km from where I live) in Switzerland. I don't think there are too many Australian-Swiss dual nationals, though by some stroke of fate, when I lived in Australia, some neightbours up the street (2 houses up) happened to be Swiss too. Small world.

Geography: Since most Americans think of "cheese[1], chocolate[2], banks [and certain Jewish numbered accounts, with all the scandal that caused...] mountains... etc" when they hear the word Switzerland, a few brief facts about the land of the Alpenhorn (no, I have never seen one in my life) wouldn't go astray:

- About twice the size of Israel (~40,000 km^2)
- Landlocked
- ~7,200,000 residents, 19% of which are not Swiss (citizens)
- Smallest country in the world that implements federalism
- 4th wealthiest country, measured by GDP/capita (US is #2?!)
- Largest cities are: (urban population/+surrounding area) Zurich (365,000/991,000), Basel (178,000/410,000), Geneva (171,000/430,000), Bern (128,000/320,000) and Lausanne (don't know).
- Swiss cantons are equivilent to US states, there are 29 of them, 6 of them are only 'half-cantons'. Full cantons have 2 seats in the upper house of the Swiss parliament (Council Of States), 'Half-cantons' have only one. (they're 'half-cantons' because they were originally full cantons before they split into two)
- Zurich is the most populous canton, with 1.1 million residents, followed by Bern, which has 0.9 million residents. Appenzell is the smallest, with a population of about 15,000
- Has a militia army. (though so do Austria and some Scandanavian countries AFAIK)
- Has arguably the most extensive system of direct democracy.
- Bank secrecy: the one thing Switzerland is (in)famous for. The goverment does not know what you have in your accounts, and can't find out unless you are charged with a criminal offense that is somehow connected with the account.
- In Switzerland, tax fraud is not a criminal offense.
- Switzerland dates back to the 1st August, 1291 when the first three cantons, Uri, Schwyz & Unterwalden, formed a league of defense against the Hapsburg empire, which was generally hated by the Swiss in much the same way the Americans hated the British. Switzerland, like the US, never had royalty or an offical class system. It became neutral, in a military sense, in 1515, and in 1815 its neutrality was guarenteed by treaty.
- Since 1515, Switzerland has been attacked once, by Napoleon, who grounded the Helvetic Republic, a short-lived attempt at a centralist representative democracy a la France.
- Switzerland's direct democracy was only constitutionally guarenteed in 1868.

There is a big difference between the French-speaking and German-speaking parts of Switzerland (the Italian and Rumansch speaking parts of Switzerland are similar to the German speaking parts, from cultural and political view).

THe Frence-speakers tend towards joining the EU, accepting more immigrants, generally left-leaning politics. Germany speaking tend toward liberal (in the *European* sense) or conservative viewpoints. I don't get your point about Switzerland being formal - I don't find it terribly formal here.

BTW - There is currently is a referendum on the table which would have Switzerland join the UN. It looks like it will fail.

[1] I hate Swiss cheese.

[2] By some accounts, Belgians make better chocolate than Swiss do. Obviously someone is buying it, since Lindt & Sprungley made $1 billion US last year.

[ Parent ]
You forgot, (none / 0) (#68)
by fhotg on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 03:09:25 AM EST

that pot is decriminalized in Switzerland.
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
Not yet... (none / 0) (#83)
by Rk on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 03:10:38 PM EST

The proposal has been made, but it hasn't become law yet. It'll probably go through the parliament and then some conservatives will force it to a referendum. Methinks that it will be voted through, however.

[ Parent ]
My source says (none / 0) (#88)
by fhotg on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 05:49:17 PM EST

in pracitce however, there are already shops where you can buy, and growing or consumption will not get you punished. Just hope he's right, or else he might not return from there ...
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]
I agree mostly (none / 0) (#50)
by aphrael on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 05:31:04 PM EST

Amsterdam is a great place to live. The only problem really is the tons of American tourists who come over here just to get really really stoned. But Dutch people are fantastic: there's a certain vibrancy in the air, I always feel like I'm in a special place.

*grin* I've never lived there, but i've passed through as a tourist numerous times, and I largely agree. It's a wonderful city, energetic and fun; it feels like one of those places where things are *happening*, but everyone is very open and nice and friendly (even if they ignore my pathetic attempts to speak dutch). However, it's one of the worst places in the world to meet other travellers; most people are there just for the drugs or the prostitutes, and can't be bothered with the normal hostel-traveller-friendly routine, or with things like *gasp* going to museums.

Switzerland is very different. When I'm here I can feel the tradition of the place. It's a very formal place.

This depends. The cities certainly felt that way; geneve and zurich are among the most boring cities in europe. But i had the great fortune of spending some time in a village, guests of people who lived there; and the swiss, in that context, were *very* friendly.

[ Parent ]

...Zurich (none / 0) (#85)
by Rk on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 03:36:08 PM EST

I'm afraid I have to agree with you - Zurich doesn't *feel* like an interesting city. Kind of difficult to substantiate, but it might have something to do with conservative, somewhat boring architecture, lack of large parks. Nothing special or unique. It's primarily a business/industrial area that doesn't really cater for tourists. The problem being that it is difficult to say what makes a city appear vibrant and interesting.

(Geneva is probably better than ZH though)

[ Parent ]
Try again (4.40 / 5) (#32)
by WebBug on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 12:09:06 PM EST

Really. The idea behind this post is GOOD.
However, I think it would have been far better and engendered a much more interesting discussion if you had included some of our perceptions of other places to live.

It has been my experience that people living the US are, in point of fact, utterly clueless about what it is actually like to live in other countries, Canada included.

I have lived, at least breifly, in every province in Canada except PEI. I can tell you absoutely that Canada does not have a unified national "what it is like to live there".

I have traveled to only a very few other "places", Greenland, Iceland very breifly, Alaska, Hawaii, and several states in US mainland. It is my "perception" that living else where can only truly be appreciated by living else where. It takes a great deal of effort to be accepted into a new community and to actually understand the issues that affect daily life and determine long term life style.

A few words here and there aren't going to be meaningful.
-- It may be that your sole purpose is to server as a warning to others . . . at least I have one!
Wisconsin, USA (3.00 / 1) (#34)
by Signal 11 on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 01:06:07 PM EST

Temperatures are similar to Onyxruby's posts... however, it is quite a bit more windy. I don't know why, it... just... is. Lots of hilly terrain, and quite a bit of forest in central Wisconsin. Most of the population lives in small rural towns scattered haphazardly about the state. The political atmosphere is ultra-conservative, bordering on reactionary. Much of the area is farmland, populated by standard issue rednecks.

The only major metropolitan area is Madison, WI., claimed to be the most liberal (politically) area in the state. This town has zero nightlife. If you like drinking and watching movies, you just might make it. Parties don't happen. "NO CRUISING" signs are strewn across the downtown area. The city itself has an ancient trying-to-be-modern-but-failing feel to it. Many buildings are made out of solid concrete. The University is right next to downtown, if you are a student, this is good. The campus itself is spread over several miles, hilly terrain, and features old (and IMO, somewhat cool) brick buildings.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Madison the only major metropolis!?!? (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by tordia on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 03:05:16 PM EST

Madison has ~200,000 people, and maybe 350,000 with all the suburbs. What about Milwaukee? It's got about 600,000 people last I checked, and I think around 900,000 including the suburbs.

Granted most of the other cities are pretty small. Green Bay is the only other city with more than 100,000 people. I grew up in the 9th largest city (Eau Claire) and it has 60,000 people, but it's the second largest city in the western half of the state (behind Madison).

I agree the political landscape in the bulk of the state is pretty conservative. It makes sense that Madison is the most liberal area, though, because it's the state capital. However, in the last 4 presidential elections, the Democrats carried the state.

I lived in Madison for 4 years (college), and there were plenty of parties, granted they were college parties, but, hey, I was in college :) There's also plays, improv, comdey, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. I saw Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Moore, and Ralph Nader speak in Madison. Sure, most nights I went out, or otherwise hung out with my roommates, but the people are what made Madison great for me.

My biggest complaint with Wisconsin is that it is largley homogenus. When I was growing up, I think the minority population was ~2% of the state population. Milwaukee being the exception.

Also, I thought it was odd that the opening day of hunting season was a valid excuse for missing middle/high school, but I don't eat meat.

So, I guess YMMV.

[ Parent ]

Around the World (2.00 / 2) (#38)
by Damia on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 02:10:29 PM EST

First of all, re-submit and, as others have said, narrow the topic.

Secondly, I'm an American citizen, who is half-Dutch and I've lived (the Netherlands, Germany, and China) and traveled (most of Europe and Asia) all over the world. Honestly, you can't get a feel for other countries until you've lived there at least a month. When I was told I was going to move to China (after having lived in Europe and traveling around the continent), I had your stereotypical imagery pop into my mind, but once I got there it really changed for me. Not to mention after living there for 3 years.

Every nation has similar problems and similar living situations, it's just that the languages, the history, and the degree to which any problems/issues exist. If you want to correct stereotypes, ask someone from that country specific questions to figure it all out.

I'm currently attending college in Virginia, the state with the most wacko weather in the world. Any questions?

Unseasonably warm? (none / 0) (#90)
by Your Mom on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 07:04:40 PM EST

You mean it isn't normal to have 75 degree temps in January?

What school?

"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
[ Parent ]

Missing the sun now.. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by Damia on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 07:21:39 PM EST

Well, for Virginia, of course it's normal to have 75 degree weather in January, and then to have 45 degree weather the next day.

I'm attending one of the many supposedly snobby schools here in Va.

[ Parent ]
Very true... (none / 0) (#92)
by Your Mom on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 07:40:13 PM EST

Which is what they are saying for this weekend here. So much for fighting off this cold.

Well, you must not attend UVa, since they'll never admit to being snobbish. And everyone knows that nobody in Blacksburg is snobbish. So, I'm going to guess that you're at William and Mary, then (can you tell which Virginia school I graduated from last year? ;-))

"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
[ Parent ]

Hokie Tokie (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by Damia on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 10:18:17 PM EST

One of the millions of Northern Virginians to wear the maroon and orange of the castrated turkey I'm assuming?

Well, it's better than UVa at least.

[ Parent ]
*grin* (none / 0) (#95)
by Your Mom on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 10:32:49 PM EST

I'm not from Northern VA, I'm at least from Maryland. And who in their right mind would go to UVa?

"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
[ Parent ]
Wasting space... (none / 0) (#98)
by Damia on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 01:24:48 PM EST

UVa is a lovely school. I just decided not to go there because I didn't want to become another mindless sheep. God forbid that someone think independently!

[ Parent ]
Los Angeles, CA, USA (4.00 / 2) (#49)
by broken77 on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 04:48:54 PM EST

The weather is gorgeous all year round. It never rains, and is always sunny. Everyone here has a great body, and sex is free and plentiful. I don't even work, because naturally, I was discovered by a movie producer within a week of moving here. I make lots of money now doing almost nothing, and haven't had to work for 5 years. My days consist of going to the beach to work on my tan, meeting lots of scantily clad, sexy, easygoing women, then we go off and party till dawn, drinking, taking lots of drugs, and swimming in the pool (everyone has a swimming pool). Then we all end up in bed together. I generally party with Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon and Tommy Lee, just to name a few (although I of course know most of the stars). But that's only when I'm not travelling all over the world.

What's that you say? Riots? Compton? Watts? South Central? Gang-bangers? Traffic? Smog? Cholos? I don't know what you're talking about. I've never heard of those things. Pass me another margarita, please...

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz

OT - Onyxruby - where are you? (2.50 / 2) (#51)
by dasunt on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 05:33:31 PM EST

I'm up here in Itasca County, where are you?

Twin Cities (none / 0) (#96)
by onyxruby on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 11:35:56 PM EST

I live here in the Twin Cities, in the city that our governer was once mayor of. I have done a fair bit of camping up North when I was a kid (probably over a year if you added all such camping trips up). Beautiful country up there, and where else can you walk across the Mississippi and not get your knees wet? Even though I don't live up there, I very much identify that region with my mental imagery of Minnesota.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

I'm living in Atlanta (2.00 / 1) (#53)
by epepke on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 06:15:20 PM EST

I would like to live anywhere but Atlanta.

Places I've lived:

  • The City of New York, as a kid. It isn't a place for a kid, but I think I'd like it now.
  • Sarasota, FL. Nice place, close to paradise at times. A surpising amount of culture for a town that size.
  • Tallahassee, FL. A state government, 2.5 universities, and some Quonset huts. Still way better than Atlanta.
  • London, England. Very nice place for a city.
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Wonderful place, lovely people, as long as you stay away from all the Americans.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

Tallahassee (none / 0) (#61)
by cpt kangarooski on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:12:35 PM EST

I dunno... I grew up in Tallahassee, but it always seemed way too small and dull for me. Of course, whenever I tell people I grew up in Florida, they immediately think of palm trees, beaches, warm weather all year round, etc.

Tallahassee is of course landlocked, closer to Georgia than a beach, the only halfway decent city for hundreds of miles around, and is much more part of the South than a subtropical paradise. Heck, it snowed a little this winter.

Hell, most people couldn't even spell it (shame on their fourth grade teachers for not making them learn state capitals!) until the 2000 election.

It also has what may be the most phallic government building around.

Since then I've lived in Boston (awesome city), Seattle (doesn't get very cold, doesn't rain as much as people imagine), and New Jersey (every bit as bad as you think)

All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
I forgot Boston (none / 0) (#87)
by epepke on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 04:49:45 PM EST

Lived there for a while, actually, Cambridge, but basically the same thing. Nice place.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Atlanta (none / 0) (#76)
by salsaman on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 10:12:07 AM EST

I am curious. What don't you like about Atlanta ?

[ Parent ]
Salt Lake City, Utah (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by adamant on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 07:24:33 PM EST

I live in what is probably the place most unlike the United States: Utah. It's wierd here -- really. I had a friend who when he called me up to see if I wanted to go to Idaho to get beer would ask, "Hey you wanna drive up to the United States with me?"

It's not that bad, really. Well sometimes it is but most of the time it's not. I like having four seasons, I like to ski, I like to play outside. My kids are safe here. My Mayor used to be an ACLU lawyer (Go Rocky!). All and all it's not so bad. Better than when I lived in rural Utah. And the Olympics actually have me somewhat excited.


Tucson,Arizona, USA (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by R343L on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 07:33:05 PM EST

Tucson. I've lived in Arizona (Phoenix and then Tucson) for about 7 years. I've lived in Iowa, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Except for weather and variety of chain stores they've all been about the same (local politics, etc). The areas I've lived in, except for Phoenix, are all comparable size cities. The weather here is mild during the winter (rarely gets below 40F except at night, but the summers are kind of hot until you get used to them. It can get into the 110s in Tucson and when I was in Phoenix I once experienced 127F. Right now is weird though -- we are getting snow in the valley floor (the mountains around us usually get snow in winter).

I'd like to live in Japan for a couple years, but I'd need some kind of subsidized job (JET for example for those who know about it.)

"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del

Some Meaningless Babbling about Finland (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by WWWWolf on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 08:31:15 PM EST

For most of my life I have lived in two cities in Finland: Kuhmo and Oulu.

Kuhmo is a nice place. Someone else posted about polar bears (which no one has seen here for about a ten thousand years or so?) but I regrettably have to say that while it is one of the important places "behind the wolf border", I have never seen one. Should go look some day...

The town was otherwise extremely nice because it's so quiet - only about 11000 citizens - and the nature is so beautiful there. It's clear. It's noiseless. It's... well, the place many other people obviously have never heard of and never will. People move away from that sort of places - I did, only because of my studies! - but there's no real reason once you get what's the point.

The point is that I could sleep... and breathe freely.

"I will miss the sunsets, Nakor."

Oulu is another story. It's a big place. Really big. (In my scale anyway). I have seen beautiful sights and great things to behold here, too - seeing the morning sunlight play in the branches of trees in the morning, oh...

Temperatures are tolerable enough in both cities. I'd say roughly +35 to -30 celsius over the year? (Then again I've only lived for a bit over two years in Oulu and I rarely look at the thermometer =) There's snow in the winter, up to meters... there's a saying that says: "The finnish summer is a short one, but it doesn't have much snow." =) The Finnish summer is not *that* short, though. And there's no snow then. It can be pretty warm, actually.

(Oh well, looks like there's this species dysphoria thing going on again. Ahem...)

It's quiet, and it's peaceful, and the world here seems just... work.

Hardly anything really bad ever happens here. You know, every time I read newspaper or watch TV, the world news seem always somewhat... bigger than the events that happen here.

(There was one joke about what happened one afternoon of September... people gathered around the TVs to see what was going on, because the word got out that something absolutely terrible had happened. What was that? Well, the parliament was going through the budget discussion...)

Would I live anywhere else? I don't know... I think I am pretty much happy here. I've often said that the only way to make me really happy - so that I could be more easily in touch with friends - would be to make the world flat. (Only ywo timezones, see?)

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

Norway (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by imrdkl on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:22:59 PM EST

But I'm no viking.

I guess you would have already known that, if you had read The Roll Call.

damned vikings (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by mikpos on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:28:36 PM EST

(I'm Canadian BTW). The stereotypical Scandinavian for me used to be a thin well-read person with pale skin and blonde hair, and who doesn't really mind paying taxes for some reason. And who like to spend days without sleep at demoparties. I thought the hairy brute of a Viking was wiped out.

And then I saw some of those Strongest Man competitions, an event which is consistently dominated (almost to a comical degree) by "Vikings" like Magnus Ver Magnusson (go Magnus!)

Then I started reading about a dramatic increase in popularity of neo-Nazism in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Suddenly seeing "strong man" Svend Karlssen boast about "Viking Power" took on a whole new light.

I'm hoping that "Viking Power" really has no similarity to "White Power"?

Seriously, though, I have nothing against the Vikings. Sometimes I wish we had more raping and pillaging in our society.

[ Parent ]

Time periods (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by caine on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 07:46:23 AM EST

There was a time, some 10 years ago, where Viking Power really was pushed by neo-nazis and the like. You could hardly wear a Tor's hammare (Thor's hammer, Mjölnir), without being classified as a bigot. Fortunately it's much better nowadays, and there's not as much neo-nazis either. Alot thanks to that the immigrants celebrate Sweden more than we "oldies" do sometimes. We've lived here for some thousands years, with basically the same laws and society. It's kinda old now, and the fire is dormant. Which of course is boring, but still, livable. So it's nice to see some new people that love this country.


[ Parent ]

air force brat (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by adiffer on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:08:15 PM EST

I've been in the Sacramento, CA region for about 18 years now and like it here. The summers get a bit too hot, but I'll take that over mosquitos any day. The central valley here is one big flood plain that has been mostly plowed up and made to produce huge amounts of food. The residents of the San Francisco bay area are now moving into our area and driving up the cost of real estate. I don't mind that, though, since I have my house now and can benefit.

My father was in the US Air Force, so I got to see lots of places, though most of them were in the US. I've lived in most of the western states for at least one year. I got to live in North Dakota for a couple more. (I'll leave the northern prarie for those souls much hardier than mine.) I got to spend a couple years in Iceland too, but I was a bit to young to understand the culture.

I've found most people want similar things. Where they differ is how they inted to go about getting them. There is plenty of variety within the US. Don't let anyone tell you different. 8)
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.

greetz from Estonia (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by alvarl on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 02:30:56 AM EST

Hello there, oh has this thread become a lively one :) However, as there hasn't been much activity from this 'Eastern' part of Europe (hello to neighbours from Finland) so I'll add my two cents to the jar. Right now it's a nice snowy weather with about -8 C outside (should be about 20F?) and a sunrise to die for (9:10 AM). Talking about weather, it's something like Minnesota ;) Temperatures are ranging from -25..-30C in the winter to >30C in summertime (depending on a winter and a summer of course) so we get pretty much of everything there is to get that is yet tolerable to a human being. Well - that much about weather, but I'd talk with pleasure about life standards and stuff if it wasn't for the monologuish manner of comment lists:)

Mitteleuropa ... (none / 0) (#73)
by bosk on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 07:58:08 AM EST

..., but we're not that far from Holland. I'm yet another US-American expat (non-military) living in continental Europe. I must admit that I rather like it here and have no plans on moving back. Never say never, though.

What country? (none / 0) (#84)
by Rk on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 03:22:03 PM EST

Mitteleuropa... You mean as in Deutschland?

Where in DE (if that's where you live)?

Europe is, different from the US, definitely. Some things are similar, some things tend to be a nasty shock (like the fact that 'trial by jury' is not generally considered a right in Europe, or that many countries have conscription) to Americans. OTOH, Europeans tend to be surprised by American attitudes, too. (and more often than not, hostile towards Americans, or at *very least* quite cynical about them)

[ Parent ]
great empty patch (none / 0) (#86)
by bosk on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 04:14:37 PM EST

I live in DE, in the great empty patch on the map, west of Bremen.

We could have a whole discussion on jury trials. I think they're somewhat overrated. As far as the draft goes, we only repealed ours after the backlash from Vietnam.

[ Parent ]
Europe and the US (3.00 / 1) (#77)
by salsaman on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 10:36:13 AM EST

Having lived and worked both in the US and Europe, here are some very sweeping generalisations about the differences I've noticed (YMMV).

In Europe, rich people tend to live in the centres of cities. In the US, most city centres are fairly run down, and the rich live on the outskirts of the cities (urban sprawl). I think this is due to the greater amount of space in the US - why rebuild when you can just expand outwards.

The US has a much higher rate of vehicle ownership, in fact it is very difficult to get by without a car. In Europe, many more people rely on public transport to get around.

People in the States tend to work longer hours, and when they socialise after work, the main topic of conversation seems to be work !

In Europe people place more value on free time, and when socialising try to avoid the subject of work, and talk about other things.

In the US it seems very common to grow up in a place, go to college in that place, and then work in the same area.

Europeans will very often grow up ina place, go to college somewhere different, and then end up working in another area.

close to home (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by bosk on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 11:00:33 AM EST

In the US it seems very common to grow up in a place, go to college in that place, and then work in the same area.

Europeans will very often grow up ina place, go to college somewhere different, and then end up working in another area.

My impression is the exact opposite. I think Americans are more mobile and more willing to move than Europeans. This is one "sweeping generalization" that sweeps too much.

[ Parent ]
It's All Relative (?) (none / 0) (#80)
by dcheesi on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 11:51:18 AM EST

Perhaps scale is a factor here. For instance, I grew up in one part of my state (VA, USA), and moved to another part of the state when I started work. In The US, that's not considered a big move; however, in Europe I'd essentially be moving from one end of the country to the other. The perception of 'mobility' in this context is dependent on what you consider a significant change of locale.

[ Parent ]
Where my heart is! (none / 0) (#81)
by X-Nc on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 02:45:36 PM EST

My heart is in my 5 year old son. Where ever I am with him is my home. I grew up living the nomadic life of the military (though my family was never active duty) and "home" was wherever we were at the time. I've lived in most of what was Western Europe and some places in the Eastern US. (And I'm going to Thailand tomorrow for a week). But my home, my life is my family.

Ok, so this is not "topical". Still, it IS where my heart is.

Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

Sydney (none / 0) (#89)
by lzcd on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 06:25:12 PM EST

Politicians are second class citizens, sport is the biggest religion, the view from the harbour bridge, Vegemite, everyone can be bastard, Harrys Cafe De Wheels, 'Second best quality of life in the world' according to the UN ,Bell birds and Kookaburras, Roy and HG, the rest of the world actually buys Fosters and Neighbours, the beach, ring tail possums and flying foxes, an economy that isn't bleeding like a stuck pig and damn fine selection of fresh food.

I know it's not to everybodys tastes but I love it.

South Africa (4.50 / 2) (#93)
by I am Jack's username on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 08:15:55 PM EST

Table mountain, Homo habilis, discovery of diamonds and gold, colonialism, apartheid, Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela, AIDS.

South Africa is a country of extreme diversity: eleven official languages; large groups of different cultures and religions; exorbitant opulence, and mind numbing poverty; deserts, snow covered mountains, subtropics, and everything in between; pockets of 1st world medical care, and the highest number of HIV+/AIDS sufferers in the world; neo-nazis, and communist libertarians; a history of torturous regimes, and an awe-inspiring struggle for freedom...

Day to day life is a combination of mostly traditional African, and British cultures. In the towns and cities you can surf the 'net at coffee shops, buy a Big Mac, hear the latest European DJs in clubs, buy handcrafted goods from small informal businesses, ogle the newest Ferrari's, and get mugged. At train stations you'll get pamphlets for witch doctors, the chance to have your shoes fixed, and see SUVs driving past. In townships you can enjoy some local beer and kwaito at shebeens, in the suburbs you can play a Quake3 deathmatch while listening to the Sex pistols. In small subsistance farming communities you can enjoy the hospitality of rural life, or you can see vast mechanized legions of harvesters directed by rich farmers who own most of the arable land.

Ask 10 other South Africans what the country is like and you'll end up with 20 different descriptions.
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

Finland (none / 0) (#105)
by danne on Wed Feb 06, 2002 at 08:38:19 AM EST

I live in Vasa in Finland. I speak language #2 aka swedish. My world is pretty small, the farest I have travelled is to Stockholm in Sweden. I've also lived about a year in Umeå but i didn't like the folks over there. I don't really like it here becouse of the damn long dark sad winters (when it's darkest the sun is down ~16:00 - ~11:00). But in the summers I think this is the best place to be partying outdoors the whole night. Nice people good beer and clean air. When I get enough money I probably go traveling with inter-rail to see Europe. If I ever move somewhere I probably move to Australia. It seems like a pretty good place too. At least in the Crocodile Dundee movies :-)

Where lies your world, how does its heart beat? | 105 comments (81 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
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