Facts about US ...from a different angle:)
I thought some of you might be amused to find out how your country(US more exactly) was perceived from Romania, which is a small country in Eastern Europe.
So here are a few random facts:
- During communism (up to 1989) having a relative that had emigrated to US was a serious risk for all your family. "Security" militia kept checking you night and day, all the letters were cautiously read before you'd receive them and so on, fearing the "infidel" might poison you with some capitalism.
Talking about America, Americans, and anything else related was also a really bad idea.
Immediately after revolution however, a burst of american stuff came up. Especially media ones.
Dallas was a huge hit in here. It was incredibly big :lol:
My grandma named a whole generation of sheep with the character's names. She was crazy about Bobby Ewing and she could tell you all about the series with no mistake.
Also a huge hit was Beverly Hills - the teenage series + the action movies with Arnold and Jackie Chan. Surprisingly, we didnt know much about Chuck Norris untill recently (last decade)
When McDonalds came in, in was so new that the prices were actually quite big for a fast food. It was actually considered a fancy place to go out or to take your friends out to impress at first, such was their success :))
Nowadays it kinda mellowed down to the "yet another fast food" place.
Ruby Tuesday has however few restaurants, with great food and incredibly expensive prices :shock:
If you were a kid 15 years ago and had jeans or sneakers "from America" it didnt matter if they were ugly as sin or 4 sizes too big. You simply rocked.
Another huge TV hit was Bonanza. A neverending cowboy soap opera.
Nowadays, my grandmother seems to go into another world when The Young and The Restless starts. Speaking of which, has it finished yet? In here they're broadcasting episode nr 6000 something.
Few years ago we had a TV show , something like "We're listening, voice your opinion" and then taped messages from viewers. A guy said in a heart melting trembling voice:
"Madam, I am 75 years old and my favourite series is the young&the restless. I heard we have 4 more seasons ahead? If so, please tell me how it ends. This definately is out of my life span"
We hardly got any of the american horse breeds around, except for some suspicious colored horses all called "pinto's" (nothing to do with any sort of breed though)
However, we got your...chicken! Quite early as well. There is an ornamental miniature breed of chicken. Everyone calls them "american chicks". I have no idea if they are american at all, but they are beautiful
A mandatory reading during my school time was Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Also one of the most enjoyable.
The initial image of a "cowboy" was "guy who shoots other people and wears funky hats" , due to the huge amount of western movies we received.
I was scolded for using an american accent during my english lessons :/ British English was considered "proper" while American English was promptly shunned as if it was the language of devils and MTV or something.
Um. I can't think of anything else, but thats about it :)
Interesting tidbits, Ina. Thanks for sharing.
I'm always curious as to how the rest of the world views the U.S.
I know some folks hate us while others love us. It's easy to be polarized about the U.S., since we have a lot of contradictions.
We can be pigheaded, ignorant, short sighted, and yet when disaster strikes our people tend to be some of the first on the scene.
We're generous and selfish, have big hearts, and prejudices and bigotries.
I love my country. I know not everyone feels that way, but I certainly hope they feel that way about their own country.
Naaah I'm certainly not going there, SpeedRacer :-)
A very slippery hot topic and even if I had any sort of opinions I would avoid entering a debate about a whole nation.
Just wanted to give you an (incomplete) image of how America made its entrance in our lives, after communism fell
Intrigued by the origins of this joke I asked my grandma - survivor of 2 world wars. She explained me that while we were occupied during the second world war some people would just keep giving hope "Don't worry guys, the americans are coming any day now, they will save us. They save anyone, they'll surely come to us too!"
That time they didnt but its ok :) No problem
We got a huge chunk of culture, economy, knowledge and many more instead coming from US now.
And the Americans did come, around 5 decades later, in the form of tourists :)
Even I'm not an American, that was interesting to read, inaclick.
I've sometimes wondered how Western countries have been conceived/ have been taught in Eastern Bloc during communism era.
Tamma, the Eastern Bloc countries were taught that the West was evil, dangerous, and wanted to kill and enslave everyone.
Of course, during the 1950s the American children were taught that the communists were evil, dangerous, and wanted to kill and enslave everyone.
The U.S. is a country of contradictions. We preach freedom, and then interred some of our own citizens in concentration camps during WWII.
Our Declaration of Independence states, We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, but up until the late 19th century we owned slaves.
We've only had one civil war, and the U.S. managed to pull itself together and become one country again afterward. In fact, we capitalized it because there was only one. The Civil War is still studied by scholars and school children alike.
We have vast amounts of land, and can go 5,000 miles east to west and 3,000 miles north to south, and never need a passport. We have regional differences of speech and culture, but we're all one huge country.
We may squabble and fight among ourselves, but we come together as a united whole when we're threatened by outside sources. It may seem as if we're spoiled, stupid, and have short memories. While all that might be true of some, many of us have never forgotten that freedom isn't free, and we're willing to die if necessary in order to preserve that freedom.
But anyways. I think I'm not going to hijack inaclick's thread more but step back with my thoughts :-).
Tamma, that's the whole point of having a discussion, so more than one opinion or idea is ventured.
I don't think you'd be hijacking the thread at all.
Tamma, regarding my own experience in living in an ex-communist country: it's very limited, as the Revolution came when I was 7 years old.
What I do remember however is the constant fear. Fear of being betrayed, not trusting anyone, fear of going to jail for saying a joke or listening to Free Europe radio.
Going to jail equalled death many times. Also, some people who opposed the regime were sent to so called hospices never to return. For ratting out your colleagues or even family members, you would receive rewards and so nobody dared to trust anybody completely. Horrible, horrible world.
And what I also clearly remember is lacking everything. Food, books, clothing.
I remember everything rationalized. 1 bread per adult, 1 half bread per child.
I remember queues of 3-5 days to get a bottle of milk or vegetable oil.
You were not allowed to drive your car whenever you wanted; you had specific days in which you could.
You HAD to be member of the one and only party.
Refusing to go to the meetings equaled more or less getting yourself out of the society and loosing your job and home.
America was like some sort of distant planet in another galaxy of which you only hear rumours, but to which you are not allowed to think of.
It was this land too good to be true, in which people had anything they wanted, traveled wherever they wanted and said whatever they thought.
A direct negative consequence is that the American tourists are often harassed by some locals who think of them as being uber-rich just for being from US.
And there are many many more horrors of communism that I remember of, but honestly this thread is about America :-)
However, if you are interested in more facts about what communism applied incorrectly can do, here's a link to a documentary (in english most of it):
I would have to warn you though as there are some quite strong images and facts described there.
Ina, I thank God every day that I was born an American citizen.
As a child, I had no idea how lucky I was to be born and live in the U.S.
As an adult, I realize how truly blessed I am to have been given the opportunities and rights that have been denied to so many others in the world. Especially so, since I'm a female.
In so very many places around the world women are valued as even less than the farm animals, and their only worth is in the children they'll bear. Male children, of course. Females are worse than useless.
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