I never thought of myself as a European…at least not until I moved to America. When you grow up in the Old Continent, you are not aware of your own “Europeaness.” You are too busy being French, Portuguese or Greek to see the whole picture.
So when I first came to the US, I didn’t understand why people called me European. To be honest, I thought it was because of Americans’ infamous geography skills. But after six months in a New York College, two jobs in Manhattan, one boyfriend from Atlanta, and many American friends…I finally get it!
Americans and Europeans may be referred as “Westerners” by the rest of the world, but the truth is, they live complete different lives. Here are three basic signs that will not only prove that being European is real, but that you’re officially one:
#1 No matter how long you’ve lived in America, time will never be money to you
In the Motherland of multitasking and efficiency, gyms and cabs have TVs, coffee is to go, dinner is at 6 PM, even weddings start on time. You may have become a little more aware of the fact that when people say they will meet you in 20 minutes in the USA, well they actually mean 20 minutes, and not an hour like in Europe. As an expat, you try to fit in and meet friends for dinner right after work, but deep inside you know that you WILL get hungry at 10 PM because your inner clock works differently. A good American day is when you organized your time so well that you got to do a lot. A good European day is one that turned out into your favorite activity: doing nothing.
#2 Your idea of comfort is still in its infancy stage compared to American people
America is designed to save people the trouble to do stuff or think too hard. Cars are automatic. Streets have numbers and not names. It’s not about how charming things are, it’s about how convenient they get. A hot day in the USA? Turn up the AC to the point that you have to wear jackets in July. Americans have solutions to all problems and don’t think twice about it, while nothing that Europeans do is practical. It’s too hot in Europe? C’est la vie baby! We Europeans love to think that we are low-maintenance because we don’t believe in changing the nature of things. But in reality, we are too lazy to live up to that noble cause. We deem comfort or gadgets as unnecessary bullshit, but it makes us unproductive. So we end up complaining a lot, which leads right to my next point…
#3 America made you a more positive person, but being happy is a whole other story
When Americans are optimistic, Europeans are nostalgic. That’s because people from the Old Continent love to complicate things. We know that there are easy solutions to our problems, but we don’t necessarily trust these solutions, so we’d rather stick to what we know. Just because we have the option to do stuff doesn’t mean we will. We are better at thinking than acting, which is why we don’t have the most innovating technology, but Europe is home to groundbreaking art. While we are still stuck trying to figure out the idea of happiness, Americans are busy pursuing it every day. We ask too many questions about everything which is why the world loves us, but also makes us suck at life.
In the end, the complexity of the Euro swag is both a gift and a curse. What else do you think makes European different from Americans?