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I have to admit I’m trying to stay away because this is a train wreck but apparently I don’t have that level of self control.

I really thought we had spelled out or at least implied..  # notallAmericans and #notonlyAmericans

of course there are various annoying tourist behaviours from different cultures. Including ours.  We even mentioned some of them in much less polite terms than we tried to answer the original post.

in response to attempting to word things politely and tone things down we’ve been called gauche for even answering the question originally asked.  I do think 90pc of replies were kind of fair and balanced.  Anyway just to say again of course -not all Americans and not only Americans.  

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The discussion isn't are all Americans like this or do the non-Americans on the board think this is what all Americans are like. The discussion is why do those who generalize think this way. Amer

I am not wasting time on disclaimers, since you all know that lumping people into a group doesn't account for the individual. But here's what comes to mind (and when I say "Americans", I obviously do

Don't shoot the messenger; these are not all my opinions: On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant co

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4 hours ago, StellaM said:

My dd and her girlfriend want to have pet rats. I may need you to talk up the virtues of rats to help me cope.

Oh, I am ALWAYS ready to talk up rats. 🙂

Those who have already read MercyA's Favorite Rat Story a dozen times, please skip this part. 😉 Probably there are one or two people who haven't heard it yet, so here goes (again). My friend had a pet rat when she was young. The rat's very most favorite treat was chocolate, and he had received a chocolate egg for Easter. He ate part of it and squirreled 😉 the rest of it away in his cage. The rat was getting on in years and fell ill. My friend took him to the vet, who said the rat didn't have long to live. My friend went home, held her rat, and began to cry. The rat went in his cage, retrieved his treasure--his half-eaten chocolate egg--and dropped it in front of my friend to comfort her. True story. 

Not surprising, actually, since rats have been found to display empathy:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/rats-show-empathy-too

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/05/rats-forsake-chocolate-save-drowning-companion

Other studies have shown that rats also respond empathetically to companions' physical pain, but I'm not going to link them here, since they make for disturbing reading (and shame on those researchers).

Rats are incredibly intelligent, very clean, and enjoy human company. They can be taught to come when called and have been found to "laugh" or chirp during play.  

Just FYI, male rats tend to love cuddling, while females tend to be more active and ready to explore. 🙂 

If your daughter and her girlfriend end up getting rats, we will need pics! (What rabbit trails this thread has gone on... 😉)

Edited by MercyA
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Australians, you were asking what we think of you.   My only impression, and this is an impression formed 27 years ago, is that Australian school system isn't good.  That was because the Australian tourists that would be coming in to Los Angeles Airport and had filled out their forms were the worse at doing that.  That is they were not filling out forms correctly and the misspellings were awful. 

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8 minutes ago, StellaM said:

I would have appreciated a warning that doing something that is entirely accepted where we live - answering a question honestly and without sugar coating - is likely to be unacceptable elsewhere, and may resut in having genuine gestures of warmth rejected and considered fake as a result

I wish there were more people who don't sugar coat. There have been questions I've asked hoping for a direct answer. Instead, I have to try to read between the lines, which leads to communication problems. On the other hand, if I'm asked a direct question, I try to answer it honestly. Sometimes the response is a surprised look, as if the person asking the question didn't really want a straight answer. Why ask a question if you don't want an honest answer?!

Please continue to be straightforward. 🙂

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

Re the bolded, from an American poster, nope, did not mention drunkeness (because it's not something I associate with Americans), didn't mention age (got nothing to do with it), didn't happen. At this point, some of you are just making stuff up.

 

Not sure where the reference is from but I read that somewhere in the thread.  Not going to take the time to search and quote.  My point is that there is a single bad acquaintance which looms over any good one.  The adoptive experience mentions the other nice familes but goes into huge detail about the bad one.  And I think that is achieved through the eyeglass of prejudice.

Both Stella and also @Islandgal

NO WORRIES! 😀

Truly not offended or angry... because as I said... don't really care as it doesn't apply to me.  My reaction is more an incredulous, "Are you kidding me?"  My eyes are tired of rolling, so I am done with the thread.

I just got home from the grocer.  I was standing with a young child at the parking lot crosswalk and 2 cars stopped for me to cross.  Another car in opposing traffic, and who saw us, turned left right in front of me as we took our first step across and we had to jump back on the sidewalk.  I made eye contact and there was no apologetic wave or anything.  He nearly hit a child!!!  I had the right of way!  When i crossed, I still smiled and waved at the other 2 cars and mouthed "thanks" because I don't hate all motorists because one was wrong.  Apply as you will.

Fare thee well.  And happy travels to all.

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

I do think that if there is NO way to answer the OP politely in a given national context, that should have been stated upfront in the OP. 

I would have appreciated a warning that doing something that is entirely accepted where we live - answering a question honestly and without sugar coating - is likely to be unacceptable elsewhere, and may resut in having genuine gestures of warmth rejected and considered fake as a result.

 

 

I didn't know that this whole thing would blow up into a mess. I truly appreciate those who answered. I'm sorry you got dragged into mess while simply answering my question. 😞

Edited by fairfarmhand
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13 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

Australians, you were asking what we think of you.   My only impression, and this is an impression formed 27 years ago, is that Australian school system isn't good.  That was because the Australian tourists that would be coming in to Los Angeles Airport and had filled out their forms were the worse at doing that.  That is they were not filling out forms correctly and the misspellings were awful. 

No arguments there

that’s why we’re here!

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23 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

Australians, you were asking what we think of you.   My only impression, and this is an impression formed 27 years ago, is that Australian school system isn't good.  That was because the Australian tourists that would be coming in to Los Angeles Airport and had filled out their forms were the worse at doing that.  That is they were not filling out forms correctly and the misspellings were awful. 

Also weirdly some international schools are adopting the south Australian certificate of education program.  I think it’s about helping students to get into university here because they’re trying to make us as a prime destination for overseas education!  I feel kind of sorry for those students because the system here is really not that great.  

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4 hours ago, SKL said:

You don't seem to understand.  I have no desire to insult Australian travelers.  I have an issue with boardies who insult others via broad generalizations and then call the insulted folks thin-skinned when they don't enjoy it.

Yes I know the OP asked a question and you feel like you are just answering it.  However, there are other ways to get points across.  Prefacing an insult with "I might probably like you but" doesn't cut it IMO.

I have to say I continue to be completely flummoxed by Americans who are so bothered by this thread, especially those who say they are nothing like the stereotypes being expressed. I’m also a very quiet, introverted person (with very little confidence to boot), but I’m not surprised or even remotely bothered by some of the generalizations concerning American tourists. People are simply sharing their observations and generalizations, as flawed or imperfect as they may be. I can’t even comprehend that someone (not you) would consider cancelling an international trip due to this thread. What in the heck do they think is going to happen? As Stella said upthread, nothing. Nothing is going to happen. There are no consequences. People are just sharing observations and generalizations that were asked for by the OP. I’m not insulted in the least.

Edited by Frances
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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

I do think that if there is NO way to answer the OP politely in a given national context, that should have been stated upfront in the OP. 

I would have appreciated a warning that doing something that is entirely accepted where we live - answering a question honestly and without sugar coating - is likely to be unacceptable elsewhere, and may resut in having genuine gestures of warmth rejected and considered fake as a result.

 

 

I think it should have been one of those JAWM threads, or at least a general hey, we want to know what you think but take it easy on us.

I would have stayed FAR away. 

I appreciate those that were open and receptive. 🙂

Edited by Islandgal
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2 hours ago, ByeByeMartha said:

 

Having spent a good amount of time over in Europe (I'm American and lived there w/DH when we first married) my experience is that people (in general) are more polished, proper and quiet over there compared to the US.

My daughter and now son-in-law were on the archery team as teens.  They competed in the Vegas Shoot every year-a competition open to anyone who is willing to pay the entry fee and follow the rules.  Usually one of the 3 rounds of the Indoor World Cup happened just before or just after-that one is the best in the world, usually Olympic team members from all over the world, competing individually. They stuck around for both hoping to win both cash prizes. We could spot Europeans easily, even if they didn't have team jackets on because they weren't Olympians.  We chatted with a quite a few. The nice shoes and fitted clothing were the giveaway.  They were also the best groomed.  They looked like guys on GQ covers.  Daughter and I liked it. I'd love for more Americans to adopt the dress up a bit more in public and during travel. Granted, they were people in an economic bracket that afforded 3 international trips to different locations worldwide and high end equipment, so they had a lot of money, but they stuck to dark wash well fitted jeans, expensive leather shoes, and shirts that were clearly tailored, something a lot more people in the US could do.  Daughter and I have done costuming that includes making bustle gowns, lace up Arwyn (sp?) gowns, a Jane Austin era tuxedo, and other things, so we can tell.

The American hunter guys were also easily identifiable.  Everything they had on was camouflage pattern and a local bar or local t-shirt from wherever they came from or one with The Vegas Shoot on it.  They were just thrilled to see girls and women participating in archery and over did the welcoming which was very sweet.  It was like having a bunch of Grampas telling you that you could do it.  They were waaaaay better company than the American teens in it just for sport.  Parents of archery teens are typically awful and so are their kids. It's so bad they had to be trained to shoot while people made abrupt noises and snarky comments, and how to get a coach when another archer's parent is harassing you. You know, psycho sports parent. The old guys had stories about bow hunting caribou in Alaska and deer/elk/bear in mountain region USA.  Hitting a stationary target in a climate controlled room isn't something they would consider brag worthy. 

The sportsing teens wore athletic clothes which always makes me laugh.  Indoor archery involves standing perfectly still and releasing a string with your fingers, mouth (for arm amputees) or your feet for people without arms. When you're done shooting a round you walk to the target, calculate your points, confirm with others around you that the math for your score adds up, pull out your arrows, then you walk back off the range and sit down waiting for your next round. You could do it just as well in a bathrobe and fuzzy Elmo slippers. Daughter always wore a fitted tank top, skinny jeans, and her hair long and loose. Son-in-law was a gonner from the get go.

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I have to admit I’m trying to stay away because this is a train wreck but apparently I don’t have that level of self control.

I really thought we had spelled out or at least implied..  # notallAmericans and #notonlyAmericans

of course there are various annoying tourist behaviours from different cultures. Including ours.  We even mentioned some of them in much less polite terms than we tried to answer the original post.

in response to attempting to word things politely and tone things down we’ve been called gauche for even answering the question originally asked.  I do think 90pc of replies were kind of fair and balanced.  Anyway just to say again of course -not all Americans and not only Americans.  

Yes you did, and it was perfectly plain and clear.

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12 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

I think it should have been one of those JAWM threads, or at least a general hey, we want to know what you think but take it easy on us.

I would have stayed FAR away. 

I appreciate those that were open and receptive. 🙂

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

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6 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

 

Everyone will live. 🙂

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9 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

I only said I would have run because I wouldn't have made this my first topic to really delve into on the board.

I'm with Rosie, we will all live, but thank you!

 

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14 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

I’ve actually enjoyed reading and sometimes laughing about the craziness of people traveling overseas.   It’s been educational, which is fitting since it’s WTM.   But I am a little upset.   After hearing Mercy’s rat story, I want one.  We saw some on vacation in a rainforest type zoo and the mama rat was nursing all her babies.  Now ‘talking’ about them again here makes me want one.   And a squirrel.   And a possum would work, as well.    Just give me all the snuggly animals. 

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On 1/14/2020 at 3:24 PM, fairfarmhand said:

So in the royal thread there’s been stated that Americans come off poorly quite often overseas.
 

so tell me what it is. 
 

are these impressions firsthand or influenced by Americans in media? 
 

So how can i improve my impressions? (General terms)

I am not personally concerned at all with what people in other countries think of me, based on the fact that I am American. It is not okay for me to say negative things about an entire country full of people just based on what country they are in or from, and likewise, I would not at all concern myself with the stupidity of someone from another country deciding they know me just because I am an American. How can YOU change what someone thinks of Americans...the type of person who has preset ideas about you? You cannot. You alone cannot change the heart of a bigot. The bigot has to see what is wrong with their thinking and change it themselves.

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2 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Australians, you were asking what we think of you.   My only impression, and this is an impression formed 27 years ago, is that Australian school system isn't good.  That was because the Australian tourists that would be coming in to Los Angeles Airport and had filled out their forms were the worse at doing that.  That is they were not filling out forms correctly and the misspellings were awful. 

And you are completely correct. Most Aussies cannot spell. It has been whole language since the early 70s and that means current school teachers teach what they learned, whole language. And we hate forms and paperwork. I have heard many stories of people completely messing up their paperwork  on purpose because they feel it is ridiculous to do it in the first place.

my Canadian DH would add that Aussies have so much trouble spelling because they cannot pronounce the words properly in the first place and so they fail  to hear the sounds correctly. he gives the example of almond. Which here is pronounced armond . he use to get a kick out of asking people to spell almond and found they just about always left out the l. 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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Funny enough, my dad just last year discovered that his biological dad is Australian, and he has three sisters that live between Melbourne and Sydney. 

We're supposed to visit them this year. I'm excited to see Australia and meet my long lost family who have been very warm and welcoming to all of us. It came as a shock to them my dad even existed. 

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6 minutes ago, Janeway said:

I am not personally concerned at all with what people in other countries think of me, based on the fact that I am American. It is not okay for me to say negative things about an entire country full of people just based on what country they are in or from, and likewise, I would not at all concern myself with the stupidity of someone from another country deciding they know me just because I am an American. How can YOU change what someone thinks of Americans...the type of person who has preset ideas about you? You cannot. You alone cannot change the heart of a bigot. The bigot has to see what is wrong with their thinking and change it themselves.

A bit confused here, are you saying the non US citizens are bigots because we have a different view or are you saying the US citizens ripping us to shreds for having views are bigots?

or are you saying that the rest of the non US world are all bigots? 

I have never had a conversation where that word has been used. I have only read it In literature. I am not sure if you are trying to be insulting or not. I have checked the dictionary def and are still  confused.

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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4 hours ago, parent said:

These are general comments, as I realize this was not all from you.  But I guess I do not see how it is productive to list the lengthy story about adoptive parents rudeness, or complaints about a drunk on a cruise ship, or a tour group of old people and by those define the general population of the US.  These are isolated situations displaying atypical manners.  Truly, come visit if you haven't... see a bigger cross section.  I think the statements slamming all Americans for the actions of a few is quite small minded.

 

And, once again, that's not what's happening here.  It's what you're choosing to hear, but not what's being said. That's your choice. It's on you.   What's being said is, Americans behaving badly abroad happens frequently (notice the qualifier there-frequently) enough that other Americans want to create awareness of the problem and specify ways to avoid it. Why?  Because whether or not we like it, we represent America to others.  People need to feel a personal responsibility to not be that American who gives a bad impression. 

48 hours after the Virginia Tech shooting, perpetrated by a S. Korean immigrant to the US, the S. Korean official in charge of international adoptions sent to all the American agencies that partner with S. Korean adoption agencies, a message to adoptive parents.  Our agency passed it along.  It was a beautiful, compassionate, heartbreaking apology that a S. Korean had done something terrible and they hoped it wouldn't cause other people to think badly of our S. Korean children. They understand how the world works.  It's not an ideal world where everyone carefully separates out individual acts from ethnic groups. It never has been. It's a world where only some people do that.  They understand a world with image, branding, and over simplifications.  That's a reality we all have to deal with.  Smart ones understand that the most effective strategy for avoiding giving offense is intending not to offend, which works so much better than not intending to offend.  The first is proactive and intentional.  We're saying be proactive and intentional.   Do your due diligence in basic understanding of the cultural norms when you're a guest in another country. Find out from an authoritative source what not to do. If you're in a situation you couldn't have prepared for, ask a local or simply humbly state to the person you're interacting with that you're not sure of the social etiquette, and you'd like them to tell you how to be respectful. People are far more likely to remember and be impacted by a negative experience than a positive one-ask any psychologist or psychiatrist.

And now I'm going there on how &@^%#Q&^@% common it is for people's only exposure to international adoption to be that jerk international adoptive parent who adopted through those *&^$@#$@#% trash adoption agencies talking about children like they're commodities.  There have been horrific consequences for kids in many countries as a direct result of those ^@%*&Q^%*&Q#^%@*^ international adoptive parents who have treated their adoptees like damaged goods to be returned and adoption/orphan staff in the child's home country like servants.  There is a special place in hell for those parents.  I won't detail the horrific conditions because it often results in people who are made aware of them not being able to sleep unmedicated for months and more.

International adoptive families have had to deal with the impression bad international adoptive parents send and the resulting outrageous questions and comments people, often kids of parents talking about a situation they heard about,  make to young international adoptees and their parents.  You don't like us calling it out in a context where it's relevant to the discussion?  I. don't. care. Just because you don't see how it's productive doesn't mean it can't be productive. Boardies reading this now know there are unintended consequences for innocent children when conversations, questions, and comments are framed that way. If it shuts one mouth that might've said something stupid in front of an international adoptee, then it's been more than worth your moment of confusion and discomfort with my hard tone that reflects the severe consequences of bad adoptive parent words and actions. 

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3 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Oh, I understand. You're offended! Mightily!  

But as part of your defence against considering why that might be, you're projecting that onto others as their 'rudeness and incivility'. 

Good on ya,, for conforming to stereotype. 

Luckily, there are plenty of AMERICAN posters who challenge it.

 

And while many American posters are expressing openness to seeing where they may be wrong, you are 110% certain that any problem with your posts is definitely with the reader, not the writer.

Just holding up a mirror to you, as you feel you are doing to us.

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3 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

With this thread functioning as an object lesson in why we do it 99.9% of the time.

All of us do.  You really aren't that different from us - no offense intended.

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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

I do think that if there is NO way to answer the OP politely in a given national context, that should have been stated upfront in the OP. 

I would have appreciated a warning that doing something that is entirely accepted where we live - answering a question honestly and without sugar coating - is likely to be unacceptable elsewhere, and may resut in having genuine gestures of warmth rejected and considered fake as a result.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Islandgal said:

I think it should have been one of those JAWM threads, or at least a general hey, we want to know what you think but take it easy on us.

I would have stayed FAR away. 

I appreciate those that were open and receptive. 🙂

 

47 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

 

I’m GLAD you all didn’t sugar coat it. Thank you. Where else can we get this information? People in real life won’t have this conversation. Someone would be too polite or too uncomfortable for it conversation to go this far. The truth is just so much more useful and interesting and I don’t think it’s rude to answer a question honestly. 

It was a little cringey to see people really lean into the thin-skinned stereotype. Hopefully we can look at that more next time we explore white frailty. 

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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

I do think that if there is NO way to answer the OP politely in a given national context, that should have been stated upfront in the OP. 

I would have appreciated a warning that doing something that is entirely accepted where we live - answering a question honestly and without sugar coating - is likely to be unacceptable elsewhere, and may resut in having genuine gestures of warmth rejected and considered fake as a result.

This is ironic considering most of your comments many others are about how stupid and self-centered Americans are for not realizing the very thing you just wrote.  Or are you joking here?

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1 hour ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

And, once again, that's not what's happening here.  It's what you're choosing to hear, but not what's being said. That's your choice. It's on you.   What's being said is, Americans behaving badly abroad happens frequently (notice the qualifier there-frequently) enough that other Americans want to create awareness of the problem and specify ways to avoid it. Why?  Because whether or not we like it, we represent America to others.  People need to feel a personal responsibility to not be that American who gives a bad impression. 

48 hours after the Virginia Tech shooting, perpetrated by a S. Korean immigrant to the US, the S. Korean official in charge of international adoptions sent to all the American agencies that partner with S. Korean adoption agencies, a message to adoptive parents.  Our agency passed it along.  It was a beautiful, compassionate, heartbreaking apology that a S. Korean had done something terrible and they hoped it wouldn't cause other people to think badly of our S. Korean children. They understand how the world works.  It's not an ideal world where everyone carefully separates out individual acts from ethnic groups. It never has been. It's a world where only some people do that.  They understand a world with image, branding, and over simplifications.  That's a reality we all have to deal with.  Smart ones understand that the most effective strategy for avoiding giving offense is intending not to offend, which works so much better than not intending to offend.  The first is proactive and intentional.  We're saying be proactive and intentional.   Do your due diligence in basic understanding of the cultural norms when you're a guest in another country. Find out from an authoritative source what not to do. If you're in a situation you couldn't have prepared for, ask a local or simply humbly state to the person you're interacting with that you're not sure of the social etiquette, and you'd like them to tell you how to be respectful. People are far more likely to remember and be impacted by a negative experience than a positive one-ask any psychologist or psychiatrist.

And now I'm going there on how &@^%#Q&^@% common it is for people's only exposure to international adoption to be that jerk international adoptive parent who adopted through those *&^$@#$@#% trash adoption agencies talking about children like they're commodities.  There have been horrific consequences for kids in many countries as a direct result of those ^@%*&Q^%*&Q#^%@*^ international adoptive parents who have treated their adoptees like damaged goods to be returned and adoption/orphan staff in the child's home country like servants.  There is a special place in hell for those parents.  I won't detail the horrific conditions because it often results in people who are made aware of them not being able to sleep unmedicated for months and more.

International adoptive families have had to deal with the impression bad international adoptive parents send and the resulting outrageous questions and comments people, often kids of parents talking about a situation they heard about,  make to young international adoptees and their parents.  You don't like us calling it out in a context where it's relevant to the discussion?  I. don't. care. Just because you don't see how it's productive doesn't mean it can't be productive. Boardies reading this now know there are unintended consequences for innocent children when conversations, questions, and comments are framed that way. If it shuts one mouth that might've said something stupid in front of an international adoptee, then it's been more than worth your moment of confusion and discomfort with my hard tone that reflects the severe consequences of bad adoptive parent words and actions. 

 

I saw it in some ways as similar to when my son’s school has gone on field trips and they have been requested to behave and dress in ways that won’t reflect poorly on the school.  Which is fine, but sometimes it then needs to be more spelled out what is considered to reflect poorly, what’s positive?  And, of course, destination and season play a part.  The assumption that what constitutes appropriate dress or behavior is clear to all isn’t really true even if only traveling 60 miles to a nearby city.  And dress and behavior for a zoo trip are different than for seeing a ballet or going to a job fair. (Brimmed baseball cap okay for zoo, maybe even okay backwards—not so good for ballet. Roller shoes not okay for any. Suit okay for ballet or job fair, overdressed for zoo.  More boisterousness okay at zoo, talking okay at job fair, supposed to be quiet and not rustle things during ballet...)  

When going thousands of miles to a place with a completely different culture it can become far, far more complicated. 

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2 hours ago, SKL said:

This is ironic considering most of your comments many others are about how stupid and self-centered Americans are for not realizing the very thing you just wrote.  Or are you joking here?

I don’t think anyone used the words stupid or self centred?  Although this thread has got long.

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9 hours ago, SKL said:

Now see this I don't understand.  What is wrong with eating what you like if it's on the menu?  When folks come here from other countries, do they avoid restaurants that serve familiar-to-them food?  Why should they?  Not everyone is adventurous with food, and not everyone can stomach all kinds of food.  Also, how do you know they haven't been eating local food for the past week and now want a change?  Why be so judgmental of people when you don't even know their story?

When we were in Dublin, we ate at their Burger King.  It was the last day of our 3 week trip (from Athens to Dublin with 13 stops), and it the first "American food" we had eaten in Europe.  My kids wanted some burgers.  Who cares anyway?

I like eating at least once at fast foods while traveling just to be able to compare them to the ones at home. French fry forks? I'd hate going through life not ever having used one!

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3 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

I actually learned a lot from the fact that people were so bothered by the response - even after all these years of reading the boards!  In my culture (South African, grew up in Afrikaans community) it is perfectly acceptable to give a straight answer to a straight question.   There is always a grain of truth in a stereotype.  Ask any comedian.

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4 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

I’m totally sure you didn’t and I’m sorry things ended up how they did from all angles.  

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Honestly the Americans I have met have mostly been nice.  It is not that we don't like people from America.  Of course most of the Americans I meet have chosen to leave ....

But the assumption everyone wants to move to the US.  I think it was here someone asked if people didn't like the US why did everyone want to move there.  That simply isn't true, you just have some very poor, desperate people in South and Central America who would be happy to go anywhere.  People from New Zealand will go for certain jobs and life styles but we do not wish to move en masses to the US so please accept the fact when speaking to us.

Also stop getting involved in other people's wars and expecting us to follow.  We probably will but we won't be happy about it.  And no you didn't ride in on a white charger in the second world war you just came in at the end when you could no longer ignore it.

 

 

Other than that keep on being your happy selves and don't worry too much about other people's opinions.  It is not like other countries sit round worrying what you think of them.  

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6 hours ago, SKL said:

And while many American posters are expressing openness to seeing where they may be wrong, you are 110% certain that any problem with your posts is definitely with the reader, not the writer.

Just holding up a mirror to you, as you feel you are doing to us.

 

It's also incredibly ironic given commentary in the other thread about how SOME straight answers are wholly unwelcome.

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Count me as an American who is neither surprised nor even slightly bothered that American tourists have a reputation for being: loud, egocentric, overly casual, obtuse about local culture, often fat, insensitive. I know people like this. I’m married into a family with some people who can tick at least some of these boxes. There are people I know whom I would not travel with internationally because I know they stand out as stereotypical American. I seek to blend in and NOT be immediately identifiable as American; doesn’t mean I’m sorry I’m American or that I dislike this country. I love my country and am a patriot. But when I visit other countries, I want to be open to their world. 

When I was in Paris, I saw a group of three middle-aged women who were such stereotypical Americans I could tell from a mile away. They were not “terrible people,” but they were amazingly loud, taking up a lot of visual space with their big gesturing and one was singing something obnoxious like, “We’re in Paaaris, girl!” I don’t want to be like that. Hopefully when I’m in other countries, I am not identified so immediately as American. 

Also, on the whole, French men are beautifully groomed and well-dressed. It was very attractive. I agree about nice shoes and fitted clothing. They are also less likely to be overweight than Americans in my purely anecdotal observation. 

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There are wealthy, entitled, asshole-ish tourists of EVERY nationality. If you travel enough, you will see them all. Americans may display these behaviors in one way, other nationalities in other ways. I don’t think this ever needed to be a ‘bash American’ thing to address boorish tourist behaviors. Wealthy Asian tourists used to stop me and my children at Ala Moana mall in Hawaii, approach and try to talk to, touch, and take photos with my children as if I was invisible and wouldn’t care. They were always offended when I said not no, but HELL NO. Some cultural norms and boundaries do not translate but it never bothered me to see them excitedly, loudly, chattering or oohing and ahhhing while looking up and not watching where they were going. That behavior is universal, even for tourists who visit landmarks in their own country (as I saw at the Chairman’s tomb in Beijing). Travel is often a once in a lifetime thing due to expense so seeing someone exclaim, “I can’t believe we’re in xxxx place!” would only make me smile. Good for them! There’s a difference between general appreciation/gratitude of that sort and insulting the host country/locals. The two seem to be conflated in this thread. They are not the same.

I *am* an American and there is nothing wrong with appearing to be one anymore than there was something wrong with those Asian tourists appearing to be or speaking Chinese or Japanese in public. When traveling, I’ve never seen someone go wrong by trying the local food/fare, embracing some local customs/traditions, and trying to say a few words in the local language. We were taken around to places in SA that maybe some other tourists aren’t, treated to hole in the wall eateries, and my son was welcomed into the kitchens with the staff. You don’t have to twist yourself into pretzels or make excuses for the national leadership to be a decent guest abroad.

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5 hours ago, kiwik said:

Honestly the Americans I have met have mostly been nice.  It is not that we don't like people from America.  Of course most of the Americans I meet have chosen to leave ....

But the assumption everyone wants to move to the US.  I think it was here someone asked if people didn't like the US why did everyone want to move there.  That simply isn't true, you just have some very poor, desperate people in South and Central America who would be happy to go anywhere.  People from New Zealand will go for certain jobs and life styles but we do not wish to move en masses to the US so please accept the fact when speaking to us.

Also stop getting involved in other people's wars and expecting us to follow.  We probably will but we won't be happy about it.  And no you didn't ride in on a white charger in the second world war you just came in at the end when you could no longer ignore it.

t.  

 

Other than that keep on being your happy selves and don't worry too much about other people's opinions.  It is not like other countries sit round worrying what you think of them.  

I can’t address the “muzzle and leash” comment without being accused of being an egocentric and humorless American. But I will answer personally for trump as soon as all the Italians answer for Berlusconi, and say, all the Australians for the idiotic things their Pm says, and on and on.  🙄

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12 hours ago, MercyA said:

Oh, I am ALWAYS ready to talk up rats. 🙂

Those who have already read MercyA's Favorite Rat Story a dozen times, please skip this part. 😉 Probably there are one or two people who haven't heard it yet, so here goes (again). My friend had a pet rat when she was young. The rat's very most favorite treat was chocolate, and he had received a chocolate egg for Easter. He ate part of it and squirreled 😉 the rest of it away in his cage. The rat was getting on in years and fell ill. My friend took him to the vet, who said the rat didn't have long to live. My friend went home, held her rat, and began to cry. The rat went in his cage, retrieved his treasure--his half-eaten chocolate egg--and dropped it in front of my friend to comfort her. True story. 

Not surprising, actually, since rats have been found to display empathy:

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/rats-show-empathy-too

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/05/rats-forsake-chocolate-save-drowning-companion

Other studies have shown that rats also respond empathetically to companions' physical pain, but I'm not going to link them here, since they make for disturbing reading (and shame on those researchers).

Rats are incredibly intelligent, very clean, and enjoy human company. They can be taught to come when called and have been found to "laugh" or chirp during play.  

Just FYI, male rats tend to love cuddling, while females tend to be more active and ready to explore. 🙂 

If your daughter and her girlfriend end up getting rats, we will need pics! (What rabbit trails this thread has gone on... 😉)

2 years ago this month my son bought 2 rats. The box popped open on his way home and they escaped in his car. He drove to his apt and was able to catch one. He spent all night in his car, with only one restroom break, trying to get the other. He was miserable, had to keep the heater on due to snow, cut his hands reaching into tiny spots, and kept calling me ALL NIGHT LONG to tell me he still couldn’t get her. His dad said “It’s a Volvo! She’s not getting out, go to bed!” The next morning, with his shirt buttons torn from wriggling around the seats and baby rat poop on his pants, he drove  to Lowe’s and got a have a heart trap. Two years later, Opal’s an old fat Dumbo who has episodes where she freaks out and bites the cr@p out of his hand. Rat trauma is real.

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1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

I can’t address the “muzzle and leash” comment without being accused of being an egocentric and humorless American. But I will answer personally for trump as soon as all the Italians answer for Berlusconi, and say, all the Australians for the idiotic things their Pm says, and on and on.  🙄

Not sure the Australian PM has the nuclear code at his kooky little fingertips, tho.

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29 minutes ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

Not sure the Australian PM has the nuclear code at his kooky little fingertips, tho.

For real.   And that fact should scare the ever loving hell out of every single American- whether R or D or independent.  

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12 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I’m the op. Thank you for answering honestly. I’m not offended. Just puzzled by how things went. And disappointed that I started something that bothered so many people.

i wasn’t trying to set up anyone. 

crawling back under my rock now.

I think this thread has been really interesting to read. Yes, I think it was was a given that "feathers would fly." And that's mainly because there have been honest comments from all sides of the oceans, that is quite refreshing. It's also pretty clear that most people have trouble hearing negative comments directed at them or their homeland. Shocking that we are all human. 😉 

I'd rather hear the good and the bad, though. It's all educational and often makes one think beyond our original assumptions and view points. 

So, good on ya, non-Americans for being willing to be honest, and also very willing to stick around and respond to both positive and negative comments.

And, for the Americans, thanks for your honesty as well, and your willingness to go through this process. 

And for the moderators, thanks for not shutting down the dialogue! 

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8 hours ago, kiwik said:

 

Also stop getting involved in other people's wars and expecting us to follow.  We probably will but we won't be happy about it.  And no you didn't ride in on a white charger in the second world war you just came in at the end when you could no longer ignore it.

 

 

I'll do my best, but I'm open to suggestions to get the other 327 million people here on board.  Has your vote managed to get all of your preferred politicians seated? While we can read the thread and be more careful about our individual behaviors, there is a limit to what your boardies can do on a national scale.  I get your frustration.  We're frustrated too.  Your last sentence illustrates how we can't get it right anyway. I'm hearing "Stay out of it and what took you so long." We'd need a whole new thread to discuss how we and the world might be better off if we closed up shop internationally and brought everyone home. 

If animosity about our politics is what is really bothering you about Americans, then toning down the gesticulating and lowering our voices won't actually help how we're seen abroad.  I would never "just tell people I'm Canadian."  That's silly and dishonest. I was also raised in a culture where I was taught never to "put people out."  My voice is quiet.  I take up as little space as possible and can read a room.  I wouldn't ask for a glass of water if I was on fire and would always just wait until you offered. My looks prevent me from 'blending' in half the world so that's not a realistic goal for me, but I am considerate in social situations. I do what I can, but I'm no match for a culture that's hanging on to anger about how the WWII generation behaved on leave. I have been very interested in all of the tips on how to do better and cultural differences absolutely fascinate me.  This thread has been very interesting.  I do wonder though, if we got ALL American tourists on board and successfully managed ALL of the offensive behaviors, would it actually help how we're viewed?

We've been taught to accept cultural differences.  As long as people are considerate, really trying, and apologize when the inevitable goof-up occurs, that's all that can really be expected and we have to meet them half way.  Where I live (and this is regional) it is not socially acceptable to be galvanized against a whole group of people.   That seems like out-dated cold war thinking that you'd lump with xenophobic old people and not a currently acceptable behavioral norm.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Providing historical context does not equal 'hanging on to anger'

Re the second bolded, as have we.

I live in a diverse multicultural city, which by world wide standards, is relatively harmonious, and multiculturalism has been accepted as our national approach since the 1970's. 

Ironically, some cannot accept cultural differences in this very thread. 

I am starting to think the key difference is we have a very diverse multicultural country, where we embrace others cultures etc, whereas many people on this thread have stated that USA is a melting pot , I guess meaning that people have to melt off their culture and conform.

 

off to research the difference between multicultural and melting pot

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53 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

I am starting to think the key difference is we have a very diverse multicultural country, where we embrace others cultures etc, whereas many people on this thread have stated that USA is a melting pot , I guess meaning that people have to melt off their culture and conform.

 

off to research the difference between multicultural and melting pot

All my school days growing up and Canada we were taught that the US was a cultural "melting pot," where immigrants were encouraged to conform to the new country they have chosen to live in. And apparently in Canada we are multicultural, where immigrants balance conforming to Canada's laws, languages of English and French, and culture, with pride of "the old country" culture, language and customs. Having never lived in the US yet, I don't know how the "melting pot" plays out, and if it's actually true that there is a significant difference from other countries will large numbers of immigrants over the decades and centuries.

This promotion of multiculturalism in Canada is supported by various levels of government through direct funding and other support for things like: international languages education is offered to children and adults in schools and community settings, and community cultural festivals. There are also the private cultural parts of cities (e.g., China town, Little Italy), private language and culture classes, and many business who sell international foods.  

In contrast, I lived for 4 years in Norway in the 1990s at a time when there were very few international immigrants. I know what it's like to live in a country with a mostly unified language, culture and religion. I also experienced the tensions that arise with the rise of "foreigners" coming to live in a very homogeneous culture that has existed for a very long time. It's eye opening! Uff a meg! Some interesting times being a foreigner, that's for sure. My saving grace was the fact that my grandfather came from Norway, so I was sort of welcome, as long as I could prove my job skills were unique and could not be equally filled by a Norwegian person. Very beautiful country and very nice people. They are getting a lot more used to immigrants and refugees now, but there are definitely still tensions.

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2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I'm hearing "Stay out of it and what took you so long." We'd need a whole new thread to discuss how we and the world might be better off if we closed up shop internationally and brought everyone home. 

I'm no match for a culture that's hanging on to anger about how the WWII generation behaved on leave.

Just to address these two points — it has nothing to do with how GI's acted on leave 70+ years ago, it's about the number of Americans who, to this day, insist that all of Europe would be speaking German if it weren't for Americans. When the French and other allies refused to join the US in a totally unprovoked war against Iraq, there was an incredible amount of animosity towards the French ("Freedom fries" anyone?) and tons of media saying how ungrateful they were and the French "owed" us for saving their asses in WWII, they'd all be German if not for us, etc. That crap was all over the media in Europe, and I presume the rest of the world. I have heard Americans — including my own relatives — say those things. I have known many many people, including my relatives, who believe that America is better than any other country, that everyone in the world would rather live here, that only Americans really love freedom. Heck, I have seen posts on this very board saying some of those things. 

As for "stay out/what took you so long"... there's a difference between joining a war to defend innocent people who are being slaughtered, and starting a war that slaughters innocent people for the benefit of oil companies. The "what took you so long" refers to the first, and "stay out" refers to the latter. The US used 9/11 in a very cold and calculating way — including blatantly lying to other countries — in order to invade a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

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