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S/o International people views on Americans


fairfarmhand

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1 hour ago, wintermom said:

My first assumption would be that these Canadians are from Quebec, which is directly north of you. You could take a glance at their license plates to confirm this. They are speaking French because that is their native tongue, not because they are trying to annoy you or be secretive. As to the condescending attitude in stores, all I can say is that there is a cultural difference in customer service standard behaviour in Quebec, from my experience living right on the boarder with the province. It's like a scenario of, "I won't greet you and you don't greet me."  There is no conscious intent to be rude, that's simply how things are. 

Add in the fact that they may not be comfortable and/or enjoy speaking English, there is a good chance that they won't be chatty and overtly friendly when shopping.  Meet them in the pub in the evening and you may find a completely different situation. The Quebec sense of humour is very, very funny. Improv is extremely popular throughout the province. They have improv teams in their high schools and universities, just like you have sports teams. The adult teams that compete are off-the-charts funny. And yes, they actually have improv competitions. They are "serious" about their comedy. 😂

 

I think this is what the USians have been trying to communicate in this thread about our population. Not to assume negative motives an value judgments where none are intended.

 

44 minutes ago, Above The Rowan said:

I agree with this. 

One of my closest homeschooling friends are from Quebec, have lived in Ontario for a long time now with their family, and we still find there are some cultural differences as to things like speaking loudly, speaking very brusquely - and they are VERY ‘say what i think, no sugar coating’. It caught me off guard a bit when I first was getting to know her, and I swore she hated my guts for the first year we knew each other. But that’s just her way. Aside from that, I have never known anyone with a bigger heart or a bigger laugh, and man they are a FUNNY family - we always have such a blast when we hang out. 

My mother’s exhusband is from rural northern Quebec, and it was also a big culture shock when he merged into our family. His family would come to visit, and they CAN speak English, they all just chose not to. Even when my siblings and I are mostly angolophone, they would answer us in french when we spoke to them in English. They were VERY big proponents of keeping their French language and culture, and assumed it was the rest of Canada who should all make sure to speak French if they wanted to talk to them. Super snobby, they were. 

I lived in Ottawa for a number of years pre-kids, and had similar experiences with folks who would come across from Quebec. I was a server, and I would talk to them in English - they’d reply to me in French, and when I’d say in my battered-up French that I only understand a little, they’d get REALLY angry. This happened often enough that it was not a surprise to me after a few months of living in Ottawa. 

I think, too, sometimes people don’t realize how BIG some of our provinces are.  And how isolated many towns and cities are from each other. Quebec, since we’re on that topic, is a very large province, but with a ton of small rural areas - so even regionally within the province there are big differences in culture and language and social behaviours.

Same goes for Ontario - massive province in size - I can drive from my town in northern ontario for 18 hours and still not be at the north edge of my province. And it can’t be overstated how very very different each part of Ontario is from the others. I live, on the map, technically in upper central Ontario but we are considered “northern Ontario” because anything else north of us is SUPER isolated, and have very different lived experiences. Many communities further north than I am are fly-in only, or they are native communities, there are lots of timber and mining towns and camps. Folks who hail from those areas (and even in my area of ‘northern’ ontario) are very very different than people who’ve lived their lives south of my region. 

Ditto with this.

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9 hours ago, Amy in NH said:

 

I live in a high-tourism area an hour from the Canadian border, and we get a lot of Canadian tourists here.  Given the unfavorable exchange rate, I would guess they must be well off to vacation here, or maybe everything is just more expensive in Canada, and perhaps it is a class issue more than a cultural issue?  Anyway, most of them are not even remotely friendly - they have a condescending, arrogant attitude.  They often speak French with each other like they are talking about you behind your back, and make giant messes in the stores without picking up after themselves - treating store employees like their lowly servants.  The one Canadian national I know who lives and works here also has an unfriendly, condescending attitude, like she's always looking down her nose at you and judging you unworthy.

 

My border experiences have tended to be Washington/BC and NY/Ontario.

Presumably speaking French with each other is because they are from Quebec and that’s their language.  

Though they probably all will have studied English as their second language, many are not comfortable in it, IME.  (Related to work, when I would call to Quebec, someone who could speak comfortably in English sometimes had to be found—so that’s why I think that not all Québécois are comfortable in English, similar to in my current area there being many native Spanish as first language speakers who still struggle with English. 

(Or to reverse this, even if you are working on a language with kids for homeschooling, unless Language is really your thing and you are deliberately trying for immersion learning, even if you travel to a place where that language is spoken, you would probably speak in English within your family—not to be rude but because English is easier for you to communicate in.)

When I dealt with Québécois for work and also with a good friend in university, my approach of trying to meet them in their own language (even quite badly) a tiny bit, “Bonjour. C’est domage mais Je ne parle rien francais. Parlez vous Anglais?” helped a great deal.   If I lived that close to Quebec I’d probably use it as an opportunity to try to learn and practice some French.  

My Quebecois friend in university was bery friendly, so maybe there is a class aspect, or something else going on.  She was totally fluent in several languages including English, so language wasn’t a barrier which may have helped.  And she didn’t have a bunch of other Québécois to hang out with, so that too might have been part of it.  Or just individual personalities. 

I wonder if you could ask the Canadian National you know who lives where you are for help? Maybe for some useful French phrases, or insight, or how to ask them to bring you garments they try on (or whatever they are making mess of) when done so there’s less mess.  

Edited by Pen
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1 hour ago, Above The Rowan said:

 

Can confirm. 🤣

Actually, there are quite a few peeps in my town who would qualify into the Degen category. BHut generally people are much more like the Hicks (and has-been never-were local hockey players who still want to be chased after by the Puck Bunnies lol). 

This thread made me go look for more seasons, and I realized I am 1.5 seasons behind so I’ve been binge watching it like crazy this week. Some episodes are lame, but some of them just get me rolling. 

 

I thought Puck Bunnies were made up!  You know, for comedy!  I can walk to a rink from my house and I've never seen one in the wild.  I just got past the episode where she sends the "fat" shirtless models back to the big city.  I'm still clinging to the claim that I'm watching it to humor ds and dh.  They both have the greatest laughs of all time and hearing them both guffawing at Letterkenny has been a hoot.

This is NOT off-topic, Hive.  My family is doing their research to understand a culture outside our own.  Not everything we discover will be high art. 😁

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21 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I thought Puck Bunnies were made up!  You know, for comedy!  I can walk to a rink from my house and I've never seen one in the wild.  I just got past the episode where she sends the "fat" shirtless models back to the big city.  I'm still clinging to the claim that I'm watching it to humor ds and dh.  They both have the greatest laughs of all time and hearing them both guffawing at Letterkenny has been a hoot.

This is NOT off-topic, Hive.  My family is doing their research to understand a culture outside our own.  Not everything we discover will be high art. 😁

Puck Bunnies are a very real thing. 

I first started watching this show bc I wanted to make fun of it since it looked like such a ridiculous idea for a show. Then I realized I quite enjoyed it. For my DH and I it’s fun to pick out which sub groups our various family members or friends might fall into. 

The Skids are my fave though, they CRACK ME UP. 

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3 minutes ago, Above The Rowan said:

Puck Bunnies are a very real thing. 

I first started watching this show bc I wanted to make fun of it since it looked like such a ridiculous idea for a show. Then I realized I quite enjoyed it. For my DH and I it’s fun to pick out which sub groups our various family members or friends might fall into. 

The Skids are my fave though, they CRACK ME UP. 

YES!  So much choreography!

 

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1 hour ago, annegables said:

I think this is what the USians have been trying to communicate in this thread about our population. Not to assume negative motives an value judgments where none are intended.

 

Ditto with this.

Sure, the making a mess behaviour would not be appreciated no matter where the people come from. The language issue seems to be an ignorance of the country and province New Hampshire boarders. 

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As for the stereotype about French-speaking bilingual people acting angry about English, I hate to support a stereotype, but I did get that feeling with a number of individuals in France.  They spoke excellent English but were still angry (or looked angry) that they needed to use it.  FTR I do know some French, but for a bilingual person, conversing with me in French would be much more excruciating for them than English.  And based on their general demeanor, I didn't get the feeling they would appreciate my effort.  😛

I get that most of it is they just don't like the USA.  But I have to say that it is kind of sad to feel the hatred just for walking down their streets (regardless of whether I'm walking the culturally appropriate way or not).  I still prefer to travel than not, though.  (And yes I know others have probably felt that here - particularly people who wear Muslim or Sikh garb in certain conservative parts of the USA.  That is awful too.)

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14 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

Since tourists have come up so often in this thread, let me just take this moment to say....

Want to be a tourist and not worry what the locals think of you? Come visit Austin, Texas! Be one of the 27 million people from the US and other countries to visit our lovely city each year! We don't mind your cultural quirks. Be loud, have fun, enjoy the nightlife, eat at the restaurants and food trucks, hike the trails, sail the lakes, spend freely! South By Southwest is in March, Austin City Limits is in October! 

We like to meet people from other places and cultures, no matter how weirdly you behave. Weird is (literally) our motto! 

Because those millions of dollars each year from the (clean) tourist industry have a way of making us happy and very forgiving.

 

A friend of mine recently stayed at Miraval. She thoroughly enjoyed her stay there and the city itself! 🙂

In fact, she is still raving about it!

Edited by Islandgal
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30 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

A friend of mine just stayed at Miraval. She throughly enjoyed her stay there and the city itself! 🙂

In fact, she is still raving about it!

Great to hear! The hill country there is so beautiful. And only ten minutes' drive from Hippie Hollow, for those who like to experience the full diversity of Austin Weirdness. ;)

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3 hours ago, wintermom said:

Sure, the making a mess behaviour would not be appreciated no matter where the people come from. The language issue seems to be an ignorance of the country and province New Hampshire boarders. 

Ummmm...you do realize that northern New England was heavily populated by Québécois and Acadians? Maine has many communities where French reigns, as I’m sure do New Hampshire and Vermont. It is the second most spoken language in Maine and Vermont and third in NH.  
There’s no ignorance about the province or country to our north. Seriously?

Edited by MEmama
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58 minutes ago, SKL said:

As for the stereotype about French-speaking bilingual people acting angry about English, I hate to support a stereotype, but I did get that feeling with a number of individuals in France.  They spoke excellent English but were still angry (or looked angry) that they needed to use it.  FTR I do know some French, but for a bilingual person, conversing with me in French would be much more excruciating for them than English.  And based on their general demeanor, I didn't get the feeling they would appreciate my effort.  😛

I get that most of it is they just don't like the USA.  But I have to say that it is kind of sad to feel the hatred just for walking down their streets (regardless of whether I'm walking the culturally appropriate way or not).  I still prefer to travel than not, though.  (And yes I know others have probably felt that here - particularly people who wear Muslim or Sikh garb in certain conservative parts of the USA.  That is awful too.)

I have never seen this. First, French don't hate Americans. ATM most feel sorry for them and are perplexed by their acceptance of things the French find unacceptable. 

If you've had unpleasant experiences, it's likely on you. Do you say "Bonjour" when you enter a shop or interact with someone? Do you speak quietly? Americans are loud and it is considered impolite. You know how it's said one should put on perfume so no one but a person who is really, really close to you can tell you're wearing it? Think of your voice that way. Do you eat or drink  walking down the street? Don't, or be prepared for people to have a certain opinion of you that might affect your interaction with them. 

Basically, as in any other place you travel to, behave like a polite, refined individual and you will be received as one. It's pretty simple.

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9 minutes ago, bibiche said:

I have never seen this. First, French don't hate Americans. ATM most feel sorry for them and are perplexed by their acceptance of things the French find unacceptable. 

If you've had unpleasant experiences, it's likely on you. Do you say "Bonjour" when you enter a shop or interact with someone? Do you speak quietly? Americans are loud and it is considered impolite. You know how it's said one should put on perfume so no one but a person who is really, really close to you can tell you're wearing it? Think of your voice that way. Do you eat or drink  walking down the street? Don't, or be prepared for people to have a certain opinion of you that might affect your interaction with them. 

Basically, as in any other place you travel to, behave like a polite, refined individual and you will be received as one. It's pretty simple.

Believe me, I am not loud, not by any country's standards.  I do not eat on the roads.  I do not wear perfume, stand in the way, or tell people the US is best.  That said, I did have on white shoes ....

I should note that my co-travelers, who are Americans of Indian and Ukrainian origin, got the same vibe I did in France.

I should also note that this was back in 2014.

 

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2 hours ago, SKL said:

As for the stereotype about French-speaking bilingual people acting angry about English, I hate to support a stereotype, but I did get that feeling with a number of individuals in France.  They spoke excellent English but were still angry (or looked angry) that they needed to use it.  FTR I do know some French, but for a bilingual person, conversing with me in French would be much more excruciating for them than English.  And based on their general demeanor, I didn't get the feeling they would appreciate my effort.  😛

I get that most of it is they just don't like the USA.  But I have to say that it is kind of sad to feel the hatred just for walking down their streets (regardless of whether I'm walking the culturally appropriate way or not).  I still prefer to travel than not, though.  (And yes I know others have probably felt that here - particularly people who wear Muslim or Sikh garb in certain conservative parts of the USA.  That is awful too.)

This is interesting because it's so different from what we experienced. We lived in a French city that was not a typical tourist locale for 4 months and people fell over themselves apologizing for not speaking better English (some were essentially fluent, some knew very, very little). We had to reassure them that we were to blame.

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3 hours ago, MEmama said:

Ummmm...you do realize that northern New England was heavily populated by Québécois and Acadians? Maine has many communities where French reigns, as I’m sure do New Hampshire and Vermont. It is the second most spoken language in Maine and Vermont and third in NH.  
There’s no ignorance about the province or country to our north. Seriously?

It can't be both ways, can it? Either they are Canadian and bloody annoying, as the PP stated, or they are American and annoying. I guess going into a shop and speaking a language different than English is enough to be annoying, though.

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4 hours ago, SKL said:

Believe me, I am not loud, not by any country's standards.  I do not eat on the roads.  I do not wear perfume, stand in the way, or tell people the US is best.  That said, I did have on white shoes ....

I should note that my co-travelers, who are Americans of Indian and Ukrainian origin, got the same vibe I did in France.

I should also note that this was back in 2014.

 

Sure, maybe it was your white shoes. More likely, they didn't care enough to hate you (why would they?), and you mistook non-effusiveness for something it wasn't. Maybe your expectations were that French people are rude and so you read into actions things that weren't there. Of course, it's always possible they hated you on sight. 😋

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4 hours ago, xahm said:

This is interesting because it's so different from what we experienced. We lived in a French city that was not a typical tourist locale for 4 months and people fell over themselves apologizing for not speaking better English (some were essentially fluent, some knew very, very little). We had to reassure them that we were to blame.

Paris has come by its reputation for looking down on non-francophones honestly.

Other parts of France do tend to be friendlier.

 

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5 hours ago, bibiche said:

Basically, as in any other place you travel to, behave like a polite, refined individual and you will be received as one. It's pretty simple.

One of my big takeaways from this whole thread is that what may be considered "polite and refined" or socially acceptable isn't the same across cultures. So if you mean that tourists should do their best to adopt the social norms of the place they are visiting, sure. But I also think we could all be better at giving people the benefit of the doubt, having some patience, and trying to accept others for who they are and not who we think they should be.

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