Germans are funny sometimes

Thursday, October 28, 2010

and I have some examples to support that theory.

1) The above photo was taken by the O'Colly during one of their news stories on Luna Lyn(n). I was supposed to be modeling one of the ''Emma bows'', which were super popular. Girls would come just for these bows and some would buy them by the handful (in several colors). They were always the first thing to run out. It got to the point where it seemed like every girl on campus was wearing one. I wore a smaller version of this knitted headband today at work and someone one asked me, ''So...what exactly is that on your head? Is it...normal to that in the US?''. I said, ''Yup. Prettttttttty normal!''

2) I suppose the following example applies to Europeans moreso than just Germans. I will begin by clarifying that never have I ever in my life introduced myself as "Jenni". Nope. Not once. There is some sort of mysterious pronunciation problem plaguing every Spanish, German, Austrian, Polish, Lithuanian, Italian, Slovakian, etc. whom I've encountered which prevents them from uttering the word "Jennifer" in its entirety. It doesn't bother me, but I still think it's funny whenever I introduce myself to someone as "Jennifer" and then, a few minutes later, they say, "Hey, Jenni, I have a question....".

3) One of the other teachers at school took me to lunch a couple of weeks ago and we ate tomato mozzarella paninis. She's a vegetarian and asked if we could go some place healthy and I certainly did not mind. As we were eating, she said, "This sandwich is covered in mayonnaise! I know you're American, so you probably eat mayonnaise by the liter, but I, on the other hand, hate it!". I told her that I, too, hate mayonnaise (despite whatever genetic predisposition i have to mayonnaise addiction, being that I am American, of course).


In general, there are a lot of funny little American generalizations made every day but so, often, I hear (from adults!) things like, "Aren't you American? Shouldn't your lunch portion be twice that size?" or, "You know how to ride a bike? I thought you'd only know how to drive a gas-guzzling SUV, being an American!" or, "Just so you know, waiters and waitresses here don't expect tips when you dine out at restaurants. People here just don't have that greedy sense of entitlement that a lot of Americans have."

I have to remind myself to take these comments with a grain of salt and realize that none of them are being voiced out of malice or true meanness (at least, that's what I choose to believe). Sometimes the comments are just downright funny, though not intended to be. For example, someone asked me this the other day at school: "America is supposed to be the land of liberty, but how much liberty can exist in a country where a person isn't allowed to drink until the age of 21?!" Other conversations offend me and evoke some sort of American passion that I never knew I had until living over here. I always hear people say leaving America makes you realize how much you love it. While I'm not yet ready to move home to the U.S., I am starting to agree with this statement.

Maybe someday I'll blog about the debate I recently had with someone over whether or not "the American dream" is a farce. To provide you with an excerpt of my dialog during this debate: "President Obama is the American dream. Kevin Durant is the American Dream.  My dad is the American dream!" I then went on to explain in detail how my dad was the only member of his family to go to college, received more than one degree, started his own business, supported a family, became very successful, has continued to work hard for 30 years, etc. and said, "And no, this is not the case for everyone. Some people lack motivation, while others lack resources and opportunity. But in America, almost anything is possible." 

On that note, happy (early) election day!
Jan said...

I loved the comment "What exactly is that on your head"!! You're probably starting a new fashion trend over there!!!

Kaitlyn said...

1. election day sucks
2. i'm not saying there aren't exceptions, but studying what i study, your dad is definitely an exception and a minority. i have written about 5 papers on why there is no american dream . call me a pessimist, but i think today's election outcomes will only further prove my point.
3. i miss you, and i love reading about your life.

Anonymous said...

Your broad statements about ALL Europeans or ALL Germans are kinda interesting. Have you meet every single European?

Jenni Austria Germany said...

Saying that I've yet to meet a European who calls me by my full name is not offensive. It's just true. I'm stating an observation. I lived in a building with people from over 11 European different countries and as I gradually met them after moving in, for whatever reason, any time I introduced myself as, "Jennifer", they'd immediately shorten it to "Jenni". It was surprising to me simply because that never happened to me in America. I don't think there's anything wrong with comparing and contrasting my American friends with European friends. The cultural differences are really interesting. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but nowhere in this post do I generalize "ALL Europeans" or "ALL Germans". Next time, please read the post in its entirety before jumping to irrational conclusions.

ebeth said...


It is always nice to find other Americans living over here! As an American living in Stuttgart where I have encountered not the nicest people on earth it is hard not to take the ridiculous things many Germans believe are actually true about every american as being mean or rude. They think Americans are fat,greedy,fake,etc. It has been a huge culture shock for me in that way. They can't all really be that small minded....right? I really didn't have any pre-judgments against Germans besides that they are usually joked about being stuck in the 80's as far as fashion sense:) I have been here 9 months and have about 2 more years to go. Any suggestions to becoming more acclimated? How do you not take things offensively? I am having a hard time with that. Thanks!

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