is this normal?

Monday, December 19, 2011

during a trip to berlin with friends, the following conversation took place at a salad restaurant as we pondered the menu, contemplating what to order:


girl-behind-counter:  if you guys need help translating the menu, i can help you with the german words.

my friend andy: oh that’s okay, but thank you.  we all speak german.

girl-behind-counter: oh.  i just heard you speaking english so i didn’t know.

my friend andy:  your accent sounds american.  are you from the states?

girl-behind-counter:  yeah.

my friend andy:  that’s awesome!  we are, too!  i’m from wisconsin.

my friend emily:  i’m from georgia!

me:  i’m from oklahoma.  where are you from?

girl-behind-counter:  i’m from upstate.

my friend andy:  huh?

girl-behind-counter:  i’m from upstate.

my friend andy:  like, new york?

girl-behind-counter:  well, yeah….obviously.

so, my question is…. is this normal?  we didn’t think it was normal. 

we thought it was stupid.

and also, shouldn’t a pretentious ‘upstater’ from new york be working somewhere that’s not a salad restaurant in berlin? 

wait, no – that actually makes perfect sense.  it was a vegan salad restaurant, after all….. she may as well have been re-stocking leotards at american apparel or waiting in line at a joanna newsom concert, polaroid camera in hand.

oh!  which brings me to these instax minis i took in berlin.  aren’t they neat?

 photo 1 (14)

top:   brandenburger tor

bottom:  checkpoint charlie, bundestag

photo 1 (13)

aaaand that’s what we call ‘coming full circle’.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

The only thing more pretentious than her saying she was from upstate was her offering to translate the menu for you. This kind of thing makes me want to hit people whenever it happens to me. Or just say "oh, well why isn't there a legible English menu already printed then, huh?"

Eeep, letting my language rage get the best of me tonight!

Unknown said...

Um, no... Not normal. Saying 'The City' would have been acceptable... upstate, silly!

k said...

that is so random...gotta love it :)

Anonymous said...

well...upstate New York is nothing like New York City. Seriously, not at all. So it's weird that she was that pretentious. But then again, I'm in New York state (and upstate at that) and whenever anyone says "upstate" it is obvious that they are talking about NY...sooo...I don't know. I don't think she was pretentious, to be honest. More like ignorant, which would make perfect sense.

anyway, love the pictures! I love my Instax Mini. And Berlin!

kim @ a positive peace said...

Absurd! There's lots of states you can be from upstate in somshe should just shove it up hers! Hahah...also would not accept "the city" as an acceptable response either, only people who live in/around NYC should say "the city" bc there are hundreds of thousands of cities!

Not that I have that much of an opinion or anything! :)

emily g. said...

in the state of NY, no not pretentious, just normal. In Germany, talking to Americans who are clearly from nowhere near NY, totally pretentious. I mean, there's an upstate Idaho too, right? why couldn't we assume she was from any state with an up? Also, I'm still pretty sure she was actually German. Also also, it was the way she said everything with that whole "my super vegan powers as well as my first rate job at this salad bar in Berlin and my roots in this vague 'upstate' place make me better than you" tone. But I guess I should talk because I would totally work at a salad bar if it meant I could stay in Germany/have money. and I am from "upstate" [Georgia]. Not sure I could manage the vegan thing though....

phew, longest comment ever.

emily g. said...

obvi by "should talk" I mean "shouldn't talk"... what I SHOULD do is learn how to type.

Mila said...

Hey, you have a great blog here, love it. Keep it up.
following :)))

Anonymous said...

i would love to have been a fly on the wall when she said upstate so i could have seen your reaction. probably would have been very similar to mine.

K said...

pssst new yorkers ;)

*as a bostonian, I am already a bit biased but this girl sounds more ridiculous than usual.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

@megan, i don't doubt that one bit.

@emily, i knew you'd love the scott pilgrim reference.

@kimberly rae, i agree. everyone in oklahoma says "the city" when referring to oklahoma city (never once in my life have i actually said 'oklahoma city' while talking to a fellow oklahoman) so i wouldn't have automatically thought NYC.

Sandy a la Mode said...

love the instax mini photos! i want one of those cameras!!

Priya said...

i live in new jersey, and it's not too uncommon here, but this is jersey, so it's not too much of a stretch haha.

[eeny] said...

I lived in NJ for a little over a year so "the city" totally is NYC for me and hearing "upstate" always makes me think of upstate NY but I would never refer to either of these places as just "the city" or "upstate" to anyone from anywhere else in the world. I also heard people in the LA area calling LA "the city"... Berlin could be "the city" as well =)
Funny though that she totally assumed that everyone knew what she meant.

Jessi @ Life: The Epic Journey said...

The offering to translate the menu was def lame, but the upstate thing is pretty normal. NY is the only place where they call the northern portion "upstate"...

nicole said...

i'm from upstate ohio.

or at least i will be now. sounds fancier than saying cleveland.

Jenni Austria Germany said...


that's what we started saying too. in the restaurant after we sat down, we started asking each other, "where are you from?" and answering by saying, "i'm from payne county...what, you don't know it?" or, "i'm from the southside of town. what, you don't know what town i'm talking about?"

Heidi said...

Oh dear. I don't think it's normal at all. It's like "The Bay Area" response to me - Chesapeake Bay? Willard Bay (of the Great Salt Lake)?... Oh! San Francisco Bay... so not normal to this Idaho girl at all.

Andrea said...

Typical New Yorker... ;D

this free bird said...

trust a NY'er to come to Europe and act like an a**hat

ashley // chasing heartbeats said...

pretentious and/or rude American expats drive me crazy. grrrrr.... they give us a bad name abroad, I am sure she is not just snotty to other Americans. I always go out of my way to be nice to fellow Americans living in Germany, because I feel like we have some sort of mutual understanding of each other, but it hasn't always been met with kindness in return. Some people have a strange expat competitive attitude which I really do NOT understand.
But I love your instax pictures :)

Julie said...

Ahah, You can take the Girl out of NY but not take NY out of the Girl..

Did you ever went to Belgium?
You definately should it's my country and it's gorgeous :)

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