Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Rant

Dear Stupid Americans Stationed in the UK,

Do you know how lucky you are? Really? You sure don't act like it. You act like the UK owes you something. You act like you are better than the British who ya know, are FROM here. Just because something doesn't work right, or isn't what you are used to doesn't mean "that is so British," said in your condescending tone. You do realize when you use that attitude you make me, one of the Americans who isn't stupid, look bad. I have to prove myself not to be one of you. It isn't like the British around the base haven't gone above and beyond to make the Americans feel at home. We can drive our American cars here, and yet knowing the size of the road you still bring enormous SUVs and I shit you not I saw a dully truck here. THEY DON'T FIT ON THE ROADS HERE!!!! Emblazoning the words "Yank Tank" on the back of your HUGE truck doesn't make you cool, it makes you stupid. How do you even fit that thing on the road? I have a hard time with my Jeep Compass. Oh and parking the damn thing? You practically take up three spaces. I feel like an asshole when I shout "stupid American" when I go to park but can't because you have parked a blind grandma. Guess what, if you can't fit your car in the lines in the car park, it is too damn big. Do the right thing and find a space towards the back of the car park where it doesn't matter if you take up three spaces. The people who have smaller cars will thank you. Oh and just because things don't work like they do in America doesn't mean that they are "stupid" they are just different. Get used to it, you're not in the States anymore. The washer, yes it takes longer. Oh well, adjust. I did. My dryer takes 6 hours sometimes to dry clothes, it isn't because it is "British" it is because it probably needs to be fixed. So when I mention this in polite company, the correct responses would be "oh that sucks," not "that is so British," because believe me, if a British person had a dryer that took 6 hours to dry one load, they would be calling a repairman as well. Did I mention half my friends are British? Did you know I got a better reception and got made feel more at home by the Brits here than I did by the Americans? I had friends here from other bases here that introduced me to their friends (Brits) and those friends have become some of the best friends I could have ever wished for. It actually really offends me when you refer to something that is inconvenient as something that is "British". Just because it is different, doesn't mean it is wrong. And you, you with your loud demeanor and over the top attitude, well you just make ALL Americans look stupid, not just the Stupid Americans. So, stop, think and appreciate your host country. It isn't everyone who gets the opportunities that we as military families get. Learn to adapt to your surroundings. Try to understand the culture and then maybe I will quit referring to you as a stupid American.

Cheers, Kat

43 comments:

satakieli said...

I could have written that, except replace Brits with Germans and add an extra bit about living in Germany and getting mad when coming into contact with "rude" Germans who don't speak much English.

And people wonder why I always correct everyone who automatically thinks I am American.

Margarita said...

Very well put!

A Mom on Spin said...

I think that about covers it. . .do you feel better????

Missy said...

You tell 'em girl!

Michele said...

Good for you. The key word there is host. They are our hosts which makes Americans guests. If this is the way they act as guests I won't be inviting any of them to my house.

Cammie said...

word

Badass Geek said...

Good for you for speaking your mind, and you are 100% correct in what you've said. Whomever this was directed at needs to get with the program.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Well written. Makes me embarrassed to be an American when my countrymen act like this overseas.

Most of us are better people than this. Unfortunately, it only takes a few jackasses to give the impression we all are.

Mama Dawg said...

Stupid Americans.

Wait.....yeah, I can say that. Cause I'd kill for the chance to live in a foreign country and I would never take my host country for granted.

Gaston Studio said...

I saw many expats like this when living in Bahrain and Egypt, but they weren't all Americans, just ignorant expats.

Mango Girl said...

Bloody hell! Well written!

Make copies of this and place it under the offenders wiper blades...nah, they are such assholes, they won't recognize themselves.

Bee and Rose said...

Awesome post, Kat! Well said! Glad you did the rant! I feel better just reading it! Snap!

Mom in High Heels said...

Could you forward that on to the Americans living in Germany too? They could really use it. You might want to throw in a line or two about learning at least a little of the language. Yes, almost every German speaks English, but really learn a bit of the language. It makes me so freaking mad. When we're on the train, I keep my mouth shut if there are obnoxious Americans on there because I am embarrassed by their behavior and don't want to be associated with them. I swear if I were lucky enough to live in England, I would be running around smiling at everyone and marveling over how awesome it is that I get to live there.

notfromaroundhere said...

Whew, I cannot wait to hear what brought that on :-)

You have, however, had much better luck with the locals than I have. And for that I envy you.

That said, when I was on my way to the airport for this trip, my British driver was ranting about how when something (the A/C, in this case) is broken the locals (remember, he's one of them) don't do anything about it and just accept it as broken, so I'm not sure I agree with the whole "everyone would call the repairman" line... :-)

Jenni said...

glad to hear we are still embarassing ourselves overseas. at least some Americans are trying to make us look good, thanks ;)

Captain Dumbass said...

I think every country has their fair share of idiots who sadly escape to other countries and make fools of themselves. Unfortunately, being American just means that the spotlight is that much bigger.

PS. I apologize for any stupid Canadian you may have come across.

PPS. Especially if it was me in Europe in the early 90's. There was a lot of drinking involved.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I would be pissed too.
Nicely put. Feel better? :-)

Kingsmom said...

It only takes one rotten apple to ruin the whole bunch.

Lisa said...

You finally wrote it. Good on you, Kat, Good on you!

I'll go live there for them. I'll be nice and appreciative to live in a beautiful foreign country.

Pollyanna (formerly the Laughing Idiot) said...

Go get 'em! I can't stand rude people - that's what those people are rude & obnoxious.

How often do we Americans bitch about foreigners not learning our language or observing "our way of doing things"?

We just need to remember that when we're the foreigner. To not do so is presumptuous, rude & obnoxious.

Brittany said...

I concur and I must say that if you put a good word in for the HUBBY I would LOVE to be stationed in Engand! I loved it there and couldn't imagine how amazing it is for you to live there!

Sherilyn -The Dominee Huisvrouw said...

Amen, thank you, I agree! Why Americans think that if something is different it's "stupid" is a mystery to me, & yet that is the attitude 90% of them have.

OhCaptain said...

I spent a summer in Germany way back when I was in high school, um 20 something years ago. it sounds like it hasn't changed. We were quite embarrassed on a number of occasions by the action of Americans that thought they owed us. So sad. Someday, maybe we can learn to respect others in THEIR homeland as we expect them to respect us in ours.

Well said.

Kitten said...

Nicely written, Kat, nicely written!

Joanie M said...

you tell 'em, Kat!

Smitten by Britain said...

Yeah, saying "that's so British" when something doesn't work right is like saying "that's so American" whenever something is big and tacky. Not always the case.

Like Pollyanna said, we want visitors to our country to speak English and respect our culture, then we should do the same in return. This is something that the military should be pounding home to its service members overseas, but frankly I don't remember hearing a lot of that when I was there. That may have changed now considering the blow we've taken to our image over the last eight years. Whether they are listening or not though is a different story.

for a different kind of girl said...

Kudos, Kat (and I've never been anywhere much further away than Missouri!)!

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Well put. And Americans wonder why we have a bad rep around the world.

Ms. Salti said...

Well said! I hate the fact that most Americans are so culturally stupid. It amazes me!

Katie Robinson said...

Oh I miss you and your common sense! :) I'm glad that you're taking full advantage of where you live....so that I may live vicariously through you!! LOL

Tony said...

I happen to come over from a comment you left on a guest post on my blog from Badass Geek and my first thought was "wow! I hope I never piss her off." As I continued to read the post though it made me remember when we lived in Germany and how I would feel that bit of shame when I saw other Americans act stupid or say stupid things.

This was a great post - I'll be checking out your blog more often. I'm off to read some of your older posts now. Take care

MikeH said...

Kat, well put! Ugly Americans make it harder for us non-ugly Americans (pretty Americans?) who actually live here and try to fit in.

Chairman Bill said...

My goodness - I do believe you're well on the road to becoming British.

All you now need to learn is to open any conversation with an observation about the weather.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Take it this was what you were not sure about whether to write or not. I'm glad you did. I have one of those shall I shan't I posts myself.

Oh, and the Brits abroad, just as bad. An embarrassment.

American in Britain said...

Very true. But, in my experience, it's not just the Americans who complain "that's typically British". And the reverse is true as well.

On the other hand, my husband likes to point out differences when he says, "that's typically British" in a proud way.

The Good Cook said...

Well put. This is true for any one traveling in a "host" country. I remember when I was in France, everyone warned me that the French were rude to Americans. I found the opposite to be true. Every Frenchman I met was warm, cordial, and accommadating to my ill spoken French. But of course I wasn't rude either - just grateful and happy to be there. Maybe that is the difference!

Moonspun said...

And you wonder why we get a bad rap worldwide...
and good for you for having more British friends.

bigmamacass said...

Nuff said.

You tell em Kat! :)

♥ Braja said...

Oh, it's OK Kat...you might quit referring to them as stupid Americans, but the rest of the world won't :))))

L.R. M-J said...

I LOVE this rant, f'n hilarious. We're a set of Norwegian-American expats that have been living in France for 10yrs now...10 in Paris (oh for the sweet love of escaping that place when the American tourists descend!)...and now almost a year in our country house adventure...the times I have ranted about the same comments, but with a French twist :) My American hubby even refers to himself as Norwegian now (the Frenchies don't know one funny french accent from another)...so we have one small escape route! Love you & the Cpt. Bisous from across the channel. La Laila

Howard said...

Dear Kat, I don't know whether you will allow this comment, since you and I have not got on well in the past.

But I have been thinking for some time about your post, which I think is a magnificent one, and I have been reflectiing on what goes on when someone finds herself/himself in a foreign country.

I think that there is a circularity which occurs whenever travellers to foreign countries (it doesn't matter whether they are American or British, long-term expats or tourists) interact with the longer-term -- often native --residents. It goes like this:

1. The in-comer feels insecure. They don't know all the local rules, 'mores', conventions, customs and practices, which makes them feel reduced again to the level of a child. They feel defensive.
2. Defensiveness leads to oversentiveness which leads to an aggressive stance.
3. They act agressively (in the case of Americans abroad, such behaviour might exhibit itself in talking loudly and making disparaging comparisons; with Brits they might use quiet but withering sarcasm).
4. The natives, on the receiving end of this, go on the defensive.
5. Which leads them to be sullenly offensive.
6. ... And so it goes round, increasing in the intensity of mutual dislike while it does.

Throw into this loop homesickness, the uncertainty and stress which always comes with vacations, prejudices and stereotypes which the traveller might hold about her/his host country, plus myths they have inherited about their own country, and you have the recipe for a lot of misunderstanding.

I believe that a good and happy expat/tourist is one who immerses herself/himself enthusiatically into the thick of foreign travel/residence. They're privileged in a way that few of this globe's inhabitants can be: they can have all of their senses challenged by new things, gain experience, think large. And I trust that to be a good thing!

Noelle said...

I totally get you! We were stationed in Italy for six years. Living overseas can be challenging, but people this is an opportunity!!! Don't spend your weekends at the BX complaining that there's nothing to do when Venice is a $10, 45-minute trainride away! I just could never understand that mindset.

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