The Corner

An American in Paris (or Salzburg, or . . .)

As some readers know, I am in Salzburg, working at the festival. And one of those readers is an American singer who has been here. A couple of weeks ago, she read my Impromptus on Obama, Americans, and foreign languages (here). And she wrote,

I can’t tell you how many times I have been in a group of young American singers who miss home with all their hearts, but who, when faced with a hostile foreigner, quickly turn on their country. It isn’t cool to be American in Europe. Personally, I am not about to apologize for who I am, or where I come from. When I travel, I have the luxury and need to learn languages, and I try to use them as much as I can. I have found in every country I have been to that people are nice and supportive, and I usually walk away with a few new friends. I’ve heard, “You’re not like other Americans.” To that I smile and say, “Yes, I am.”

Isn’t that lovely? (By the way, when Europeans say, “You’re not like other Americans,” they’re saying the equivalent of, “For a fat girl you don’t sweat much.”)


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