Do They Have Internet In Europe? Part I

Europe as a whole is different from the US as a whole. Also, the US can be divided into many different areas, all with their own habits and cultural differences. I know this. Americans know this. Still, when people are interested in where I come from, Europe seems to be taken as if it were a country. Depending on how much time I spend with those people asking me questions after I answered them, I might correct them. Because I’m not just from Europe. I’m from the Netherlands. It may seem like they’re similar to states, but that resemblance is only true in crossing borders and using money. In a lot of other prospects, for example the empirical one, they’re countries. Like the US and Mexico.

It’s not that I don’t understand the confusion, it’s that I feel I should clarify I don’t know what gas prices in Europe are. I’m guessing Polish gas prices are lower than Dutch ones, even if only because Poland is closer to Russia. Valid argument? I wouldn’t know. Also, do we have a president in Europe? Yeah, several. In fact, Europe has its own president. Several countries have their own, some adding the more important role of a prime minister in there too and among the countries within the European Union, we have at least three monarchies (that’s kings and queens). I love the questions, keep ‘m coming, but sometimes I feel some people see me as a European citizen. Just to make sure: there’s no citizen in Europe that feels that way.

What part of your identity do you feel mostly connected to?

What part of your identity do you not like being reminded of?


26 thoughts on “Do They Have Internet In Europe? Part I

  1. Ohhhhhhh man. On behalf of all citizens of the United States of America, I am sorry we are so ignorant.

    BTW – loved the map image.

    I’m going to go slink off into a corner and pretend I’m Canadian. I’m in northern Minnesota, so that’s not TOO hard.

    • It’s hard to really blame anyone for their ignorance. If your life doesn’t reach outside of your hometown (which is true all over the world), it’s hard to make those kinds of disctinctions. Also, I notice myself referring to Europe more often when I’m in the US. Map image was pretty cool, but not mine.

  2. Yes. Map? Awesome.

    This post is simultaneously hilarious and interesting, partly on account of having lived in the UK for 5 years in the 90s and having traveled to many different European countries. 1. You’re so right! Europe is not and never was megalithic. 2. For a bunch of Americans who are pretty terrible at geography to begin with, the whole EU dynamic makes it really confusing. Common currency confuses it more, I think–before the euro, it was easier to make a case for different countries.

    And then there’s the UK, which has consistently refused the euro but is technically part of Europe but not all of its citizens consider themselves such. I liked your point that nobody in Europe considers “European” to be their primary identity. It seems obvious, but not until you say it. šŸ™‚

    • The dynamic indeed doesn’t make it easier. For me it’s sometimes confusing as well, as I have city trips to Germany, Belgium and sometimes France. The different languages still make a huge difference between countries and I know towns that have a border in them, where the style of the houses changes in the same street. Europe consists of different countries, but the dynamic concerning the open borders and common currency doesn’t help make the distinction. I am in favor of a European Union (and the benefits that come from it), but I think it’s important to keep in mind that nobody feels like a European citizen. That feeling only comes up in the US. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I am from Pakistan and ignorance Is not just American’s forte, its a global phenomenon. As a student in UK, a Chinese student once asked me if I can hear the sound of bombs when US strikes in Afghanistan. The reason why I found it amusing was, because China is right next to Pakistan on map.

    Loved your write up.

    • Thanks for the compliment (and stopping by)! I certainly believe it’s a global phenomenom, although the US has a unique relationship towards Europe. In a lot of Hollywood movies, Europe is seen as one country, where the Eiffel tower and the Colloseum in Rome are next to each other. I can see where the ignorance comes from, but as in the case of your Chinese student, you’d think they would take a more humble approach when actually talking to someone from a country they only have vague beliefs about. You could almost be certain that those beliefs are stereotypical at best.

      • It did not surprise me to be honest. I understand what a foreigner would imagine if he thinks of Pakistan. I had many more similar experiences where people would ask which part of India is Pakistan in šŸ™‚ I mean its been 50 years since both countries separated.

  4. Just wait until you get to Wales one day…the ignorance about all things Europe is staggering. A girl once asked me in all honesty if Germany was located in Europe! Well, obviously being German is the one part of my identity that’s not so cool, since we are the second most loathed nation on the planet (after Americans of course, but naturally for different reasons, well…even that depends on your point of view). Apartenly I speak with a Surrey (South of England) accent, which is very confusing for Americans, when I tell them I’m not English. According to most Americans I’ve worked with or met, all Germans can yodl, wear goaty beards and leather shorts (that’s just the girls) and live on the top of the Alps; we are all natural born snowboarders and ski-aces and have no sense of humour what so ever. In my spare time I also pretent to be Canadian.

    • Not all Germans can yodle? What?! That is really ignorant, while you’d say Wales is still pretty close to Germany. I for one love Germany, especially because I really like their mentallity in a lot of things (most of them opposed to what I don’t like about the Dutch).

      • Nope, I’m from “oop North” as they say in the UK, meaning I’m from the safety of the Baltic Sea coast, where yodelling is not practiced. Our highest Baltic “mountain” is just over 100 meters tall and there’s a vicious rumour going round it’s not a mountain at all but just one over-active super-strong mole’s hill. When I was growing up & visiting my uncle, who worked as a customs officer at the German/Dutch border, Germans were about as welcome as a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. It was the 1960s and emotions were still running high and memories ran deep. Glad to hear that there are things you like about my country, There are many I like about yours…that yummy ginger cake for a start!

  5. hmmm, i would disagree with you a touch there — Eddie Izzard for example, the British citizen- comedian, feels very much like a European citizen. In fact, he talks about it and the importance of the European Union, quite often. As for approaching someone in relation to their continent, a) a lot of americans say stupid things and they shouldn’t generalize. However, b) you can say to an American and a Canadian – how is it to be North American? And we would be able to answer you to an extent at least. You see, when I talk to a Canadian I have NO, ZERO, hesitation that they will get every reference i make, whether it be to a 1980’s television character or a major gas crisis that happened in the 1970’s. They will remember everything that I’m talking about. Where as a lot of times, a European, just across the pond won’t always get my references. Does that make sense? They are our neighbors and therefore share with us some things that other countries do not. Now, in Europe it’s a big different since most countries their do not share a language, which would be similar in a way to americans and our mexican neighbors – yes, we’ll have some shared understanding there – perhaps of things like the joshua tree – a tree that grows in both southwestern america and mexico – but, pershaps, they wouldn’t know every tv reference. do you know what i mean? anyway, that’s my long winded thoughts on this post. a really interesting piece, actually.

    • Disagreement is good. I feel it’s important that some people feel more European than I do, for the benefits are obvious. I think it’s more dangerous to be looking only within your borders, as the world around us gets more and more entangled (I believe that’s a good thing). I cannot imagine anyone, from any country saying he or she is European at first. On different levels, I’m Dutch, then from my hometown Leiden and only after that might I be European. I will, however, stress how Europe needs to be more of a policital union. In an economic sense, I’m a European. But I rarely feel solely economical. Thanks for disagreeing! I was thinking about naming the US and Mexico as differences, maybe in part II.

  6. Love the map. I always thought when people said “Europe”, they meant all of the countries excluding Asia and Africa. Otherwise, saying Italy, Russia, Germany etc. meant individual ones. When I say Europe, I mean over THERE as opposed to Canada and the U.S. I never said I was smart. Just saying . . .

    • I never said you weren’t. I say America a lot when I refer to the US, which is technically incorrect. My point would be that people refer to Europe when they mean ‘where you come from’. Mostly even when they know I’m Dutch. For me, there’s a distiction there.

  7. I pretty much understand your point of view! Europe has a totally different history than that of the US and it’s therefore science fiction to think of it that way (at least at present time)!

  8. Perhaps it’s because the countries in Europe are viewed due to their size and proximity as states in some American’s eyes. (Not that we think they are interrelated in this manner.) We know what’s going on in the states, Mexico, and Canada for the most part and think of the nearness rather than the borders. I don’t think it’s ignorance so much as coming from a large land mass and viewing smaller countries as having the same perception of space.

    • It’s different for everyone. I think the word ignorance has a more negative connotation than what most people have. I don’t blame anyone and I can totally see where they’re coming from, it’s just a totally different view, as you say. People here cannot fully wrap their mind about a fifteen-minute drive to a grocery store, which comes from the same difference in perspective, I think.

      • Good point. If I were to visit Japan and use my arm-waving body language that I’m accustomed to using here, I’m sure I’d elbow quite a few people there. That would make me ignorant, but only until someone gave me the evil-eye for the offense. šŸ˜‰

  9. I was sorta ignorant before I went to Europe–and now I know only a tiny little bit more. The hardest thing was trying to use the keyboards in some of the Internet cafes. Yikes! Took twice as long. It’s odd how we human minds tend to try to reduce things as much as possible, instead of celebrating the diversity of life. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction.

  10. What you hear people say sometimes is really scary, huh? Thinking Europe is one big country is almost as bad as hearing “..Wow! how is your english so good?” and being asked, “what did they say?” whenever any asian (never mind that I’m not even the same kind of asian) speaks near me.

  11. Pingback: Do They Have Internet In Europe? Part II | visitingmissouri

  12. Pingback: European Traditions And Marketing | visitingmissouri

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