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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the European Countries.
Come next year I'm going to probably start sending out my resume to companies north of the Alps. On top of that salaries are 3 times lower than in Germany and here it seems that everyone is on the take or out to screw you for another Euro. In my opinion this lack of ability to rely on strangers or services also forces people to work locally and only with friends and friends of friends, thus perpetuating the provincialism.
Last edited by Think Different on May 18th, 2012, 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
On the plus side, Italians have the best life expectancy in Europe. Stupid people live longer. The less you know the better you sleep. They'd probably live even longer if they didn't watch soccer. It is serious business to fans and it takes a toll on your heart.
The funny thing is they've even let what they love the most go to shit. Serie A used to be the premiere league in the world, now the English, Spanish and German leagues have surpassed it. And the stadiums built for the 1990 World Cup are already falling apart.
It is not a coincidence that countries south in the EU are bankrupt, and countries north are not in the same boat.
Your observations pretty well nail it. The USA has at least some hope it can pull out of its debt death spiral...
Portugal Greece, Spain and Italy? Haha...like never..their creditors are already screwed. The northern Europeans have already figured it
out and will reconfigure Europe. Northern Europe will run things, while southern Europeans will provide the parties and artwork....
When I was working in the Netherlands, I had to do business with a European bureaucrat in the Hague who was Italian. He spoke Italian, English, Dutch, German, and French fluently. He had a Dutch and a French secretary and talked to each one in their own languages. I think most men on this board will not be happy anywhere. Happiness is really a state of mind that you take with you.
Obviously not EVERY SINGLE Italian is like this, and note that your Italian example was living in the North, not in Italy. An exception doesn't make the rule, just as I admit that I am generalizing. I have had some students and met a few people that are intellectual and "with it" here, but in general that is not the case. I think what may be happening is a slow brain drain of the best and brightest who are seeking better jobs and a better future elsewhere. I had someone tell me that Italy is a "Peter Pan Land", where the people don't really grow up. They just want to party and act like big kids. It's not a very serious-minded country. I think all of the Mediterranean countries are like this though.
See this Time mag article about just this subject:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 36,00.html
Last edited by Think Different on May 18th, 2012, 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I live in Mexico and don't expect Mexicans to satisfy my intellectual needs. I like living here because people are gentle and polite. I don't have to be bothered with the thugs and psychopaths in the US that get in your face and are looking for victims. What else can you expect of a country? If people are friendly and not molesting someone and he still can't be happy, then he can't be happy.
You're right. It's definitely more peaceful here than in much of the US and the government and people don't hassle me and my family. I also don't feel like I have to guard my speech as much here as in the US. That counts for a lot.
If your insinuation is that I can't be happy anywhere, then you're wrong. It's just that some places are more to my liking than others. I'm aware of how this country doesn't meet my expectations and I knew that coming in. This was my launching pad for the rest of Europe and a place for my family to be safe and not living on the street as we would have been in the US. I'll soon be sending out resumes looking for work north of the Alps, which is where I feel more comfortable, having lived up there for 6 years already in various countries.
I don't know if your luck will be any better in northern countries. When I lived in the Netherlands, most people were interested in soccer and drinking beer. And you will have to avoid the Italian part of Switzerland. The French will expect you to speak French and secretly make fun of you if you have an accent.
That's interesting. In the documentaries, it's said they even made fun of Napoleon as a child for his accent as well. And that was hundreds of years ago. haha
However Italians make Lamborghini and Ferrari, they also make Zanussi - which is a home appliances company etc.
I can add that many French also have never visited Paris. In general, do you live in larger city or is it smaller? I think it has to do with where you live and who you talk to. I know for sure French hate Italians for mafia-like behavior and for not being honest etc.
How is food? Girls? Are there friends to be made? How is social support for a family? Healthcare? Transportation? Are people approachable in public places? Do people talk in cafes and don't rush everywhere as much?
There is no perfect country to live in, but in general Europe is more relaxed and less paranoid. I would be fine with people loving soccer, just please I am so tired of American football. At least Europeans actually go and play soccer everywhere they can. The game is also very easy to understand and play - you need a ball and a few people, just mark the gates and play.
I was lucky because I worked for a big company in the Netherlands, so when I moved there they assigned me a relocation expert to help me adjust to the culture. She was an English woman married to a Dutch man and had extensive experience traveling and living in other cultures. She had a positive attitude and drilled the point home that it is really not your place to judge or criticize a country you move to and most of your problems will be due to miscommunications. Her attitude was one of fascination and curiosity towards the other culture and always assuming that any problems can be solved with communications and patience. If you want a country where people value living life over working, it is Italy. To move there and then impose American anal retentive values on them brings up memories of the ugly American. When I was young, I would go to Calabria to visit my grandfather, and as long as they had enough food and wine, people were happy. It's a good place to work your judgmental head out of your asshole and learn to be more relaxed.
The Germanic nature you speak of is really just in the very far north (Milan and closer to the Alps). I'm hours south of that. Granted there are a lot of small to mediums sized businesses around here, the place is still solidly focused on food and less on work. It's a good blend of work/relaxation for sure and I can appreciate that.
The only reason that I brought this question up on this forum is because I DON'T criticize the Italians openly and am just trying to understand what's going on around here. As if I needed to somehow convince you, I always show them respect and ask them lots of questions about their culture. Actually, I find that I have seen and traveled more throughout Italy over the years than most Italians have, including my wife.
Unfortunately, I'm living in a situation that I'm out in the sticks in a swampy area of the country with just old people around and very few younger/middle-aged folks. I'm in a village with absolutely no historical or cultural landmarks and my wife's family is uneducated and old farmer-types, but they are nice. Nothing wrong with that, but I just have very little to talk to them about and I have little contact with cultural/intellectual types. I'm sure over time I'll find some, but it's just slow going right now.
I've lived in northern, central, and eastern Europe and you couldn't exactly say that those people have an American work ethic of all work and no play, either. Even the hard-working Germans let loose, have parties, indulge in their vacations, and drink a lot of beer, etc. As far as I'm concerned even the Germans have a far better balance in life than most Americans.
According to the Italians I work around, yes the South of Italy has very few jobs and most people there are unemployed, underemployed, or work in the tourist industry to survive. Their "safety net" is their family and circle of friends. I've traveled in the South of Italy and while I actually prefer the people there (much more open, friendly, chatty, warm) than in the North, there just aren't enough jobs to go around. While the Northern Italians like to act like the Southern Italians are lazy, shifty and always on the take, if you look at historical Italian immigration overseas, it's been primarily from the South. Outside of Italy, however they've usually done very well for themselves. So, I see the problem in the South as one of bad government, endemic corruption through the various "mafia" groups, and harsh weather (too hot).
Actually I love beer and enjoy sitting in the pub/Bierstube, etc. drinking a few liters once or twice a week with friends. As for French, my French is average and I've never had problems with them and I don't care if they speak behind my back. I actually really like the French, I have French friends (and an ex-girlfriend) and have no problem with them whatsoever. For the record, I also speak German, Czech, Russian, and above average Italian, so I tend to do just fine.
Here's an interesting article to read on difference between US and EU cultures:
http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/11/17/the ... alues-gap/
Released: November 17, 2011
American Exceptionalism Subsides
The American-Western European Values Gap
Unfortunately it doesn't include stats for Italy, but for those who thinks the French & British are arrogant in their cultural superiority, they may find this surprising:
...and young people in the US are less nationalistic than older Americans:
American individualism vs. EU:
Last edited by momopi on November 22nd, 2011, 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.