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[PUBLIC] The Conversation I Keep Having - The Cover Story
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Mon, May. 21st, 2007 11:06 am
[PUBLIC] The Conversation I Keep Having

I know several of you have heard this already, but there are people on my friends list who will probably appreciate this story.

Since I got to the Netherlands, I've found that my first "getting to know you" conversation with almost everybody in the country goes almost exactly the same:

Me: Hello.

Other Person: Ah, you must be from the United States. [Apparently my accent gives me away immediately upon opening my yap.]

Me: Yes, I am.

Other Person: Where in the US are you from?

Me: Well, I live near the city of Boston.

Other Person: Oh, where's that?

Me: Its on the northern section of the Eastern Coast, in a state called Massachusetts.

Other Person: Oh... (thinks for a moment) Is that near New York?

Me: Yes... Yes, its about three hours north of New York.

Other Person: Oh, so not really.

Me: By our standards, Boston and New York are quite close.

Other Person: Have you ever been to New York?

Me: Yes... Yes, I've been to New York several times.

Other Person: Is it as big as Amsterdam? [NOTE: Amsterdam is a city of about three quarters of a million people]

Me: Parts of it are.

Other Person: Oh, so its really big.

Me: Yes... yes, New York City is very, very big.

Other Person: Well, good to meet you. I'm sure we'll see each other again.

Tags: , , , ,
Current Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands

13CommentReplyShare

mikecap
mikecap
Mike Caprio
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 11:23 am (UTC)

It would be interesting to know if Los Angeles is the number 2 internationally known American city...


ReplyThread
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 11:42 am (UTC)

Based on my (admittedly uncontrolled) anecdotal research, it seems Washington is the second best known American city, and Chicago after that. Interestingly, but understandably in the case of the Dutch, many people believe New York is the capital of the United States and Washington is merely the seat of government, such as the relationship Amsterdam and The Hague have here.


ReplyThread Parent
purly
purly
...
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)

hahahahahahaha

I wonder if you would make more friends if you just said you were from New York.


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petercooperjr
petercooperjr
Peter Cooper Jr.
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 11:56 am (UTC)

Somewhat related, I was amused when I read Seamus Campbell's description of where Grand Prix: Massachusetts was:

Fitchburg, Massachusetts is about 45 minutes northeast of Boston, which is to say: the GP was about 45 minutes from anywhere you've ever heard of. The GP was not held in Fitchburg proper, however, but rather in a small hotel-and-convention space just outside Fitchburg, which is to say: the GP was just outside a place about 45 minutes from anywhere you've ever heard of.


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elusiveat
elusiveat
elusiveat
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC)

Other Person: Oh... (thinks for a moment) Is that near New York?

Me: Yes... Yes, its about three hours north of New York.

Other Person: Oh, so not really.

Me: By our standards, Boston and New York are quite close.


Yes, and no. The perspective of a suburbanite is different from the perspective of an urbanite. I'd not doubt that Boston and New York are closer together for me than for a European, but I'm also quite certain that they are further apart for me than for you. There's so much stuff within a convenient (< 1 hour) train or bike ride for me that I find Worcester inconveniently far away.


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bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)

I'd not doubt that Boston and New York are closer together for me than for a European, but I'm also quite certain that they are further apart for me than for you.

Umm... it may just be that I haven't slept in over 30 hours, but are you agreeing with me or disagreeing with me here? Or is this a plug for something? I'm confused.


ReplyThread Parent
elusiveat
elusiveat
elusiveat
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC)

I thought "Yes and no" was pretty clear : )

I agree that they are quite close together for you. I also agree that they are closer together for Americans in general than they are for Europeans in general.

I would not personally describe them as quite close. I'd never go to NYC for a daytrip.


ReplyThread Parent
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)

I'd never go to NYC for a daytrip.

It's actually not hard to do NYC for a day from Boston. If you catch the 0600 Acela out of South Station, you can be walking the streets of New York at 0900, spend 12 hours in the city, catch the 2100 home and be in Back Bay by midnight or so.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)

Uh huh.

I'd never do NYC for a day-trip.

Okay, maybe if it was the only way that I was going to get to meet with a very close friend.


ReplyThread Parent
elusiveat
elusiveat
elusiveat
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 02:34 pm (UTC)

Uh huh.

I'd never do NYC for a day-trip.

Okay, maybe if it was the only way that I was going to get to meet with a very close friend.


ReplyThread Parent
elusiveat
elusiveat
elusiveat
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)

Sorry about the anonymous comment.


ReplyThread Parent
verrucaria
verrucaria
E. Z.
Mon, May. 21st, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)

That's totally not my international experience.

For me, it usualy usually goes more like this:

Other person: So where in the States do you live?
Me: I live in this small state called Massachu...
Other person [interrupting me]: Oh, yes, I know. Boston!
Me: I don't actually live in Boston, but it's not too far.
Other person: Oh, yes, I know. Boston, Boston.

From my experience, Europeans (well, mostly Polish people because that's about the limit of my European experience) will know three and exactly three northeast U.S. cities: NY, Boston, Philadelphia. They'll also know their corresponding states. Furthermore, they will not be thrilled to find out that other cities exist in the area.


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ab3nd
ab3nd
ab3nd
Mon, Jul. 2nd, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
I had this happen to me in Belgium

It was a guy with a strong English accent, much like Don Cheadle's character in the newer Oceans' 11 movie. When I said I was from the US, he asked if I was from NY City. I think NY is the default "or wherever you people come from" for the US.


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