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The title might seem a bit controversial, but it is the Truth , We Americans should start appreciating what all we have in this great country, even though we are in rough times now. There is no place better than the USA.
I’ve just returned from Europe after 3 years with my family. I lived in the UK, the Netherlands. and a few months in France.. While these countries may not represent the the entire Europe, they do many things in common with other European countries. While I had a great time there and made many dear friends , I'm so glad to be back in my mcmansion driving an SUV.
Pretty much half of our income went back the government. Which leaves you compared to the USA with less money to spend. Since i moved there with my family i wanted to life in the suburbs like i was accustomed in the USA. While the typical American suburban house is about 4000 square feet, the average in Europe is 1300, yet you pay as much if not more. to make matter worst, you always share your side bearing walls with neighbours as the brownstones houses in the USA. The backyard is extremely small and you don’t really have any privacy. You can hear the neighbours of 5 houses further talking. Usually the living room, dining room and kitchen are on the ground floor and are in an open space. Everything happens in there. You eat, cook, receive guests, work on the computer, watch tv, somethigs give birth to a child all in that 40 square foot room. And if you have pets , they also life in that room. The second floor typically has a maximum of 3 bedrooms. One average size room and two small ones and one bathroom. No walk-in closest, no master bathroom. The whole families just shares one bathroom. Then you got the addict which is for storage and laundry. Depending on the type roof you might be able to squeeze in an extra room.
People usually do groceries every day because the houses are so smal to store food. You can’t stock buy for a whole moths. Plus cars are extremely expensive as most things. Whole families just have one tiny car because cars are taxed monthly by the weight. How heavier the car how more expensive it is. So therefore you are unable to transport a month worth of grocery home. A Lincoln town car is only for the absolute rich in Europe. The 40% of the price is made of taxes. The gas price there is outrages.Almost 70 procent goes back to the government. A gallon would cost you about $ 9.00 there. Visiting a friend outer state is not something you do weekly due to the gas prices
So what do you do in your free time? While eating at a restaurant is pretty standard in the USA, eating in Europe is very expensive. The portion are smaller but you pay 4 times as much. It is not strange that people rarely pay for the whole group. Everyone pays their own food. Going out to the club is reasonable, but don’t expect any valet parking or buffets in the club. Anything extra add to the cost of living so people and companies try to keep the cost down by living very sober. Simple things we take for granted in the USA are seen there are luxury. Weekly Laundry visits, taxi rides, having a maid, a gardener, owning a backyard pool, in Europe is a big no no. To expensive. We gave Ipads as xmas gifts, they give oven mittens. A child b-day consist of maximum 5 children since the houses are too small to invite the whole class. Weddings don’t have any catering, cause it’s too expensive for the average Joe there.
So as you can see, we really have to be grate full sometimes be an American. I do have to give the Europeans credit for the Architecture.
so its all about money! How about vacation time, holidays, days off, free time....can you elaborate on that! How about paying for health insurance in US yet still end up with huge medical bills?
The lifestyles are different, so you can't really directly compare US life and European life.
When you get over having a huge SUV (for whatever reason) huge houses and working all the time...then you can probably like the life in Europe.
I've lived in Europe half my life and in the states the other half....pros and cons on both but I would never say one is better than the other...its just way different.
Glad you shared this with us!
Thanks poop. It's just different.
A big house means more upkeep, a car is $6,000/year just to keep running, the threat of bankruptcy due to medical emergencies looms constantly (and it's a very real occurrence, not hyperbole), and you're surrounded by yahoos. Yeah, I see a LOT in a European lifestyle that is so much more attractive. When I lived in downtown Philly I was living a more Euro way of living than I am in a suburban Midwest location right now, and I lvoed it.
One thing I love about US is nobody cares where you are from (except some rednecks)! You live here, work, pay tax and you become American and nobody cares about anything else. If anything, it's becomes 'cool' to be from somewhere different and nobody makes fun of it.
Anywhere in Europe, I felt like a foreigner....didn't feel like I was at 'home' and many Europeans think they are above you. I had that feeling but I know some people that didn't have that.
What I hate about US....is the driving. You can't get anywhere without cars, everything is so spread out and you rarely see people. I like the density of European cites, because I like people and to be around people.
and and that 4000 sq. ft. home...its bank owned. Rarely do people own their own houses, unless they are in their 60's. So I would hate that feeling of 'having' a 4000 sq. ft. house and knowing our situations in the economy ... that you can lose that house in no time.
So yes, debt is a huge part of our life styles here.
You get more free time in Europe. I had 5 weeks off per year and unlimited sick days. Can't beat that. However, it's nice to have the choice to own a big house or car. And if you are not in to that, and you don't have children, renting a studio and using public transport in the city is also good. In Europe however, you don't have that choice. Everything is brought down to a bare minimum. Everything is dictated to you. Thou shatl live meager.
I love going out to eat with friends and taking the tab. Can't do that in Europe. I love coming home to a clean house. Can't have a maid in Europe. I love BBQ parties, can't pay for a rack of lamb in Europe for 10 people. Like i said, it's nice to have the choice instead of the holy god called the govnerment making that choice for you.
And yes, I do miss certain things in Europe. The small cousy cafe's and pubs.
If you want to come home to a clean house you DO have the choice to clean it yourself. Just sayin'.
the same people that can afford maids in US...can have them in Europe.
and remember that in the US the insurance companies dictate when you "should" have children....because they will not cover the cost of having a baby
As compared to the US, where taxes take about half your money (federal, state, sales, property) and you don't get jack-shit in return.
Exactly, Miles. The reason one can afford a maid in the US is most likely because that maid is an undocumented worker who you pay far below minimum wage. So your clean house comes at the expense of someone with no security, no access to health care, no rights as a worker; someone who lives in fear that they will be deported or that if they report any illegal activity on the part of their employer will lose their source of income or worse…it's rabid, horrid social inequality that, in many ways, makes the US such a nice place to live for so many who can afford it.
BTW, same thing with your inexpensive restaurant meals and every other damn thing that comes cheap in the US - SOMEONE is paying for it, and with something of far more value than just money.
God the US sucks. I'm so ready to leave here. But, as poop says above, no one else in the world wants USAmericans to come live there. They know we suck!
you crazy, d
Harold - are you fat?
At the same to token. The immigrant gardener who starts working with no benefits, lives in a small home with 10 other relatives. They work hard and ten years later they own a house, a car, and have a gardening business. They would be in welfare in Europe or working in a factory since the government made it almost impossible to own a business.
If this immigrant wanted to start a business in Europe, he would need at least a trade school diploma, he needs to pay 30% of the workers insurance and pension, he needs to pay his workers overtime when they passed 8 hours and weekends, all sick days are fully paid. The cabdriver needs to follow a special course in order to get a permit, he needs to get his car check every six months, he needs to pay a lot of money to extend his permit yearly. The laundry guy can only use eco friendly chemicals, he needs a special permit in a designated area to house a laundry, he needs to connect the pipping equipment to a special sewer system, which is more expensive that the domestic sewers. He can only employ people for a minimum of 6 months or a year. Within those months he can’t fire them. Same applies for the gardener or anyother business in Europe. All of this makes the businesses or people too expensive which defeats its purpose.
After riding my bike for 3 years to work, i'm not fat. Now i can relax in my SUV to work.
yeah, um, about that half your income rant. you conveniently leave out what you get for the "loss" of that income. oh, and about the mcfatties, err, mc mansions, europeans just happen to value the space they have left, and seem to prefer not loosening their belts and spreading out all over the remaining land they have left, unlike us fat americans. as for gas prices, how about their public transportation? no need to fly every fucking where, take a bullet train. healthcare? i'd rather have euro socialist care than what we have in the usa. i'd live in europe any day of the week and twice on sundays.
how myopic can one person be?
So what's wrong with having education to start a business that provides quality work? What is wrong with paying workers overtime? What is wrong with paying workers sick days? What's wrong with having a working car to provide transportation for others?
It seems like you would be a prime example of "employers" exploiting workers to make maximum profit so you can be lazy, to have a maid, 4000 sq. ft. home, an SUV and whip out your fat wallet to show your "friends" that you have money while picking their tab.
I think harold pulled off a maximum troll here.
Well played sir.
I guess when your threads are not politically correct it's being considered trolling.
Politically correct? No, I think "I traded in my bicycle for an SUV" is comedy gold. Onion worthy. Funny couse it makes no sense.
It does make enough sense for me. In Europe I wasn't able to afford a conventioanl sized sudan. Just a compact hatchback for the whole family. My wife used the car (if you can call it one) and i paddled my way to work, in all weather conditions. In the USA, cars are seen as a way of transportation. Nothing more. So therefore you pay for what you get. And since I like SUV's I have the choice to buy one, while my wife prefers a Volkswagen Golf. In Europe cars are seen a way to make a quick buck for the government, yet they sell it as trying to regulate the carbon monoxide output.
I wonder which american is willing to pay $9,00 for gas?
i have lived and worked in a few countries, Australia, Germany, The Netherlands and now the UK. OK i realise none of these are the US but i have a bit of experience with different cultures and cities. When i was in architecture school i really wanted to be able to work in a few different places and then i'd know what i really like and feel is important - luckily that happened. It sounds like you have found out was is important for you for you too - thats great.
I AM! I am willing to pay $9/gallon for gas if it means we have real environmental protections, my tax dollars can go for public education and health care not road maintenance, and there is functional public transit and equitable choices for bike riding!
Jeez, harold, ARE you USAmerican? Because you're saying you want to enjoy ALL the things that got USAmerica into the stupid, lazy, greedy, ignorant condition we're already in!
Obviously not "more better" grammer.
i don't know about you donna, but i don't think most people can't afford $9/gallon when the average american commuting time is between 30/40 minutes. the usa is a nation built on cars, and what works for europe doesn't work here.
as far as lazy and ignorant americans, i've been to both italy and spain and the people i met in italy were much lazier and MUCH more ignorant (particularly on global current events) than most americans. i went around 2007 and literally every person i talked to thought 9/11 was an inside job. i think the lazy and ignorant accusation is a stereotype that the media likes to give us that really isn't as true as we think it is. no other nation loathes itself like we do.
when i went to spain, the people i was with (recent grads) told me that because the government paid for everyone's education, their whole country is over-educated and there aren't enough jobs. jobs that don't require an education don't hire graduates because they know they're going to leave once/if they get an offer. that and the fact that they're almost bankrupt.
i agree with harold on his "Thou shatl live meager" comment. in the us, you have more choices and mor mobility (in terms of life direction, not cars) whereas in europe you really can't go past that threshold the government gives you. europe's very socialized, and its a very different culture compared the US. personally i think the system in the us is a good thing-- something that separates americans from other countries. but as you're probably aware, the socialist/capitalist split is only growing here.
also, the US is a much better climate for small businesses.
jeez, looking at all those typos i should probably get some sleep :-/
due89:"in the us, you have more choices and mor mobility (in terms of life direction"
That's just not the case at all. (NY Times from few days ago)
Or was that a typo as well?
interesting. my opinion was based on observations in southern europe, but i'll give you that. not a santorum or ny times fan though...
being a part of the middle class, i guess i'm biased towards middle class mobility (which the article does say is pretty fluid). i agree it is getting harder for people at the bottom to get to the top thought. my grandparents came to the US with a fifth grade education in and worked in factories/masonry. they now own their own home among other things and are pretty well off. my parents went to college debt free. i highly doubt any of that would be possible today.
keep in mind that part of the article mentions that the difference between the 10th and 90th percentile for danish families is only 45k, which is an example of limitation... you're not really going anywhere.
btw northern europe is way ahead in a ton of stuff, in particular: quality of life. my experiences were in spain and italy... put that with greece and you don't exactly have a winning team.
Due I do agree with you about the potential for mobility - yes in the US anyone theoretically really can be president. Obama's a pretty amazing example of that potential - but one looks at Bachman and Santorum and Perry and wonders what the hell those rural voters have been smoking to allow those people to get in to power. Granted, I know that Europe has its fair share of totally boneheaded idiot politicians, too!
i think its just that they share common values. if you look at any type of value system other than your own they usually seem pretty silly.
You have not seen anything yet!.....wait till you realize that the bankers have gobal interests, and those interests are not yours!
Have your heard of the EU, BRICS, defaulting of Greece and the major hurt we have yet to realize in the USA. Did we also overlook that the profession has employment of 13.9% which is reported and more then that of people who have given up hope of ever being the next Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, Frand & Beans..
Due, when a value system includes deep hypocrisy, it's not just silly.
you mean like spending $800 billion we don't have to prevent financial collapse caused by people spending money they don't have?
When you're born in a semi communist culture like Europe you don't know better. You think your system is better than the rest of the world. The leaders brainwash you that the USA is the devil, which is common practice, in order for people to believe in the socialist system. In that sense I can understand the hostilty towards americans. Some of that is also stem from jaelousy.
That said, the enormous freedom we have in the US contributes also to our tolerance towards mulitculturism. It is somewhat standard in Spain and italy to have banners and flags with racial slurs and swastika printed on them at a soccer match. It's completely legel there. Also the occasional throwing of bananas towards african players and racial songs is common practice. These things are absolutely impossible in the USA. It just goes to show that Europe in acceptance of other cultures is over a century behind us.
if you are born into capitalism you don't know any better. You think your system is better than the rest of the world. Leaders and media brainwash you that the rest of the world is the devil! It works the same way buddy.
How many times do people freak out when you say socialism....they automatically assume communism and are all up in your face, defensive and afraid. And its not that freedom that made them that way, its the government and media.
I´m pretty sure that, even though you might be better off in the USA when you want a maid and a gardener, you´re better off in (northwestern) Europe when you ARE the maid or the gardener...
Brilliant point, usernametaken!
Due, the financial crisis is more about the mislabeling and selling of crap financial instruments then making a bet that the crap would fail, in other words, it's due to illegal and unethical financial practices, not just taking on manageable debt.
And by hypocrisy I was referring to politicians who scream about welfare then take farm subsidies, or rely on medical technology for themselves while screaming it's immoral for anyone else to have it, or call for less government when they've been on the tax payer dime for decades.
this entire thread is a joke, right?
Image the one hobby you love to do and you do it weekly. Imagine now not being able to do it cause it's too expensive. Imagen all the free time you are accustomed too and now all that time goes in to cleaning the house, cooking, gardening, travelling by public transport, not being able to shop after work because the stores are closed at six. Imagine being in a supermarket and only have the choice of two brands per product, cause the government decides what product they think is good for you.
This should put things into perspective.
That last post has to be a joke.
the hypocrisy and corruption goes both ways... dems arent' immaculate. i'm not getting into this though. no place for a conservative on archinect!
due, with all due respect, that last comment is bs. there is a place for conservatives here, just not for people without any sense of decency or history. yeah, dems are just as corrupt as repubs, but part of the problem is the rampant hypocrisy in repub politics. example; anthony weiener gets caught sexting and is forced to resign because of the right wing "outrage", but when vitter and others see prostitutes or fuck their staff members, no one resigns. in mn, the conservative leader of the state senate, pushing an anti-gay marriage amendment gets caught fucking her staff member, she doesn't resign. so, for the right to scream bloody fucking murder, with their righteous indignation, about the immorality of the left, i want to choke someone. another example, santorum, no not the frothy mix, but the former senator, rails on family values, catholic values and rants against weiener, and then we find out that he, instead of asking john ensign to resign, he tips off ensign about the impending scandal becoming public, it galls me to no end.
as for harold. harold, harold, harold...yes the spanish have racist soccer fans, yes the continent has issues. but, to suggest that racism does not exist in american sports is to actually belies a fundamental reading of the history of us professional sports, and a present condition. i have been to several different types of events, in various northern cities, and throwing batteries at players and calling players monkeys is still the norm. i mean, how long have you lived outside the us, and did you time travel? and of course, no one in america is brainwashed about europe...
hes got bigger issues than just wanting to have a maid!
I would emphasize this quote:
While I had a great time there and made many dear friends
Your priorities sound messed up. There is nothing wrong with living meager. In Europe you own your stuff, in America your stuff owns you. It sounds like you're happier having a hummer than having friends?
I'm sure America's current climate is great if you're born into a family with a 4,000sf house, a maid, and a pool. I wouldn't know, and I'm sure that goes for most of us on here. Instead I get to worry about student loan debt, rising health care costs, and things that should be less of a concern for most Europeans in situations similar to mine.
I already have to spend my time cleaning the house, gardening, and cooking. I remember no stores being open on Sunday when I was Germany for a while, and they closed the local kiosk where I got beer when the owners went on vacation. It was sort of harder for me, but I felt it was overall worthwhile to let them have a better quality of life that way.
In addition to that I get play SWTOR or go fishing on occasion. Lots of Europeans doing both. What kind of hobbies do you have?
b3tadine[sutures], are you suggesting i don't have a sense of decency or history?
what you described are politicians, not the principles themselves, in which case i whole-heatedly agree.
in my experience, the architectural profession seems to push towards the liberal side of thngs, so in a discussion like this, and along with the arch-ego, its pretty much pointless to argue. thats all i'm saying.
due, no, what i am saying is that i don't have a problem with conservatives, but i have a problem with hypocrites.
no, actually, what i am describing is ideologues, and the republicans, along with their no tax pledge, tea-party morons, and religious fundamentalists; are consistently driving this country into irrelevancy. i think the people i describe are deliberately taking advantage of the under educated, and by constantly attacking education, and pushing education toward privacy, they see a way of architecting a population of idiots believing in the spirit in the sky, and less in fact based world view. those currently residing in the republican party are in love with the idea of getting people to vote against their own self interests
As much as I think harold went over the top, donna sink went off planet.
harold, I am not for any ism in totality, but lets be real without some elements of socialism the US would not function. If you want to completely live in a capitalist system then who builds the roads that move the goods some generous billionare? What about the subway system in nyc? I would not want to live in a system of absolutes of any kind whether socialism or capitalism, and neither Europe of the US is absolute anything. We need logic and common sense in this world and less hard line ideology. Europe is not better than the US, and the US is not better than Europe, they are just different, and neither is even close to what they should be. Europe is a great place to live if your not a glutton. The US may have more opportunity, but we are also over worked and over stressed. If you live in the US you can get just about anything except free time. If you go to a bank in Europe be ready to wait for an hour while the only teller is on a smoke break...It is much slower over there. Its all relative.
Harold you have a lot of good points. I lived in suburbia America for my first 24 years. 4 years ago I moved to London.. and then a little over a year ago I moved to Germany. I have gone through sooo many of the same thoughts you have and have many of the same frustrations. I went from a life of having everything from tortillas, to a car battery or whatever at anytime of day or night i wanted to a life where a few weeks ago i literally had to walk out of a meeting with my boss and was like, "listen... I dont have anything to eat at home because ive been working late the past week everyday. everything closes at 8! I have 10 minutes to get food or I dont have dinner. Im sorry... I have to go." I remember the good times of randomly driving from Houston to Austin just to go to a random bar and driving back. Trust me, at $9 a gallon, I really hate driving anywhere. It completely changes one's lifestyle. It makes the world smaller. Everytime I go home, I am completely amazed at the selection of every single thing. So...much... choice. And yes thats good. I remember after my first year in Europe talking to a former professor about these very things. Her response was that it was so great that I was feeling these things. It was making me appreciate America more.
But I am really surprised that you didn't stop and try to understand why all of this is the way it is. And how it can work. Do I really need 20 different types of laundry detergent in massive sizes? I just need my clothes to be clean. And when Im not working late, I too like to shop daily for my food. It has nothing to do with the size of my storage space or car, but of freshness. America uses a ton of preservatives in all of its products. That shit isnt good for you and kills natural flavor.
I like many things about european way of life. I don't think I can do this forever, as I am very much an American.. and my American ways just dont work here. But I am glad of what I have learned through this experience. Americans waste sooooo much. We dont need all of that. There is no reason to have so many big shiny new cars! So much of what Americans value, is in reality valueless. Americans get all of their personal possessions, all that electronic crap, and all those christmas presents, while europeans get time with their family, time to travel and time to enjoy the life they do have. Did you know thats why the stores close early? So that the workers can go eat dinner with their families.
There are pros and cons. I used to go through many debates of this with my german girlfriend. Im glad to be from where I am from. But had I grown up the way she did, I would never have been fat (I have strangely lost 40 pounds since living in Europe btw... I gain 5 pounds every single time i go home and always loose it within a few weeks of being back here...america food is so bad...but so good) I would be much more healthy overall, I would value possessions more, and I would have gotten a free college education.
In America everything is about money. Everything. Money seems to be important to you. So you should probably just stay there. Can I ask why you were here for "years" if you had such a problem?
btw: "I had 5 weeks off per year and unlimited sick days. Can't beat that."
I have 6 weeks holiday and unlimited sick :) not bad for a 28 year old architect at a small design office.
nice onion worthy rant and interesting discussion ensues. satire at its best. a 3 swift effort (5 swifts = suggestion to eat irish orphans).
I'm glad you mentioned values of both! I'm forgetting what my values were in Europe and what my values are here.