Skip to main content

Friends and Friendliness

Friends in Austria like to ask about friendliness in the USA. They say: "When your neighbor wishes you a good day - she doesn't mean it, right? It's all superficial." I am not sure about the answer, but does friendliness, whatever the motives, not make for a more pleasant life? I'd rather have my neighbor wish me a good day and not mean it than have her bark at me and mean it.


Reese said…
I agree... even a hurried greeting from a neighbor is thousand times better than a complete blind eye
Caroline said…
I have been thinking so much about this since my recent trip to Vienna.

I was raised in the US and have lived in California for more than 15 years and the friendliness of which you speak is so prevalent here. In fact, I was suspicious of the California friendliness when I first moved here from New England. It must be fake! Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. But I have grown to appreciate and, dare I say, almost even expect a quick friendly greeting when passing a neighbor.

The environment in Vienna had a strong affect on me on my recent visit - it was palpable. I do understand the difference between the US and European "friendliness" and I am choosing to remove myself from my US-centric thinking and behavior, but I'm not sure it's going to be all that easy to get used to!
Thanks for your comment, American Girl. The important thing for me is to stay independent, not to take people's ways personally. Whatever people say, whatever they do, whether they stick out their tongue or smile - it is not about me, has nothing to do with me. An ideal, I know, but I try...

Popular posts from this blog

Back to Basics: Dry Summers, Figs, and a Chunk of Cheese

What do we know about simplicity? Figs from our tree. Figs. The taste of summer, the taste of home; my immigrant home. Our backyard tree is heavy with fruit. In the mornings I go out to pick what is ripe; figs for breakfast, a treat straight from the tree; flesh and seeds, refreshing and sweet, grainy resistance and softness at the same time. Figs, the color of their skin, purple with blotches of green or white stripes where they have cracked. The reds and browns inside bring up memories: a summer spent in Normandy, France, with my parents, my brother, and my maternal grandmother. Life was about food in its basic, original form, about mussels and figs and cheese; it was about the ocean and its tides, gigantic but predictable, and about history. We visited Bayeux to see  the tapestry which tells the story of William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings;  we spent a day or a half at  Arromanches,  saw a documentary on D-Day and the landing of the allied forces on the b

Another Word for Fast Food? Trzesniewski (Pile On 1)

The other day I passed by a new Subway sandwich place which had opened a few blocks from our house. As I was reflecting its green and yellow sign images of foot long chunks of white bread came to mind, mayo smeared on one half, mustard on the other; ham, provolone, pickles, jalapenos, onions, peppers, olives, tomatoes in between and a bag of chips for sides... People in America like to pile on. I also thought of my favorite fast food place in Vienna, which goes by the unspeakable name of Trzesniewski. The original Trzesniewski opened in the first district more than one hundred years ago. Its oldest location is tucked into a narrow street off of Graben. Other outlets are scattered around town. Trzesniewski sells open face sandwiches, slivers of rye bread (white or wheat? no, you do not get to choose!), topped with spreads made from either egg or tomatoes or cucumber, pickle, salmon, herring...  The more elaborate creations come with two or three spreads, applied next to each other

Passionate Nerd, Dull Date: Encounter With a Stamp Collector

"Their album - it's an excuse." Stamps from Austria Last week I received a packet from Austria. It came with two old fashioned looking petit point stamps. I do not collect stamps and would not recognize a Blue Mauritius if you sent me one but the stamps from Austria caught my interest. As my fingers were running over the stitching I couldn't help but wonder: does anyone still do petit point? Are young people here in L.A. or even back in Europe still acquiring the craft? I learned to stitch, sew, and knit in elementary school in Austria but handiwork was not my forte. On the contrary. Crafts used to be the one subject I loathed - though I believe that my mother still keeps the red and blue pot holder I crocheted in second grade. (It was supposed to be a square but ended up an irregular trapeze.) The other thing I was wondering about when the packet arrived is whether young people still collect stamps. When I was in high school I knew a guy my age with a collec