Is the Grass Really Greener?
By Justine Seligson
No offense to Uncle Sam, but ever since I was little, I’ve been jealous of the Europeans--whether I’ve seen them here or when I’ve visited countries there.
The Austrians all seem to be slim and attractive, not as materialistic as many Americans and much more friendly. The Greeks always seem to be really enjoying life, partying 24/7. All of the Europeans have wonderful style and a confidence to go with it. I could go on and on about everything from food to recycling. In fact, there’s a part of me that has always wished that I too were European (though—considering all of my ancestors came from Europe, I guess technically, I am European).
Somewhere along the line, however, I woke up and realized that this vast region across the Atlantic is not a utopia. I have fallen victim to the Grass is Greener cliché. I tend to do this a lot with countries. And I don’t even have to visit them. I have this feeling Japan is a better place simply because of their food. In my mind, New Zealand is ideal, because it’s sunny year round and there are gorgeous beaches (my mom, who is also my editor, has pointed out that I live at the beach and rarely actually sit on it).
I am not alone with the country envy.
A friend from Greece was recently visiting my family. With the financial woes occurring there right now (hey, that’s a flaw!) he told us how much he loved AMERICA. “The last time I visited the States was in 2008 when the economy was falling down all around, but everyone seemed to be all caught up in The Game,” he explained with an expression of intrigue plastered on his face. He was referring to the Superbowl, the World Series, or whatever game was in the news then. “That’s all the Americans were talking about,” he added.
One of my friends visited Scotland with her family and told me how they were all “head over heels” for American celebrities from Miley Cyrus (gasp!) to Justin Bieber (repeat, gasp!). Hmmm…I guess we do have Hollywood.
These fans of America really surprised me because I thought we were universally hated simply because of our superficial culture.
But I’m not saying that all people in all nations on Earth drool over us. America is not even involved in some of the equations. For example, a family friend from Down Under complained how he disliked being Aussie and how much he wished he were Danish simply because he admired their happy-go-lucky way of life.
I guess it’s human nature that we feel our own country’s culture is somehow inferior to other countries. So if I think their grass is greener, and they think our grass is greener, I guess the grass is the same shade of green all around.
Just-Teens Travel is written by Justine Seligson, a high school student. If you would like to suggest topics--or write a teen travel piece--e-mail Justine.
Artwork: @iadams - Fotolia.com