This American Life recently had a show about urban legends that might be true. The second segment, about things foreigners believe about America, was particularly poignant. It talked about the things that foreigners are told happen in America, that they can’t actually believe are true. Partly the problem is the media. My experience is that many people in Europe believe that America is the way they see it in movies and TV shows–at least as far as crime and violence are concerned.
A friend from New Zealand celebrated her first 4th of July as a new US Citizen by throwing a big “white trash” themed 4th of July barbecue. Having completed 10 years of US residence in January, I’d been considering throwing a red, white and blue stars-and-stripes overkill party, but events had conspired against it. So when the invite to the barbecue arrived, we said “Hell yeah!”