She sat across from me, her eyes towards the ceiling as she collected her thoughts before answering my question.
"What do we think of Americans?" she asked through her thick accent. She laughed, reaching for another piece of pizza. "Wow, where do I start?"
Giorgette, who I had met through a Lorenzo de'Medici function a few weeks earlier, was from Holland. She spoke fluent English and Dutch, and had traveled all over the globe. She, too, was a study abroad student in Florence--one of the only ones who was not from America.
I had asked her this question after hearing her complain all through dinner about her American roommates. She was an honest person, and I knew I would get a good answer from her.
"You're all loud. And obnoxious. And, let's face it, all you guys want to do is get drunk off cheap liquor before you're 21, which we think is absolutely ridiculous. Like, if you're going to drink, pay for the good stuff and enjoy it in a social situation, don't just knock it back like it's nothing!"
I laughed as she continued describing European perspectives on Americans.
"You all think you are so safe and protected, and that your country is the best thing since white bread. You tend to live in a bubble, and expect that everyone else will bow down and worship your music, your democracy, your fashion, everything. When really, we're all laughing at your arrogance."
I nodded, and commented that I noticed a lot of the American students walked around with a sense of invincibility, not thinking of any consequences for irresponsible behavior because we felt we were protected.
"And entitled!" she chimed in. You all think you are entitled. And I hate your accents!"
"Oh, American accents?" I asked, subconsciously listening to how I formed the words and trying to monitor so as to not sound too American.
"No, not yours," she laughed, noticing my adjustment. "Not that American accent. I'm talking about the whiny complaining one a lot of American girls have."
"Oh, like valley girl?" I asked, doing the accent for her.
She laughed, sitting back in her chair. "YES! That's the one! It's like, are they all just so unhappy about everything that they have to complain? And why do they talk through their nose like that and draw out the syllables and end every sentence as if it were a question? It seriously makes you all sound so stupid!"
The conversation went on for around 2 hours. We sat and laughed, commenting on each other's languages, sayings, and cultural behaviors.
While not all Europeans feel this way towards Americans, it is certainly true that a majority here do believe we are entitled, arrogant, loud, and irresponsible and closed-minded. An interesting perspective to hear directly from a European!