Interview with Britney from the USA
Which country would you consider to be your country?
My country is definitely the United States of America. I was born and raised there and even though I have travelled to many countries now I still feel unfairly the sense of nationality there, because it was just what I was brought up with and what I find to be normal. So, I would still choose the United States.
Was there a particular country you were impressed with along your travels?
I was impressed by man many countries. I found things impressive of everywhere I went almost. And I even wrote a cook book about it. So I wrote a cook book with kind of food cultures from all the different places. I love the food culture in Italy for example and I love the food culture in Denmark also. And in Spain as well. So I am very impressed by other countries and I think the one that stands out the most would probably be Denmark. My boyfriend is from Denmark and I really like the values they have and the way they take care of their people. That´s something that I can´t say is true in my own country. So that´s disappointing.
How do you feel about people taking care of each other in America?
I feel like this is something that we need a lot of progress with. We don´t take care of each other we´re more interested in taking care of ourselves – and we don´t even do that well, so in that sense it´s very problematic. There is a huge separation between rich and poor. And unfortunately a lot of people are suffering from this. But on the contrary there is just this really overwhelming feeling of aspiring for success that I don´t find in a lot of other countries – and when I do find it they are often inspired by Americans. So I like that desire to dream and to hope for more. Versus in Denmark they don´t hope for more they are happy about what they have. So there´s something beautiful about both of those things.
Could you tell me a general misconception people have about the United States?
Yeah, there´s many. We´re all fat, we all have guns and…let´s see. Fat and guns, those are my favorite ones I guess.
So, why is it not true?
It probably is true in some parts in the United States. What´s funny is that – the United States are really big. Almost as big as Europe. There´s so many States and every State has their own culture. I´m from California and our own culture I really strong. We actually have a very healthy culture so I don´t think we are the fattest state, not even close. We´re the state that like salad and avocado and oranges. And we´re the state that doesn´t do a lot of guns. I have never seen a gun in my life. So as an American that says something right.
Which would be the State where these prejudices fit better would you say?
Probably Texas, I think, is top of both of these things. I´ve never really spent time in Texas I guess I´ve been there but I was very young. But I hear in Texas they have a lot of fat people and a lot of guns and a lot of this old mentality this old cowboy masculinity mentality. And fortunately I think it´s dying out. There are even parts of Texas now that are seen being healthy as California. These major cities. Austin is having lots of Yoga studios and you wouldn’t think of Texas being like this but I think the new generation is bringing a lot of mindful things into the culture.
What´s the general reaction of people when you say “Hey, I´m from America”?
Well, my Danish boyfriend has thought me not to say that I´m from America and to say that I´m from Las Angeles, because their minds goes to something more positive like movies and the beach versus America which could be anywhere. But no, when I say my name and I say I´m from America they usually make some joke about Britney Spears. My name´s Britney so – oh Britney Spears from America. And I did live in Hollywood and I did work in cinema so there´s some truth to it. And I´m proud of that. But yeah when I say I´ve never seen a gun or I´ve never been to Texas or I´ve actually never been to most of the States it obviously shows that there isn´t one culture. There´s a lot of cultures.
Do you think people travel a lot in the United States?
I think they don´t travel a lot and I think it´s not a choice. I think that I mean I know that even growing up in California in a very liberal State, in school they teach you America is the best country, America is the biggest, America is the best and they never say you don´t need to travel or one thing. But some people would go to travel assuming that America is the best and then if they found out that America wasn’t the best that would shatter their world view a little bit. So maybe they don´t want to travel subconsciously. I know that Americans don´t travel enough because most of them don´t have their passport. That is very odd, I know, to a lot of European people. Yeah, my dad doesn´t have his passport. My family got their passport when I started travelling so they could visit me. But I was the first in my family, besides my grandmother, to have a passport. And people don´t even know how to get their passport. It´s actually quite difficult. You have to go to many many different offices. And it´s quite expensive the first time you do it. Of course it lasts ten years – but if you only going to use it once then maybe people don´t find the value in it. You can even go to Mexico without a passport. So if you´re just going there then you don´t need it either. You can go on a lot of cruise ships without a passport. Anyways, no, Americans don´t travel that often. And maybe they find travel within the States themselves. Which I don´t think is the right thing to do.
So do you think Americans don´t get their passport because they don´t want to travel?
There´s also this thing in the culture where you´re supposed to go to school and work really hard and get a good job so that some day later in life you can travel. And they don´t embrace this culture of travelling before university or after university. They don´t have this gap year. It´s becoming more and more popular and studying abroad is also becoming more popular, but when I started travelling my parents were really concerned. They were like “You don´t have money to travel, you need to focus on school, you need to focus on work.” And I thought no, I have it backwards, I´m travelling because I can now and when I do focus on work then I won´t be able to travel anymore. And then I kind of never stopped travelling.
Do you want to keep on travelling or do you want to settle down in the United States eventually?
That´s a difficult question for me now. Because, right now I´m 24 and I think I would like to keep travelling for the next few years and I will think about settling down maybe when I have some children. But really, until my children start school I don´t think I want to settle down, I think I want to keep moving around and keep experiencing new places, because I can. When they get to school then it´s a little bit more difficult. My boyfriend is not so fond of the United States for living. He´s lived there with me for a few months at a time and he brought to my attention how much time we spend in our cars. So, when I became aware of then I realized I don´t want to spend years of my life like that either. And it´s years of your life when you add it up.
So, Americans really spend a lot of times in their cars?
Yeah, well let´s say as much time as you spend in your car you spend on a bike. But on a bike it more healthy and more happy and a different kind of attitude. Maybe it´s even more time than you spend on a bike because of traffic. But living in Las Angeles, yeah easily two hours per day in a car and some overtime.
What would you say would be the biggest difference between the United States and Europe?
It probably is this car thing. I mean the cities in America are not built for walking, they are built for cars. I don´t know a city, besides Manhattan, New York, where you can go straight from your house to a restaurant without thinking how am I going to get there? What taxi or uber do I have to call? In California it´s like this: even if you want to walk somewhere it´s still seen as a negative thing. Even if you can it would be better to take an uber five minutes down the street. It´s just a weird culture thing. The public transport system is not very efficient, the cities just aren´t built for walking, they are built for cars. There´s also a consumerist agenda there to get everybody to buy a car and it´s worked very well. Everybody I know has a car and some have more than one. So that´s true.
So, can you go for a walk in the United States for example, or do people don´t like to do that?
People also don´t typically go for walks. Even if they could run to the gym they would drive there to run on a treadmill. That´s a funny thing. If they want to go for a hike they won´t hike to the mountain to hike the mountain. And it saves you time of course. And it´s just they way the cities are built and the way people think. I would love to see a city in the United States being built not to deal with cars. To be built to deal with bikes or electric scooters. And I think it would be a lot more efficient. You could get so much more in such small space.
Can you think about any prejudices you would still like to clarify?
Yeah, I just feel like when I watch TV about things that are going on in my country, I don´t feel that´s me they are talking about. I don´t feel it´s my country or my people. I feel that the average American person is completely disconnected from everything you see on TV about America. Even Hollywood. I´m from Hollywood, but most people from America of course have nothing to do with America, most people from America have nothing to do with Washington DC and Trump and the president. And the views that you see reflected on the news about America do not reflect the people and that would definitely mean we are not a real democracy. We are trying to be, but we are not. It´s the one percent taking over everything.
Would you have some last thoughts you would like to add?
Yeah, Americans are trying to change things. They are trying to change themselves they are trying to change the word. There´s a lot of good things going on in America even energy wise like electrical cars and Tesla. They talk about more bad things on the news and these things.
This interview with Britney was really interesting. Even though you may think: “Oh, the United States, don´t we know so much about them already?” I guess you were surprised. There´s still a lot of things we don´t know about the United States. I, for example, do not know much about the different cultures in all the different states. And I bet few people do. But we still make up an image of the fat, gun obsessed white American who´s loud and proud and cheers to Trump. As we dept a bit further into it, I saw how diverse America is. I have friends from America, I already met a lot of people from there. But I never interviewed them, I never got to know their culture in such dept. So, even if we think we know a culture we can never rely on images presented on TV. We can never trust an image of a country when we have never taken a step into it. It´s quite hard to step into every single country of this earth, but there´s an easier way of getting to know each other. Talking, exchanging, broadening your mind. Never think you know it all. Like this interview showed me, you can never know it all for real.
Interested in more? Here´s a link two my latest two blog posts about Tunisia and Russia!
Sources: Images: Google Search