It occurs to me, as I finish my "working day" from my temporary flat in Cannes...as I reflect upon my last year in Slovakia, my travels in Europe and Mexico, my friendships with wonderful people from countries other than the US...Americans just don't know how to have fun.
The band just got started outside my balcony. It is the first day of summer, and the French know how to welcome the season in style. There are concerts all around the Europe, people will stay up all night and dance. We'll be going out soon.
To prove my point, one needs to look no further than the American wedding. What better occasion to celebrate life? But in planning for a wedding, the American mind anticipates fun, talks about it, and ends up with pictures to prove that fun actually did occur. But the wedding reception usually only lasts a few hours! The whole event is practically staged for the photos! If Americans do have fun, it is confined and fleeting at best.
We are too worried, too practical, too guilty, too repressed, too...well...not fun. We are afraid of losing ourselves in too good of a time!
In Eastern Europe, the wedding lasts at least 24 hours! Everybody dances like they mean it. They sing, they talk, they become lost in, and actually transcend, the moment. The same can be said about 50th birthday parties and many other events throughout the year. On any summer evening in Kosice, Slovakia, for example, lovers can be seen strolling downtown with ice cream cones...kissing by the fountain...just soaking life in. Italians take this to an entirely different level.
When Europeans drink, they sing together! They play instruments! They dance! I'm not just talking about young people...typically grandpa is the center of the family's entertainment. People cook feasts (without too many complaints). People kiss on the cheek when greeting. People savor conversation like it is a fine wine. People sit outside by the fire drinking fine wine. People go to the spa or the beach. People take vacation for weeks at a time!
Americans live repressed lives of fear and shame. Europeans live more full lives of celebration...celebration of culture, of beauty, and of each other. so I don't really feel like going back.