Friday, 9 August 2013

2013 Holiday Edition: Europeans “have kittens.” Americans “have a cow.”

Today I am so happy to welcome Kristi of Finding Ninee as a contributor to my 2013 Holiday Edition on my blog. Kristi Campbell is a semi-lapsed career woman with about 18 years of marketing experience in a variety of national and global technology companies. More recently, she was a co-host on a hilarious (and under funded) weekly radio show. Once her son was born, she became the mom who almost always leaves the house in either flip-flops or Uggs, depending on the weather. 

While she does work part-time, her passion is writing and drawing really stupid-looking pictures for her blog Finding Ninee (pron. nine-ee for her son’s pronunciation of the word airplane) started due to a memoir, abandoned when Kristi read that a publisher would rather shave a cat than read another memoir. Its primary focus is humor and support in a “Middle World,” one where the autism spectrum exists but a diagnosis does not.

Most of you probably know that it was Kristi that made me start my blog. I have told the story several times already. When I read one of her posts back in November I was electrified and felt the urgent need to get in touch with her and it seemed that doing it only by commenting on her blog was not enough. I felt the need to be a part of this community and this place of the "Middle World" where we finally belonged. The next hour I was frantically trying to start my blog, the biggest obstacle being the fact that all blog names I came up with were already occupied ;-)

Kristi is kind, funny, smart, an awesome writer, a brilliantly crappy drawer of hilarious pictures and one of those who always get it. She is my friend and that makes me happy, just as much as sharing her guest post with you does. Enjoy!


Europeans “have kittens.” Americans “have a cow.”

Unlike many of my fellow Americans, I’ve had the lovely opportunity to work with and befriend many people from other cultures.  My job a few years back allowed me to visit Sweden, France, England, and Greece.  Each was amazing in its own way and my number one take-away was that the US is young. There’s nothing like gazing at a building that’s older than our country to make a person appreciate history.  My number two take-away is that Europeans “have kittens” and Americans “have a cow.” 

Let me explain. The United States is big, people. I think that while Europeans realize this when they look at the globe and see a huge glob of us, they also don’t understand how home-bound we truly are when it comes to traveling and leaving our native soil.  I know many Americans who have never left the USA. Ever. While some of you may tsk-tsk this, I’d like to provide some perspective on why we’re less adventurous than our European friends. 

As this is a guest post written for Joy while she’s away on her vacation this week, I’ll use the circumstances of her life to compare what travelling in the USA is like.   Joy mentioned having a five-hour trip to travel from Germany to Austria.  Here’s the deal. I’m in Washington DC. In five hours, I will be in either New Jersey or North Carolina (traffic Gods smiling).  We’re talking less than 300 miles to get to a change of scenery – go north, and we’re greeted with bigger hair, louder accents, and the Jersey turnpike. Go south, and we’re greeted with bigger people, the beach, and the home of Gravedigger, the famous Monster Truck.  

When it comes to people-watching, I’d say that there’s about as much difference between DC, Jersey, and North Carolina as there is between Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  When it comes to expressions, I’d venture to say the same.

I remember speaking on the phone to a good friend of mine who was born in England and was living in France at the time. We were speaking of a (less-intellectually-gifted) co-worker when my friend said “Oh, you should have seen her!  She was having kittens!”  Immediately, I was like “Wait. Stop. ‘She’s having kittens?’ You say that?” Her reply was that yes, it’s an expression that means she was upset and worked up in an out-of-proportionate way.  I shared that here, in the USA, to convey the same concept; we say, “She was having a cow.”

We try to do everything bigger here, I suppose.  I mean, having kittens is cute. Having a cow?  Not so much.  The differences in language between Europe and the USA may possibly be as different as our accents are from DC to New Jersey to North Carolina to Germany. 

Err, maybe not. But I hope you get my point.

When it comes right down to it, I am jealous that Joy is traveling to another country this week in the same amount of time that it would take me to merely state-hop to a different world right here in the US.  I’m jealous that it takes her less time to drive to another country than it does for me to travel home, a few states away. 

While I love to travel, I just may skip the big hair of New Jersey and go directly to my own homeland, 2,500 miles away (a 28-hour drive) – which is Denver, Colorado.  That’s one of the places in the middle of the US, for those of you who do not know, by the way.  Or maybe, we’ll join Joy in Austria.  It’s not that much further. 

And to my friend Joy. Have a lovely amazing and beautiful trip.  


I really enjoyed this post a lot and I did not know the thing about the cow and the kittens! Another thing learned, yay! Thank you so much Kristi for taking the time to write this! xoxo

And if you do not know her blog yet, you should close that gap in education immediately!


  1. I take it back. This week there has been no sliding into things sideways, but a headlong rush into a wonderful all-over-the-place melee.

    The driving in the US just to state-hop sounds hard. Keep driving that long over here and you'd've come to the end of the island and fallen off into the sea!

    And yes - we totally need small, cute analogies for these things because we're small and cute.

  2. Joy,
    Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post for you today!!! I really appreciate it and hope that you're having an absolutely wonderful trip!
    Also, my friend, I am so so so glad that you started your blog. I didn't know some of the details you shared here. That's so cool that we found each other in different countries through our own Middle World. That makes me happy happy. And so do you. XO
    HAHA - yes, you're small and cute. Awesome.

  3. Can I come with you to visit Joy???? Germany is still on my list.

    1. Tatum, please do! Germany is still on my list, too!

  4. Kristi, you can drive 3 hours in the USA and still feel you are in another country. That's why Honey Boo Boo is sub-titled!

    1. So true, Kerri! Like the difference between New Jersey and North Carolina is probably as different as the Brits and Germans, right? I mean, maybe not language but the accents, the hair and the lifestyles!

  5. Or you can grow up in San Jose, CA like I did and if you drive 5 hours north you are still in CA. And if you drive 5 hours south you are in Bakersfield, which sadly is still in CA. You can drive east for 5 hours and just about make Reno, Nevada if the traffic on I80 was good. If you go west 1 hour you hit the ocean and then its a very long swim to Japan. Long and short of it is this: you gotta try dang hard to get out of CA. Good thing its a nice place.... ;-)

    1. Hi Katie!
      I grew up in Denver, Colorado. We could do the same thing. Drive 7 hours southwest and end up in Colorado! Drive 4 hours north? Glenwood Canyon! It's also a nice place but so different from hopping countries like Joy can do!

  6. I can be in 10 different states in 5 hours, but none of them are any better than where I already am, which isn't saying a lot. Hairstyles and body size about the same, with a few accent variations. The biggest difference would be in bbq. Beef or pork? Pulled or sliced?

  7. I've heard the "having kittens" thing a lot! And I've never been to Europe. My friend is country-hopping in Europe as we speak and every day I'm more and more confused. "You're traveling at the speed of light?" "No..the countries are not very big where I am. Why don't you go look on a map?" So I do. I will say that I'm from Jersey, and yes, I've been up and down 95 all the way. I have a friend born and raised in California and she was always confused that we can travel for 12 hours in several states. 12 hours from northern Cali and she's still guessed it..Cali.


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