The Essence of Eastern Europe: Part 2

January 30, 2011

(You might take this with a grain of salt being that it’s coming from a fairly reclusive American whose social life consists primarily of walking to the market occasionally.)

Now that we’ve gotten through the definitions, let’s get into the heart of the matter. Many people agree on the idea that Eastern Europe is more “romantic” than Western Europe, but certainly not in the traditional sense, mind you. Push them harder, however, and you’ll likely find it’s difficult to get a straight answer regarding what appeals to them about Eastern Europe. I tend to think that the whole attitude is cultivated from the unique geographical placement and economical situation of the region, and I don’t think a lot of people would argue with that. Most of the countries have not been particularly well-off for a majority of their developed histories, perhaps recently things are getting better, but still not for a lot of them. That tends to create a people who are more concerned with things on a much more human level, rather than the professional and shrewd populations of the Western World. This is immediately noticeable in the general openness of the people.

Add to that a history of ethnic tension and even war, and you have a sort of “team attitude”; a propensity to set aside differences to make it through hard times. One area this is very visible is the subject of sharing, bear in mind that these are just my personal observations, and as such, you’re entirely able to disagree to your heart’s content. I’ve noticed that Eastern Europeans are a lot quicker to break in half whatever they’ve got to help you out. Oftentimes, in the cutthroat Western society from which I come, the only time you see this sort of thing is between close friends or family, hence the term blood runs thicker than water… you feel more like family among Eastern Europeans.

On the contrary, I find it difficult to see what Eastern Europeans are actually feeling. Again, coming from the United States, we tend to be very direct with our feelings. We tend to not beat around the bush, we speak up if something is bothering us. I’ve noticed a very different trend in Eastern Europe, punctuated by passive aggression. Perhaps it’s the polarity between an urge to treat an outsider like family and basic human nature that gives rise to the passive aggression, or maybe it’s something else entirely, I really don’t know, but it’s definitely something I’ve noticed.

Keep in mind there’s no particular value placed on the statements herein, just observations. People are obviously more comfortable surrounded by similar traits, whatever those traits may be.

One Response to “The Essence of Eastern Europe: Part 2”

  1. Darren Says:

    Hmm, you could be speaking the truth. My wife certainly isn’t afraid to let her feelings known though. In fact, neither do her 3 sisters. However this could just be regular sibling rivalry (and siblings tend to let their feelings known, I know this)

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