I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a head tilting, baffled, inquisitive looking response from telling someone I hail from the States (or the U.S.) It has become clear that a vast majority of non-Americans don’t understand our English slang. Respond with America, and they know exactly what you’re talking about. Respond with California and you get some witty comment about the Governator (they all seem pretty proud to spout that fact off).
I very rarely meet a fellow American who says they hail from America. Every time that happens, I get this weird image of a hillbilly, and feel like I should switch to my best redneck accent and thrown in something about 'Merica and our shotguns and hoedowns.
Why is it that no one knows where the U.S. is? And why is it that we are Americans but not from America persay? I’ve got a few theories. I’d like to give a quick shout out to Amerigo Vespucci for discovering the entirety of North and South America, a bundle of 22 countries and people who could all subsequently claim to be from America. In Spanish I was taught to say I’m Estadounidense instead of Americana because the other Americana Latin cultures could take offense at me claiming the land as mine. So, I began referring to my home as the United States. Luckily, the Mexicans haven’t become disgruntled, because they too are from the United States (of Mexico). That could result in an american nightmare, sparking reason for us to rename our country, or in typical american fashion, sue Mexico for copyright infringement on the United States.
Regardless, it seems that the rest of the world was not taught the America/Estadounidense fact, and to them there is only one America. The Aussies ask me questions about life in America and introduce me as their friend from America, and I just chuckle. I have even learned to say I’m from America, although I have effectively suppressed the twang and shotgun banter. Just give me some time, and it may come through.