Friday, 10 November 2006

How being an expat changes you

Been reading this fantastic book of short stories/memoirs of expat experiences. A recurrent theme is how being an expat changes you in that your perception of your home country changes. You move to get away from it, then find yourself becoming defensive of it (moreso for Americans perhaps as no one likes us!), seeing movies you wouldn't step foot in the cinema for previously, and craving products you didn't necessarily have a huge taste for beforehand. I was so excited to see Grape Nuts in the nearby Tesco this past weekend that I bought a box. Upon pouring myself a bowl this morning and taking a big spoonful, I remebered two things: 1) Grape Nuts aren't actually all that tasty and 2) They take fucking forever to chew!

7 comments:

Chelsea said...

I totally feel ya on buying/craving things from the homeland you wouldn't necessary give a second glance to if you weren't expatting. I'm like that with television shows. We watch terrible shows like Hope and Faith and According to Jim because hey, it's on and it's American. When we were in Britain we would laugh at the prices for 'American' foods in places like House of Fraser or Selfridges. 6 pounds for a package of Oreos? 2 pounds for *one* can of rootbeer? Laughable!

Suzer said...

Yes, Steve keeps talking about what a rip off Krispy Kremes are because a paid £1 for one at Tesco;) I'ver certainly seen Oreos for less than that, but to be honest, they don't taste the same here.

boosie101 said...

yeah, I think this is probably true for anyone who has open discussions with people from other cultures and countries on a regular basis. it’s funny how defensive you can become of stuff you otherwise would criticize yourself. just the other day I found myself practically defending the u.s. for being ‘friends’ with a country whose law dictates that 4 men must be witness to a rape in order for someone to be prosecuted for it. * slaps forehead *

speaking of expats though… do you consider yourself an expat? is expat used as more of a generic term to describe someone who lives in a ‘foreign’ country for an extended period of time? I always think of it as having a little more meaning than that.

Suzer said...

yes, in a sense i do. i guess i see expat as someone who leaves their own country for good, more or less, and as i will most likely never be living in the states again permanently, this applies to me.

claire said...

Hey Suzer
What's the name of that book? Sounds like it's something I can totally relate to...:)

Suzer said...

hey claire,

it's called Expat: Women's True Tales of Living Abroad---link in the below post:

http://suzerblog.blogspot.com/2006/10/whats-on-shelf.html

Suzer said...

Follow up to boosie's question--an expatriate (or expat) actually comes from the Latin ex (out of) and patria (country), so is used to refer to someone out of their own country, whether temporarily or permanently, so yes, by definition, whether I consider myself to be or not, I AM an expat, and will be one yet again after my quick time in the States.