Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Curious expat behaviour


by guest blogger Mac

Have you ever noticed how many expats always seem to want to spend time with their own countrymen even though they are far from home? I really have never been able to understand why somebody would travel half way around the world and then spend every night in an English theme bar watching football on cable TV.

What I find even more amazing are the people that go to great lengths to track down food from back home, often paying incredibly high prices for things they probably never even ate in their home country. Is this how some people deal with home sickness? And if so, why are they not at home if they miss the place so much? I admit that now and then I crave some kind of food from back in the UK, most notably roast lamb; I haven’t had roast lamb in years.

I also do not understand the kind of expat I meet who has nothing good to say about the country we are in, constantly complaining - why don’t they just go home? If they dislike where they live so much why don’t they leave? Very strange indeed.

1 comment:

buildingthelifeyouwant said...

Interesting observation, and I share it - in part! In Scotland I didn't want to join the German club, because if I had wanted to be surrounded by Germans I'd have stayed at home, right? Besides, for some reason it was super easy for me to jump in and feel at home in Scotland immediately, homesickness was the furthest thing from my mind, in fact I thought I was born in the wrong country.
Then in Catalunya things were a little different - I'm an outgoing person, but in my experience the Catalans were more complex and difficult to get to know and befriend in the beginning. Plus, I was working in a German company and friendships with other Germans living in Spain just happened more easily. I think it took about two years to form "proper" friendships with a few locals.
Now, across the Atlantic and with over a decade abroad under my belt, happening upon fellow countrymen is pretty rare that when it does happen, it's great fun and a joy to compare notes and reminisce. German food is available to some extent in the grocery store, and though not a remedy (nor source) of homesickness, it does bring back memories and reminds me of certain parts of the culture I grew up in. I don't see anything wrong with that, on the contrary - sometimes it's nice to remember where I came from, and how far I've traveled. :-)