Chapter 30 - The Expats
My husband Dave has spent a lot of time overseas, having lived in Germany, The United Arab Emirates and Jordan. In addition he has traveled widely doing a variety of things. One of the things that he has always said is that being an Ex-Patriot, a citizen of one country that is living in another, is the easiest thing in the world. An Expat is free to embrace those things they love about their host country, while dismissing the things that are too foreign or repugnant to stand up for. The same is true about their native country. They are free to reminisce about the things they miss, and distance themselves from what they disagree with. What they often miss, however, is that they will never truly be embraced in their adopted country, they will always be foreigners. Likewise they can never shed themselves of the burden of association with what ever is happening in the home land. Dave has always welcomed these opportunities to travel.
There are many fascinating stories of the lives of Expats. They are intriguing perhaps because they have done something that others of us could not imagine doing, picking up stakes and living some place “foreign”.
Here are some terrific books about being an "expat".
At the Chinese Table by Carolyn Phillips - I mentioned this book in my blog about China a few weeks ago. Phillips went to Taiwan after college to participate in a Chinese language immersion program. All in all she spent 8 years in Taiwan learning language, culture, food, and eventually, falling in love. This is a terrific memoir.
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell - British journalist Helen Russell ended up in Denmark because her husband got his dream job - working at Lego. She knew that Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world and started to research why. This book details her findings and her life there.
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle - Mayle, also British, decided to move to Provence one of his favorite places. So, he and his wife bought an old farmhouse in the countryside and started renovations. This book tells about his first year there, immersing the reader in local cuisine, telling about judging goat races, and bemoaning the mistrals - fierce wintry winds and storms.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - Hemingway's first novel is about Jake Barnes, an American expat living in Paris in the 1920's. Barnes, along with his friends, goes to Spain for bullfights. This classic is a story of post-World War I disillusionment and unrequited love.
The Expats by Chris Pavone - Kate Moore lives in Luxembourg with her husband. As she breezes through weekends skiing in the Alps and trips to Paris, she is harboring a life changing secret. Soon it becomes clear that her husband and another American couple they are friends with, are too.
Do you have any experience being an expat? Let me know!