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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Irony of Being an Expat

It isn't my personal irony, but it is an irony that exists here. We've met a lot of types of people during out stint in Ecuador and most of them are pretty amazing. There's the adventure seekers, looking for new experiences and cultures; the financial refugees, that mostly hate that they aren't home; the wing nuts, never satisfied and always paranoid, and the families, looking to give their children a different outlook on life. There's also the combination of some of those things and it can make life here quite interesting.

Have I been teasing you? Here's the irony: we've come across people who are anti-immigration in their home countries, but live here...as immigrants. 
Representation of my mind being blown
Say what, now?

Yup. I don't care for the word expat, as it seems to differentiate between "immigrants" and "white people who relocate", and that's just ridiculous. For all intents and purposes, I'm an immigrant. I left my home country to try living somewhere else for a while. Yet, for those that live in this state of irony, they aren't "immigrants", they're "expats" and that's (somehow!) different. (Magic thinking, perhaps?) I can't say for certain, but this double-think (or cognitive dissonance) might contribute to the whole "Ugly American" phenomenon. Of course, that particular moniker doesn't simply apply to those from the United States, but many different countries.

I haven't met a lot of people that perform this sort of mental gymnastics, but they do exist and I often wonder if they ever realise the incredible irony of their stance? They're of the same ilk that fled liberal governments, for fear of the incipient reach of "communism" and wound up in a socialist country. As I said before, most people here are good, kind contributing members of society, no matter where they live. But, I'm reminded by a good friend that "this is the life we chose".

4 comments:

  1. You've spoken the truth. I have been saying this for sometime now, we are immigrants. Expats are generally people who go to another country to work or live for a period of time.

    Also, people expect immigrants to assimilate in their home country, learn the language etc. But when they go to live in another country they query why English is not spoken, why there is no Jif peanut butter and then live in gated communities or gringo landia. Oh! The Irony.

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    Replies
    1. I know not everyone sees it that way, but I'm glad someone else does, Myron. ;0)

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  2. Thanks. You helped refine my thinking. I realize that the fellow expats I enjoy being with are those who live like immigrants and continually try to assimilate. I, unfortunately, have found a preponderance of those who failed to leave their cultural "exceptionalism" at their home border.

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  3. Hi! I am Nerissa, a Filipino living in Italy.
    We just started a website dedicated to the lives of all those living in a country other than the one where they were born. Thru PeopleAbroad.org we intend to increase connections, awareness, and understanding among people.
    We would like to ask you to contribute as an author to the website by writing even one single post with photos and/or videos about the region of the world you live in. Your post can be externally linked to your personal websites, blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter account, and/or anything else you like, in order to promote your own activity.
    If possible, we would also like you to write your story (bio - where you live and how you decided to live your life abroad) – example: https://www.peopleabroad.org/nerissa-filipino-living-in-italy/.
    To become an author, it is not necessary to live in a different country from where you were born, but simply to know a bit of the world by having lived, studied, or traveled abroad.
    Please, sign up to our website at https://www.peopleabroad.org/register/ and send all your files with things you would like to share (your story or your posts) by email to people(at)peopleabroad(dot)org. In case of big files, send them by WETRANSFER.
    Since this website is still under construction, we do not have yet made it available to search engines for indexation. So, to access it, just type www.PeopleAbroad.org.
    We are just starting and that is why your help is essential. We would love to see you onboard!
    All the best,
    Nerissa
    PeopleAbroad.org

    ReplyDelete