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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 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".


  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.

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

  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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