Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Expat meme

Frankly, I don't really like memes, but here's one I find myself wanting to take. It's from the blog Letters home to you, who does not care for memes either -- that why I could call it a non-memer's meme:)

Ian (who is Canadian living in Germany) answers are in black bold. Mine are in red (German living in US). I'm surprised how similar some of the answers are!

How long have you lived away from your home country? Going on 20 years. 30 years and counting...

Do you still feel like you’re just visiting? All the time. I’m serious. Ditto.

What do you notice the most has changed about your home country when you go back for a visit? More American influence in media, language and culture in general. Ditto.

If you were to move again, would it be back to your home country? Without a doubt. Actually no, but I'd love to spend more time visiting, perhaps even a year-long sabbatical, but I'm not sure I'd want to live there permanently.

Do you ever get homesick? Only in the run-up to a holiday back home. You can tell right here because I start to write memory-laden posts about the old days. Ditto.

If you read the news, do you read it in your native language or that of your host country? English mostly, but German and French as well. I rarely get ahold of German reading material.

What do you like the most about living in your host country? The amount of free time I have. It’s something I value very highly. That and no Sunday shopping. One day a week where consumerism has to hit the brakes. I like the wide open spaces -- there's still wilderness left here.

What grates you the most? Whiners who bitch and moan about Germany but refuse to leave, offering up a dozen excuses for not doing so. Get the hell out if you don’t like it. What are you waiting for? Someone to decide for you? What grates on me is selfishness of Americans: the "why should I care about the world's dwindling resources -- there's plenty enough for me..."

Did you speak the language of your host country before you arrived? Not a bit.Yes.

How long did it take before you felt comfortable speaking the language? I’m still not completely comfortable unless I’ve had a couple glasses of beer. I'm very comfortable in English and am understood just fine, but beer still helps to get over being conscious of being different.

If people switch to your language when you speak to them in their language, how do you react? I like it! It means they’re reaching out for a connection, which is good, so I usually say something back in English to see how far it will go. I like it when somebody speaks German to me, but if pronunciation is poor and I can't understand it, then that's awkward.

What has been the biggest change you’ve had to make in leaving your home country? In Hamburg, I can’t go hiking in the mountains. There’s no skiing or mountain biking worth getting excited about for a thousand km, and I can’t just drop by a tennis court anytime and start playing. Food, culture, Gemuetlichkeit.

If there were a button to improve anything about your expatriate life, what would it say on the button? For free flights home, press here. Ditto, squared!

1 comment:

honeypiehorse said...

That's not poor pronounciation, dear, that's Bavarian dialect!