Saturday, September 7, 2013
Am I a Real Expat?
What if you were born to a family who didn´t speak much the country´s language and ate different foods? How about the books being flipped backwards? And how about bearing a weird last name that nobody new how to spell? Not to talk about being bullied at school for looking different?
If all these were not enough, how about moving to a different country in early adulthood and struggling to learn a new language? Making irreversible mistakes for not knowing the culture? For many years, walking around deaf, blind, and specially, mute. And too, becoming invisible.
How about, after several years of living abroad, coming back to the birth country half-illiterate, unemployed, penniless, and without the knowledge of how the country has changed, and I no longer fit? How my american M.A. worth nothing?
After I came back, I saw the life fleeing in such a speed that I became old just by crossing the border. I no longer belong to the nest I once left. This took me to a second trip back to the US (this time now in Florida) for three more years, when I finally was forced to come back to Brazil for losing almost everything due to divorce.
I am an eternal expat, regardless of where I live. I am preparing myself for my next move (I got the expat bug) - somewhere in the planet - preference for a country that I already speak the language. It´s so hard to become fluent, to be able to express my inner feelings and looking authentic.
About being an expat is that, for most of us, we don´t become fluent enough and never get a firm grip of the culture. We can never be a local, an insider, even though we try so hard to be embraced by the host country. On their eyes too, we are an expat, with a luggage ready to depart at any time, for any reason, as our roots are not there.
The tragic side of being an expat, is that we breed more expats. I have a girl born in the US who can´t really speak the English language but doesn´t want to leave here for she is used to this place.
It doesn´t matter what the passport says about your nationality, what really counts is how your heart feels your home is.
The expats, though, have only one country: the planet Earth!
Note about my blog: I write this blog not limited to, but specially for Americans familiar with lifestyle in California, as I try to re-live or to preserve things that I learned to love while living in the Bay Area (baking, cooking, Asian food, nature, farming, lifestyle, values, and so on). I don´t know much about the rest of the country - pardon my ignorance (just not much travelling within the US as I was not a tourist, but a resident and behaved pretty much like a local. How pretentious was I...)