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Thread: The Expat/Emigrant Lounge

  1. #1
    is this how it ends? SuperModerator poetinahat's Avatar
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    The Expat/Emigrant Lounge

    Who's moved around the world? Where'd you come from, where have you been, where are you now? What's it mean to you? What do you miss, what are you glad about?

    I'm an American, but I've been in Australia now for seventeen years - it was supposed to be a short-term stay, but I'll stay here.

    I was happy in the US and would be again, but I fell completely in love with Australia when I arrived. I blog - very slowly and very lazily - we're talking years here - about all the reasons I love Australia.

  2. #2
    New kid, be gentle! Bettedra's Avatar
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    I'm American too, currently living in South Korea as-you guessed it-an ESL teacher. I've only been here for a few months but I am enjoying myself. I don't think I'll be staying for 17 years though.

    Before Korea I was in Portland, Oregon for several years. Before that, Hawaii. That's where I grew up, and where I hope to end up again someday soon.

  3. #3
    ~~~~*~~~~ backslashbaby's Avatar
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    I'm pretty set now, as an American in the US, but I hope to continue to get weeks away immersed in other cultures. I love it very much.

    I lived in Hungary some years ago. My dad was called to help start up a manufacturing startup with textile clients already in place. After he'd been there about a year or two, I got to come over and work at the plant

    I can't even say what that meant to me -- it's too much. But I did miss salads after a while. Or a light sandwich, my goodness. I never knew I'd eat so many ox tails and sausages. Or soup with a chicken face and feet in it. Or 'radioactive' carp stew A lot of local home cooking from my friends, btw. They serve steak in the tourist places like everywhere else on earth.

    OTOH, now I crave quail egg soup and can never get it, so I'd have to think about which is worse
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  4. #4
    Ubi dubium ibi libertas OneWriter's Avatar
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    You shouldn't have asked.... I was born in the UK, grew up in Italy, moved to the US for three years, then moved to Austria one year, then moved to Spain for two years, then moved to California for three years, then..... Is your head spinning yet??????
    Mine's a little....

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Kateness's Avatar
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    I was born in the UK, moved to America when I was almost 7. Still hold a British passport, but also a green card, which means I can do anything an American citizen can except a)vote, b)serve on a jury, and c)work for the federal government.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW
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    Born and raised in Germany, traveled back and forth between Germany and the U.S. for work, interrupted by a short stint in France, back to going back and forth between Germany and the U.S. for work and love, and finally moved to the U.S. about four years ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by OneWriter View Post
    You shouldn't have asked.... I was born in the UK, grew up in Italy, moved to the US for three years, then moved to Austria one year, then moved to Spain for two years, then moved to California for three years, then..... Is your head spinning yet??????
    Mine's a little....
    That is pretty impressive. You certainly must be multilingual, and I assume that you must have an extremely laid-back personality - based on all that cultural adjusting that you've had to do.
    So which country or region feels like home to you? Italy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kateness View Post
    I was born in the UK, moved to America when I was almost 7. Still hold a British passport, but also a green card, which means I can do anything an American citizen can except a)vote, b)serve on a jury, and c)work for the federal government.
    There are actually more disadvantages to "only" holding the green card, some of which really bug be, so I will aim for dual citizenship next year. But as far as everyday life for most people is concerned, you are absolutely correct.
    Last edited by Scriptissima; 08-07-2010 at 03:43 AM.
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  7. #7
    This topic always fascinates me! I'd love to live in another country - but wouldn't even know where to start. It amazes me how many people seem to do it though! lucky
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  8. #8
    Anachronista 2Wheels's Avatar
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    Born and raised in the UK, moved to Canada late teens, still here umpteen years later. Also had a 5 year stint in the US.

    People here say I still sound very British, but when I visit England they say I sound Canajun. Jolly good, eh?
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  9. #9
    resident alien dolores haze's Avatar
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    Born in the Channel Islands, grew up in Scotland, moved to the U.S., where I've lived in the South, the Pacific North West, the South West, and now the North East. Went to Greece to study and ended up living there for a while before living in England for a bit, before returning to the U.S.

    I miss my family in the U.K. and all the friends I've made along the way, as well as weird stuff, like Scottish bread, the amazing tides of the Channel Islands, Powell's book store, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the view of the Acropolis from my apartment, I could go on and on and on and on.

    What does it mean to me? Well, I'm glad that I had the guts to make that first move. My life has been so much richer for it.

  10. #10
    ~~~~*~~~~ backslashbaby's Avatar
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    I'll make a special weekend to the OBX just for you, Dolores Seriously, one of my favorite spots on earth. NC beaches are a bit of a secret... shhhh!
    It's Woman, by Kraft. All your favourite classic flavours like virgin, whore, damsel, black widow and now all-new feminazi! Extra spicy!
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  11. #11
    Ubi dubium ibi libertas OneWriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scriptissima View Post

    That is pretty impressive. You certainly must be multilingual, and I assume that you must have an extremely laid-back personality - based on all that cultural adjusting that you've had to do.
    So which country or region feels like home to you? Italy?
    Well, you sound pretty restless too! We're finally settling down in the US, bought a house and all... An believe it or not the first months I was a nervous wreck!!! I mean, all this stability and all... So weird!!!! But definitely the US feel much more home than anything else right now. My family is all in Italy and truly when I go back I feel a foreigner. How about you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scriptissima View Post

    There are actually more disadvantages to "only" holding the green card, some of which really bug be, so I will aim for dual citizenship next year.
    Me too!! I wanna vote!!!

  12. #12
    That cheeky buggerer Maxinquaye's Avatar
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    I was born in Norway, moved to Gothenburg in Sweden when I was 14, and then to the UK when I was 37. I'm back in Sweden now, temporarily, but heading back to the UK in September/October.

    I miss my friends in the UK, as well as the beer. Skyping and msn is no way to keep in touch, and when I do get back I think I'm going to stay. Though, I've learned you should never plan so firmly. Sweden is just too quiet, too safe, too boring, and too empty.

    The only thing that annoys me is that I'll have to start from the beginning when I move back. I won't be able to count my previous 3 years for my permanent residency there.
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  13. #13
    Beagle Lips. madderblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poetinahat View Post
    Who's moved around the world? Where'd you come from, where have you been, where are you now? What's it mean to you? What do you miss, what are you glad about?
    Poet, thanks so much for starting this thread.

    I'm an American as well. Lived all over the States. Came to Japan as an exchange student for two years and like Poet ended up falling in love and staying.

    I miss conversations in English. So. Terribly. Much. Also, good cheeses, deodorant, and wide green spaces.

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  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWriter View Post
    Well, you sound pretty restless too! We're finally settling down in the US, bought a house and all... An believe it or not the first months I was a nervous wreck!!! I mean, all this stability and all... So weird!!!!
    LOL! I do so hear you. I used to move about once a year. Then we bought a house in the 'burbs about a year ago, and this is the first time ever that I am not renting and that I'm not downtown - and I haven't adjusted. I somewhat hate it, to be honest, and we're thinking about renting out the house and going back to renting ourselves and move our butts back downtown. I truly can't deal very well with the idea of staying put in one place - especially in the suburbs. This is way too quiet for me. (Boring, really). It's like having your wings clipped.
    But definitely the US feel much more home than anything else right now. My family is all in Italy and truly when I go back I feel a foreigner. How about you?
    Well, since most of my writing is still done in German and most of my clients are still located in Central Europe, I'm keeping very close touch and I am still "coming home" every time I go back. Funny enough, though, returning to the U.S. also feels like "coming home" every time, so I guess I am suffering from a severe case of homeland schizophrenia...
    Me too!! I wanna vote!!!
    Forget vote. I wanna run!
    Quote Originally Posted by Maxinquaye View Post
    Sweden is just too quiet, too safe, too boring, and too empty.
    But it's soooooo beautiful!
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    Best wishes,

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  15. #15
    You can't forget those you've loved AW Moderator SaraP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madderblue View Post
    I miss conversations in English. So. Terribly. Much. Also, good cheeses, deodorant, and wide green spaces.
    I just have to ask ... the japanese don't sell deodorant?
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  16. #16
    Beagle Lips. madderblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaraP View Post
    I just have to ask ... the japanese don't sell deodorant?
    I live in a small town and they finally have something which is more like an antiperspirant, but small expensive bottles and not much variety. I still import (read: ask mom to send) my deodorant from the states. Just last month I had a friend from Canada come over and practically beg one off me because she was using the type sold here and "offending" her students. Unfortunately, all I had was watermelon scented (thanks, mom!). Still, she was very grateful.

    I thought of something else, pillows. Big fluffy feather pillows. I miss them too.


    Also, I've always wanted to say I think Dolores Haze has the best name ever. My favorite book!

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  17. #17
    Abnormal Romance Author thethinker42's Avatar
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    Born in the States, moved to Japan when I was 28. Husband is stationed in Okinawa until the end of 2011. Where do we go after that? It's up in the air right now. Mainland Japan is a possibility, staying in Okinawa is another, and a few European countries are on the menu (fingers crossed for Spain or Sicily right now).

    What do I miss about the States? No language barrier.

    What do I love about Okinawa? Damn near everything. There's less traffic. The people are extremely polite. White sand beaches. Palm trees. Everything's cheap as shit. The food's incredible. Kobe beef is dirt cheap. I don't have to work outside the home, which means I can write full-time. Fascinating culture. Snorkeling.

    In short, unless we get some CHOICE orders for his next assignment, they're going to have to drag me kicking and screaming off this island. I love it here. And it's funny...before we came, everyone told us this place was a shithole and had been completely westernized. Uh, not so much on either count.
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  18. #18
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I am a New Zealander living in the US. I am trying to repatriate myself but haven't found a job back home yet.... I have been ex-pat since 1999 in Scotland, Canada and three places in the US.
    Emily Veinglory

  19. #19
    Ubi dubium ibi libertas OneWriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaraP View Post
    I just have to ask ... the japanese don't sell deodorant?
    I don't know about Japan, but I still have my mom ship me deodorant from Italy. So I understand, some things (like body scents) you can never adjust to. So she regularly ships me deodorant and then of course Parmesan (Grana Padano, actually). Yeah, the food is the one thing I do miss. I tend to forget how good REAL Italian food is, and then I go back and I realize all over again what I miss... But then there's drama, chaos, unemployment, crappy politics and all that stuff that I do NOT miss...

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWriter View Post
    I don't know about Japan, but I still have my mom ship me deodorant from Italy. So I understand, some things (like body scents) you can never adjust to. So she regularly ships me deodorant and then of course Parmesan (Grana Padano, actually). Yeah, the food is the one thing I do miss.
    Ooooh yes, the food is something I really, really miss over here. It seems that American food culture is all about quantity and not so much about quality. I do miss German supermarkets and butchers and (most of all) bakeries and cafés; and I miss the European restaurant and café culture.
    I also miss being able to take my pooch everywhere with me. Back home, dogs are allowed in coffeehouses, cafés and coffeehouses, and that's just lovely.

    Which brings me to another thing, that I truly miss: The awareness of dogs' needs, well-behaved dogs everywhere and dog owners, that really care. It breaks my heart seeing all these backyard dogs or - the other extreme - in-house dogs that almost never see the sky and never get so socialize with other dogs. Over here, almost everyone seems to want to have a dog, but hardly anyone seems to want to put in the time and effort a pooch needs to be (mentally) healthy and happy.

    As for missed goods: I keep importing (read: asking mom and aunts and friends to send...) German winegums, peanut puffs (!!), vanilla sugar, vanilla pudding powder, baking powder, hazelnuts, certain spices and herbs, baking paper (non-sticky cookie sheet liner), non-sticky hairspray, tampons (no, seriously), anti-flea collars for the pooches, moisturizing lotion, lip balm, leashes for the pooches, and CDs. Quite a shopping list.
    Thanks to Aldi, I no longer have to import chocolate, though.
    --

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  21. #21
    Ubi dubium ibi libertas OneWriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scriptissima View Post

    As for missed goods: I keep importing (read: asking mom and aunts and friends to send...) German winegums, peanut puffs (!!), vanilla sugar, vanilla pudding powder, baking powder, hazelnuts, certain spices and herbs, baking paper (non-sticky cookie sheet liner), non-sticky hairspray, tampons (no, seriously), anti-flea collars for the pooches, moisturizing lotion, lip balm, leashes for the pooches, and CDs. Quite a shopping list.
    Thanks to Aldi, I no longer have to import chocolate, though.


    Well, you didn't say Bavarian sausage, so we can still be friends!!!
    No, jokes aside, I'd love to import a whole German/Austrian bakery across the ocean! And an Italian caseificio.... But then I come back here and I slide into obliviousness, so... That's why going back is often more painful than not. It refreshes all those memories!!!! And for a while I had an Austrian friend send me those vanilla pudding powder too!!! Then she moved to Australia, darn it!!! Oh, what about kinder eggs and kinder chocolate bars??? Don't you miss those? Do you know why the US will NOT import kinder eggs? Because (this is true!!) there cannot be non-food items in food unless it serves a purpose (like the stick in a lollipop). CRAZY!!!!

  22. #22
    Beagle Lips. madderblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thethinker42 View Post

    What do I love about Okinawa? Damn near everything. There's less traffic. The people are extremely polite. White sand beaches. Palm trees. Everything's cheap as shit. The food's incredible. Kobe beef is dirt cheap. I don't have to work outside the home, which means I can write full-time. Fascinating culture. Snorkeling.
    Damn, I'm moving house to Okinawa! Our beach is volcanic rock. And don't get me started on traffic and the cost of living. However, that said, I adore the culture so much and the food is out of this world. When I go back to the States I get a little food snobby. (Mom! No! Don't put sugar in your tea!)

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWriter View Post
    I don't know about Japan, but I still have my mom ship me deodorant from Italy. So I understand, some things (like body scents) you can never adjust to. So she regularly ships me deodorant and then of course Parmesan (Grana Padano, actually). Yeah, the food is the one thing I do miss. I tend to forget how good REAL Italian food is, and then I go back and I realize all over again what I miss... But then there's drama, chaos, unemployment, crappy politics and all that stuff that I do NOT miss...
    I'm so glad I'm not the only one. Also, Italy is a paradise in my mind, the food, the architecture... Of course, there are the politics and unemployment. But once that gets fixed up half the world is going to want to move there. I know I will!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scriptissima View Post
    Ooooh yes, the food is something I really, really miss over here. It seems that American food culture is all about quantity and not so much about quality. I do miss German supermarkets and butchers and (most of all) bakeries and cafés; and I miss the European restaurant and café culture.
    I also miss being able to take my pooch everywhere with me. Back home, dogs are allowed in coffeehouses, cafés and coffeehouses, and that's just lovely.

    Which brings me to another thing, that I truly miss: The awareness of dogs' needs, well-behaved dogs everywhere and dog owners, that really care. It breaks my heart seeing all these backyard dogs or - the other extreme - in-house dogs that almost never see the sky and never get so socialize with other dogs. Over here, almost everyone seems to want to have a dog, but hardly anyone seems to want to put in the time and effort a pooch needs to be (mentally) healthy and happy.
    I bolded that statement up there for truth.

    And dogs. Don't get me started. I have several in my neighborhood that I visit (while I'm walking mine). I bring treats and we play with them for a bit. It is heart breaking-- outside, chained to a short leash. Sometimes I go and feed them. I admire that dog-friendly culture so much.

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  23. #23
    Ubi dubium ibi libertas OneWriter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madderblue View Post

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one. Also, Italy is a paradise in my mind, the food, the architecture... Of course, there are the politics and unemployment. But once that gets fixed up half the world is going to want to move there. I know I will!
    Interesting. Mhm. That might explain why the Italian government is doing absolutely nothing to fix up the country.

    Oh, and pillows!!! Man, you're right about that! Every country has its own pillows!!!! In Spain, they have a two-head pillow (I don't know how you would call it), and they are hard and thick and man they hurt your neck. Not to mention that you want a divorce just so you can have your own pillow. I hope you managed to find a comfortable pillow there in Japan...
    Last edited by OneWriter; 08-08-2010 at 02:37 AM.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW Raindrop's Avatar
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    Delurking for a bit

    I'm French, currently living in France after a two-year stint in England a few years ago. I'm getting ready to move back. Got a bit more to cart around this time, and it's scary to start over.

    The main problem I have with hoping from one country to the other is the language. By which I mean, even though my english is still somewhat limited, I'm not too sure what my "natural" language is anymore. I tend to write in english, most of the time, because it comes easier to me -- but I'm nowhere near as proficient with it as with french. It's a tad annoying.

  25. #25
    Ubi dubium ibi libertas OneWriter's Avatar
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    Good luck! It is always scary to start over... But if you keep doing it often enough you get scarily addicted to it!!!

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