5 things that you love about your new country
- You can be who you want to without the constraints of a set society structure and the go get it attitude.
- My wonderful friends.
- The healthfood stores.
- The music (in N'awlins especially).
- New Orleans, New York, San Fransisco, The Rockies, The Desert, Road trips, Utah, Hacky Sack, Hanging out.....
- Family and friends.
- The air and the countryside - "God's own country" as my Mum says.
- The self-deprecating humour.
- Just home.
- Having to explain about being Scottish all the time (this was mostly in Ohio - in New Orleans they don't care so much...- but in a good way!)
- The media - everyone seems to care more about American Idol than how their country is viewed in the world.
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans (and New Orleans in general)
- That "America" is just a concept - Miami, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, New Orleans they are all so different - its so hard to pin this country down.
- The sense of possibility in everything.
Being an expat is an odd existence. I think it is an existence that is becoming more common and certainly prevalent amongst my generation. I have many good friends married to spouses from halfway across the world. I have many good friends that live in far flung places.
This odd existence, for me, is defined by never feeling completely at home in either place anymore. I have been in the US for seven years and my sense of homesickness has faded somewhat over that time. My first year I was very homesick. Now I miss my family and friends just as much but I don't get depressed because I can't drive through the Scottish mountains - although I would still like to do that tomorrow.
My association with certain things have changed. I no longer hanker after Cadbury's Dairy Milk, or fish and chips. I dislike the supermarkets of Sainsburys and Waitrose and love Wholefoods. I still hate American TV - but know that's because of the bombardment of adverts. I still love British TV. But with the developments of the Internet I can create my "own" hodgepodge of good TV instead.
I still hate the American media and welcome Jeremy Paxman's direct and often times rude, questioning as a breath of fresh air. However I love the gutsy impassioned left of center activists in this country. I love the vegans, the environmentalists, the idealists. I love Harpers, The Utne Reader, and Mental Floss. But I miss reading the Guardian in hard copy and settling down with coffee and the Observer on a Sunday morning.
Being an expat, to me, means being able to create my own life with less constraints - my very presence is different. It means living between two worlds and in both of them at the same time. It means missing dear friends in other time zones. And missing big family gatherings. It means creating a life out of good aspects of two experiences.