Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What Type of Foreigner Are You?

Moving to a different country can be a decision originated by many different reasons. They can go all the way from people who have to leave their country for political reasons to people who just do it for the fun of traveling and getting to know other cultures and other customs.

Many of us expats are just looking for a place that offers better opportunities and a better future, once we find it, we are willing to settle down in our new home and stay there for a long time (if not for the rest of our lives).

There are others, however, who are forced to live abroad and who are just waiting for the time to come when they are able to go back home. They see their adoptive country as a temporary place for them to live but never see it as their new home.

But then, there are other people who live in many different countries throughout their lives. they are the true culture lovers who enjoy experiencing different customs and meeting different people. They consider themselves citizens of the world and "home" for them is a suitcase, a camera and their laptop. These are the foreigners I admire. They have a great capacity to adapt and they don't need a lot more than themselves to be happy. They are not bound to any institution and are not involved in local political issues, they see the world from the spectator seat with a limited participation. They are like the old travellers who would carry the news from town to town. They are the true intercultural experts.

In the end, it doesn't matter what kind of foreigner you are, once you decide to leave your country you become a part of this group of people for whom the concept of "home" has a completely different meaning. Your community narrows down to your family and you get used to saying good-bye a lot. You start to plan your vacation days very carefully, having to stretch them as much as you can to be able to take a real vacation and visit your relatives and friends back in your home country. You have to get used to missing important events and seeing the pictures weeks later. You find that as time passes you are missed less and less, while maybe you miss them just like the first day you were away.

I thank whoever invented Facebook, MSN and Skype because they shorten the distance between my two worlds and make feel like I can have a piece of my old home in my new Canadian reality.   
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