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TURN AND FACE THE STRANGER
Penelope is very kindly handing out weekend passes to those of us who just have too damn much to do. I will, however, have to take a rain check on it until after Christmas, I suspect, as this weekend is the first of several weekends with absolutely NO FREE TIME.

Today, I'm going to have fika with a woman I've never met. She's been a member of the AWC for 4 years and is nearing 80 and has never been to a single event. I talk to her several times a year, but despite the fact that I live only about 10 minutes away from her, we've never managed to get together or to get her to an activity. She's an artist, a fiend for billiards and a jet setter. I can't wait to meet her.

Finally caught up with the rest of the internet and found Mimi Smartypants, one of those Chicago bloggers I'm envious of, who writes up a storm, and makes me have to close the office door so my boss won't come in and ask me why I'm laughing so hard. She's got a book coming out, too (squee!), like
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Penelope is very kindly handing out <a href="http://www.penelopeillustration.com/journal.html#" target="_blank">weekend passes</a> to those of us who just have too damn much to do. I will, however, have to take a rain check on it until after Christmas, I suspect, as this weekend is the first of several weekends with absolutely NO FREE TIME.

Today, I'm going to have fika with a woman I've never met. She's been a member of the AWC for 4 years and is nearing 80 and has never been to a single event. I talk to her several times a year, but despite the fact that I live only about 10 minutes away from her, we've never managed to get together or to get her to an activity. She's an artist, a fiend for billiards and a jet setter. I can't wait to meet her.

Finally caught up with the rest of the internet and found <a href="http://smartypants.diaryland.com/index.html" target="_blank">Mimi Smartypants</a>, one of those Chicago bloggers I'm envious of, who writes up a storm, and makes me have to close the office door so my boss won't come in and ask me why I'm laughing so hard. She's got a book coming out, too (squee!), like <a href="http://www.reallivepreacher.com" target"=_blank">Real Live Preacher</a>, both of which I hope are better than the lameness that the website-to-book, <a href="http://www.mil-millington.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/things.html" target="_blank">Things My Girlfriend & I Have Argued About</a> was.

I was lamenting the fact yesterday that during the inevitable aging process, added to the fact that I've now been away from the States for 7 years, I've now lost all touch with American cultural references. It doesn't help that I lived as a teenager in Europe for 6 years with no TV, and that I don't watch TV hardly at all ANYWAY and that I don't have the time or the budget to see all the movies I'd like to. It's the recipe for a bitter former Trivial Pursuit champion that no longer knows what the hell kids are talking about these days. Pop culture is history. For me, anyway. I'm still stuck with the slang of the 70s and 80s. Bitchin'.

The standard rule of thumb for expatriates is that 5 years is the limit for moving back home within the margin of comfortable repatriation. After that, so many things will have ch-ch-changed that it is like moving to a NEW country, instead of back to the old. I've now been outside of the U.S. for nearly 13 years. That's more than a fourth of my life. The thing is, I don't know how much of my feelings of being adrift in a sea of unfamiliar references have to do with the fact that I'm an expat...or that I'm nearing 40. Time may change me, but I can't trace time, it seems.

<b>Edited to add</b> There's a patch of blue sky among the grayness outside my windows...!! C'mon, SUN!
 working
mood: working
music: Grace Pool—Radio Religion


Comments

Ooh, soo many good references today. I love it. And have lived out of the US for 8 yrs now, and know exactly what you mean. Though I notice that Elba, Idaho changes on a slower time scale than the rest of the US.

I may have to listen to some Bowie now...

Bowie...*swoon* I love that man

Oh, you should've seen me when Labyrinth first came out! :)

*lol* ME TOO!! :) (geek! hahaha)

:) Yes yes, I _am_ a geek, I know!! *sigh*

The WHOLE of Idaho changes on a much slower scale than the most of the rest of the known world!

i adore mimi smartypants...there are so many good writers in this city.

I'm devouring her archives. She's awesome :) Chicago rocks! I miss it SOOOO much!!

i *heart* chicago...but i can't believe i've already been here a year.

I can't believe I've never seen Mimi Smartypants! I'm laughing so hard now - thanks!

For what it's worth - I hated Things I've Argued With My Girlfriend About, or whatever it's called. Dumb dumb dumb.

*bookmarked*

Mimi's great, isn't she!? And you're ANOTHER Chicago writer. :) Re: TMG&IHAA, I laughed my ass off over the website the first time I saw it, but the book SUCKED.

I've been away three years tomorrow and I feel like I've lost touch with a lot of what happens "home". It's something I've been thinking a lot about. I know I love Australia and yet I do like Sweden as well. It just isn't home yet. So I feel a bit stateless.

People have said to me that if it's so great there, why am I living somewhere else? Answer: My husband! Seriously though, in the case of those of us overseas because of our spouses, unless you both want to live in international waters, someone has to live in the other person's country and someone is always going to be homesick or missing out.

I agree. Sweden does feel like home now, but I've been here longer than you. I've felt a lot of homesickness this year, though, most likely because I wasn't able to make an annual trip back to the States. Anders and I have always said we'd like to live somewhere ELSE for awhile where we can BOTH be the foreigner at the same time. Don't know when/if that will happen, though.

I guess I'm one of the truly weird folks (but then you already knew that). I never felt quite at home in the States. I think it started when I was around 11-12 years old and had read enough to know there were other countries and other cultures. I remember the first time I landed in England, something inside said "You've come home" and I have to admit of all the places I've been, England and Sweden have come closest to real homes for me.

Well, none of my family wanted to move back to the States in 1982, after 6 years abroad, and really, Anders was just a ticket back. (hahaha! just kidding). But it's true, I really did LONG to move back to Europe and had no problem doing so. I like it here and do feel at home, although, like everyone, I've had my ups and downs. It's more than I feel SO removed from American culture, more than I ever did as a military brat.

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