zird is the word (lizardek) wrote,
zird is the word


It's so interesting reading other expat's takes on the culture shock and acclimatization process. I both see myself in their experiences and wonder at their reactions. Partly it can be the difference based purely on the fact that I've moved around so much in my life AND that we lived in Europe when I was a teenager that gives me a different perspective. Partly it depends on the culture that is being absorbed and dealt with. I suspect I would have found it a great deal harder to live as an expat anywhere else than Europe, and especially northern Europe. Not that it would stop me from trying it should the opportunity arise, since I'm almost always open to that kind of adventure (thanks to my parents) but even with the myriad small differences that continually surprise one in Sweden, it has definitely come to feel like home.

It's probably also partly due to the fact that I've lived outside of the States for so long. I'm past the easy repatriation point of five years. Moving back now would be like moving to a new foreign country, not back home.

Substitute Swedish each time you read the word French: On a deeper level, I think compromise became possible because of an important realization: each of us is doing their best. I say this with hindsight, because it's only once it has ended that the conflict acquires clarity. (He) begins to realize that I am struggling on many fronts. With the French language and people and myriad cultural differences that ensure life is never boring but which occasionally leave me feeling defeated. In the struggle to find my place in France I've discovered a million details that matter to me—details that define me as non-French. Much as I'd initially wanted to fully integrate, I knew now I never would, not completely, I couldn't, I didn't want to. This wasn't a choice, it simply wasn't possible. I will never be French.

Another passage* which struck me: For an expatriate, the whole matter of 'home' is an emotional conundrum riddled with ambiguities and caprice. Paris is my actual home: it's where I live. It can pull at heartstrings with a mere walk down our market street in the morning. But Australia is the home of homesickness and my history—a powerful whirlpool of family and friends, memories and daily trivia that I used to take for granted but now seem somehow remarkable.


For those who have a hard time cleaning up and getting rid of the accumulations of years, travelertrish just wrote an excellent instruction on how to make the job a little more organized and easy: The De-Clutter System


Today I received proof of thoughtfulness from someone who is rapidly becoming the best kind of long-distance friend. Thank you so much for the postcards, ozswede! I love them and even if Mr. Dullaway finds no inspiration in non-Australian animals, he's found a fan in me!

*both passages excerpted from Almost French by Sarah Turnbull


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