But old expat habits die hard. When do we say enough is enough?
Ruth wrote (in a comment to my blog) : “I never felt 100% at home in London, either. I lived for a year in France, and though I was completely fluent and had learnt French from the age of 5, I never felt even remotely at home there. Then I made aliya, and I also felt in some mysterious way that I had come home here. But now after 30 years I am restless again and want to move somewhere else. I have learnt how to be Israeli and now it's no longer enough for me. It's like the Wandering Jew thing. I want to learn another culture, be the outsider trying to fit in all over again. Can't explain it but I do think that becoming a citizen of the world, especially since the advent of the Internet, has become more important to me than any religious or national identity thing could.”
I have learnt how to be Israeli and now it’s no longer enough for me. I can identify with that. But do I want to be the outsider trying to fit in all over again? How many times can we reinvent ourselves, and all that surrounds us?
Purple Cow wrote: “So where do you feel that you belong? Where is your Ithaca? Or does it just keep shifting on you every time you happen to find it? I, too, relate to you... born a minority Greek in Istanbul, moved to Australia and now an "Australian" in Athens, but always a hybrid.”
The ground has stopped shifting. Does this mean that I have finally given up trying to find where I belong? How many expats share our experience? Perhaps our reflections are just some sort of romantic notion of a modern nomadic culture that we have made up in our head. How many of you out there were restlessly driven to voluntarily leave country and culture behind with no idea where you’d end up simply because you had to be some sort of outsider trying to fit in, or find a part of yourself which was greater than all one country had to offer? Or did you simply become an expat out of work opportunity or convenience, never quite knowing that there may be no way back? Does it matter how we started in order to explain where we are now? And where we may be tomorrow?
So, what is an Expat like you doing in a place like this? Do you dare tell us the inside story?