November 25, 2012
Questions For Expats
When you meet someone new in the expat community, the inevitable happens...certain questions tend to creep their way into the conversation.
"Where are you from?"
"Why did you move to France (Italy, Spain, Australia, etc.)?"
"How long will you stay in France (Italy, Spain, Australia, etc.)?"
I know because I've been asked, and am guilty of asking them as well.
And I'm intrigued. Why do we feel the need to define fellow expats by their backgrounds, their decisions and their experiences?
Is it just curiosity?
Does knowing that others have made similar life decisions validate our own?
Is it simply that the experience of being strangers in a strange land and sharing a common language draws us together, even though we might never have been friends if we had remained in our home country?
By asking "how long will you be here," is it possibly to avoid creating relationships with people who we know will just be leaving in a short time?
Over the years I have been drawn to my fellow étrangers for comfort and advice, and have been fortunate to make many wonderful friends in the process. Friends whose paths I never would have crossed had we not moved to France.
So I guess I don't mind answering the expat questions. When I meet new people, I am curious too. And chances are, the person asking will be worth getting to know better!