• Campbell Whitman

Forever Foreign

Once you leave your homeland for more than just a vacation, you change. You have to change because you must adapt to a new way of life. A new culture, language or cuisine (just to name a few) forces you to see the world, or better put, your world through a new pair of eyes. You realize simple, daily things can be done in a different way for better or worse and you begin to see a new perspective on things which inevitably changes you. But, no matter how long you live there, you will also never fully fit in. You will miss out on a joke because it's a cultural laughing matter, and you won't get it. Or, even though you may fluently speak their language, you cannot possibly have learned all of the words in their dictionary and misunderstandings are commonplace. Or a song might be played at a party and everyone except you screams with excitement because it was a song from their childhood, not yours.

But, the interesting part is that even if after moving, you come back to your homeland for a visit or a proper return, you can begin to feel as if you don't truly fit there anymore either. You have changed and you cannot be put back in the box that you fit into before leaving. You have changed shape and no matter how hard you push, you cannot get a square peg in a round hole.


It's a strange place to be. You sort of feel like you're floating around without proper roots at times and in some ways your nationality has seeming left you. Sometimes I do find myself feeling a bit down in the mouth about that specific part of being an ex-patriate. But when the discomfort of feeling out of place occurs for someone like me, I just roll with it and enjoy a glass of champagne. That certainly makes the awkwardness of being an ex-pat immediately return to normality.