Past and present expatriates

Jul 15th, 2001, 10:16 AM
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Yes, it can be a relief to see "your own kind". I laughed the other night when I saw an American friend and went for the double kiss -- oops! I forgot -- only one in the US!!

But we have had so much fun talking to people explaining "American" things and phrases. And also explaining why whenever I say "rendez-vous" I blush...
Jul 15th, 2001, 12:57 PM
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My biggest "culture shock" occured right here in the US during the first class I taught [back in the 80s] at Marshall University, Huntington, WV. I asked a question [to get the students talking] -- and I didn't understand a WORD of what the young man who answered said! After 3 years there I learned to distinguish [and understand] 5 accents from the area. I could also do a "good old girl" when it was useful. But little old me from Central New York was stopped dead in her tracks -- I knew there was an accent -- but wooooof -- it was beyond me that first day
Jul 15th, 2001, 12:58 PM
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Ooooops ... wrong thread Although I WAS a bit of an ex-pat there for the first few months
Jul 15th, 2001, 04:33 PM
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""I knew some who didn't speak any French, wouldn't go to French lessons or drive at all.""

I remember being flabbergasted when I met an American woman in St Cloud who had lived in St Germain for seven years and only knew how to say Bonjour and Merci. She had sent her children to French schools, so that they could interpret for her and she didn't have to 'bother' learning the language. She went on to tell me, proudly, that she had never been into the city !! I didn't know quite what to say.... so I said nothing, but I probably looked pretty silly with my mouth hanging open.

Jul 15th, 2001, 04:40 PM
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I know exactly what you mean. I spent 16 years overseas with the US military. I was constantly running into Americans who "hated" their host country. If I asked them why there reply was, invariably, "There's nothing to do here." When I asked them what they had done, I almost always found they had not even left the base, preferring the "little America" the US government handed them. It never ceased to amaze me that somebody could actually live in England and not meet the English, in Italy and not eat real Italian pizza, etc. I just boggled my mind. Those I convinced to get off the base, to experience some of the culture, to see some of what that country and their hosts had to offer, always came back to me with a different opinion than they had when they walked out the gates. So, your woman in St. Cloud was not alone--I'm just sorry she missed out a chance for a great experience.

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