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  #1  
Old 06.10.2021, 22:42
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Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

in the first place?

(The nationality in my profile is a recently acquired one so I am not talking about Germans here)

Long story short, I have lived in Europe (not always Switzerland) for more than 10 years. I came to Europe specifically because I wanted to escape my homeland. But the reason is not as drastic as it is for asylum seekers.

I have never felt I belonged. Many things that are norm there gritted on me. I was angry and anxious all the time.

Unlike many expatriates, who move to a new place to further their career opportunities, I used a career opportunity as an entry point into Europe. I applied for a job in Germany and was lucky enough to get it.

Why Germany? Because I liked the values that are held as important there (of course they are always exceptions). Punctuality, people saying what they mean and meaning what they say, these are "normal" in Germany. In my homeland, if you are on the time and are blunt or honest, you are either an outcast or simply looked down upon.

I accepted the job offer and never looked back.

I learned a new language and a new culture. I never felt the need to seek out my fellow (at that time) countrymen either. The truth is, learning the language felt took a lot of my time and effort, so looking back, I never had the time to feel lonely or miss anything. At the same time, it is a plus, because I have always have an interest for languages. So unlike many people I know, I never felt like acquiring German was a chore. Especially since I acquired it the usual way I acquire my other languages - by watching TV shows or movies with the target language as audio and English subtitles.

Another plus is that I am estranged from my birth family, so I even save on airfares never having to fly home.

Now ten years later, a lucky (or unlucky) coincidence connected me to one single (nor former) countryman, since I have given up my original citizenship in order to get the German one. And this one countryman connected me to a bunch of the rest in Switzerland. Today, after meeting this bunch for lunch, I am reminded why I left in the first place.

One of them I would not like to be office mate with. She sees nothing wrong with talking loudly on the phone in a shared office, even complaining about the Swiss colleague who kindly told her to speak more softly.

The other sees no problem partying beyond 22:00 (fine) but after 8 years, still complains about the neighbors calling the police on them for being noisy late in the night.

The whole one hour passed away very slowly for me, because aside from the two items above, they talked about....

food....

and only food. How they went in search for the freshest seafood in France. Which restaurant has the best mussels.

For one ing hour.

I regret poking fun at the relatively bland cuisine of Germany now.

My conclusion: better bland food for the next 3 decades than living even one day in ....

Malaysia.

or even Singapore.

(I guess I am spoiled by the stimulating bullshit I get at centerpoint ;-))
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  #2  
Old 06.10.2021, 22:49
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

Everytime I return to the US for a visit I am reminded in countless ways why moving was a genius decision
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  #3  
Old 06.10.2021, 22:53
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

Not me. My fellow countrymen and women are from Yorkshire and therefore sterling characters and a joy to spend time with.
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  #4  
Old 06.10.2021, 23:08
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

When I was younger, I'd have said that American politics is a great reason to stay in Switzerland. Getting older and still missing my family, I realize my loved ones are more important than ever before. I'd go back now despite the politics....

but US taxes may keep me here.

Last edited by olygirl; 06.10.2021 at 23:23.
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Old 06.10.2021, 23:36
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

I'm usually happy to meet folks from home, glad of the chance to share that easy camaradarie, laugh at jokes without having to explain the background, forget for a moment that I am a (blöde) Auslander. Meeting folks who fundamentally 'just understand' feels comfortable and comforting, something I very much appreciate because happens so infrequently. It's a nice connection, even if just for a moment.

I'm not ashamed of who I am or where I came from. Sure, living abroad for so long has changed me, but the country and culture that raised me, educated me, gave me a start remains deep in my bones.

I wouldn't judge an entire country or culture based on a random person I found irksome. You find folks who are <insert annoying stereotype here> everywhere - even in Switzerland. Just ignore that person or encounter, and be thankful you have found whatever brings you happiness wherever you are.

---

I'm going back, largely because I miss the warmth, the friendliness, the openness. The utter batsh&t crazy currently ascendant doesn't negate that - and the perfection here does not replace it. I need to be back among those who 'just understand' for whatever time I have left before shuffling off this mortal coil.
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Old 06.10.2021, 23:41
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

I'd say the same of home country (talking loudly, noise after 22h00 and food) if I've never met someone outside the family, people in hometown and social class. But that's not the case, people is just diverse.

Continuing with the brutally honest thingy, assigning character traits to millions of people (a country) based on their nationality is more or less the definition of bigotry. Not sure is this is the optimal way to start a conversation in an expat forum
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Old 07.10.2021, 00:01
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

I think it‘s just a case of finding / creating your own sense of happiness - and what is right for you is what I‘ve found. If I were to base this on how other people affect me, my emotions, my irritations, my revulsions, then I would need to be on some kind of perpetual global roundabout, trying to find the perfect spot.
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Old 07.10.2021, 07:46
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

Here is home.

Tom
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Old 07.10.2021, 07:52
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

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Here is home.

Tom
This.
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Old 07.10.2021, 08:23
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

I have changed countries few times and don't care about any country or it's inmates. I am my own one-man country and I love meeting myself I bow only to my GOATLAND flag! Regarding your question, I left to get more goats.




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Not me. My fellow countrymen and women are from Yorkshire and therefore sterling characters and a joy to spend time with.
Oh my lord

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Old 07.10.2021, 09:34
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Re: Did meeting with your (former) fellow countrymen remind you why you left...

No, but it reminds my of why I'd never return.

Tom
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