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Old 07-08-2013, 08:30 PM   #21
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Great thread. I love to travel, and have given a lot of thought to living overseas. Besides the obvious of friends and family, here are some of the things from daily life I would miss:

I'm pretty sensitive to what I eat, and buy a variety of organic whole foods that would probably be harder to get in other countries. I would miss my daily green smoothies with spinach, kale, and chard!

I love to exercise and enjoy the low-cost gyms here with a wide variety of classes with excellent instructors. Pilates, yoga, Zumba, strength training... I like to mix things up to keep my workouts interesting. Obviously, other countries have gyms, but I've heard in Europe for example that monthly memberships are much more expensive.

I often watch little-known foreign and indie flicks on Netflix, which isn't available outside the U.S.

Love the convenience and low price of Amazon for ordering books, gadgets, and even groceries.

I also borrow books from the library frequently. With Interlibrary Loan, almost any English-language book is available to me for a small fee.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:24 PM   #22
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What would I miss...?

American men.

(an answer in true bbbamI fashion)

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Old 07-08-2013, 10:03 PM   #23
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If I ever retire to a place other than the US, it would be in Yorkshire UK. I have lived in other places than the UK (Okinawa and Germany)....but would never have felt comfortable living for good in those places. I always felt comfortable in the UK (14 years total). Only thing I would miss is decent weather.....Yorkshire is for the hardy....but a prettier place I have never lived.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:16 PM   #24
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I spent fourteen months living in Japan back in 1991-92 as a college exchange student. I was up north, in Sendai, and foreigners were still rare enough that children would point and whisper, "Foreigner!" to their mothers. I was completely unprepared for modern Japan (having focused my studies on the 1150-1180 "medieval" period of history), and what I missed most about the U.S. was that ease of knowing the culture. Knowing how to line up, where to buy food, how to get medical care, what all the signs meant, effortlessly communicating with people, but mostly just KNOWING what to do in situations in order to be courteous and have your needs met.

As an example, there was a "host family" for one month when I first arrived, and every day when I got home from classes, the mother would ask me, "Would you like a bath?" and I thought the subtext was, "I would like you to take your bath now." Because I was reared to accommodate the requests of the host or hostess when you are a guest, I always complied. It got so that sometimes I only pretended to take the bath (swished the water, but only did the shower part, not the soaking part), because, no, I didn't want a bath right then. Near the end of my stay, I finally politely declined, "No, thank you, maybe later," and she immediately went in and took a bath. I realized that the subtext was actually, "I would like to take a bath, myself, but since you're a guest, I have to offer it to you first".

Knowing how to respond in situations, especially the subtext, and what is the "polite" thing to do, is priceless. Walking on eggshells because you don't want to be a boorish foreigner--and then finding out that you have been one through ignorance...no, thank you.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:17 PM   #25
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Why I like America? A healthy respect for the rule of law.

If your woman friend is lucky, maybe she can relinquish her US citizenship and become a full fledged citizen of Ecuador.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:00 PM   #26
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Why I like America? A healthy respect for the rule of law.

If your woman friend is lucky, maybe she can relinquish her US citizenship and become a full fledged citizen of Ecuador.
Now now....the lady really liked the country. She may end up happy there....or not, who knows? Even here in this country we have issues with the law. Rich people don't get in trouble like poorer folks. Financial idiots never had to pay the piper. Politicians (on all sides) who fiddle things whenever they can, and only occasionally get in trouble. Minorities who get pulled over by police just because of skin color, etc etc etc If I do something stupid I get tossed in jail....but if you are a mega sports person you might get your hand slapped. Still a great country, but like a lot of countries things aren't always fair.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:53 PM   #27
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I'm vacationing in Thailand right now and have been reading about the expat community in the town where we are located. So far, it looks great, but I couldn't imagine being here permanently. I think the only way to do that is if you we're able to integrate with the local culture/community, which I think is very difficult.

There was a discussion about this on an expat forum for this town and it looks like the happiest people are the ones that are here for about 6-8 weeks a year.

That makes a lot of sense to me and probably a model we'll eventually follow, except that maybe we'll go for a bit longer (4 months?) and stay at more places. Not fully expat, but more time in each place to absorb more of the local culture, and then move on when the novelty wears off.
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Old 07-09-2013, 12:09 AM   #28
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The National Park system.
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Old 07-09-2013, 12:21 AM   #29
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Ecuador is a cesspool of crime. Obviously, this lady had no idea what she was talking about. I also experienced a fair amount of anti-Americanism there.

I am in an expat situation, probably only spend about 6 weeks per year in the USA. I have lots of American friends in the Philippines, so don't miss the native conversations, that sort of thing. The cable there is mostly American channels and I download movies and series to watch at my leisure. I am not into watching sports, but most of my friends have Armed Forces Network satellite which shows all the latest American sports feeds live. Although I do miss seeing NFL games sometimes.

I do miss the great shopping and varied and quality ethnic foods in the USA. I load up 2 big suitcases of stuff on each visit. (so I still get most of the benefits). I have managed to get most of my ethnic foods in the Philippines now, though.

In the USA, I don't have to carefully evaluate the competence of any medical person I see (however, I probably can't afford to pay them, either).

I love the clean air in the USA, even in the big cities. Quito is polluted.

The USA has rule of law, nuff said.

When I call a repairman or handyman, in the USA I can expect a fair level of competence, absolutely not true in the Philippines.

Foreigners are, for the most part, accepted and treated as equals in the USA and not discriminated against. This is actually pretty rare around the world.

Someone mentioned not knowing how to handle situations in another culture. You develop this ability over time, this problem mostly goes away (although you may not like how you have to handle the situation)
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what I miss.....
Old 07-09-2013, 12:41 AM   #30
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what I miss.....

great posts. I have been an expat since about 1992. Lived all over the world. Not a lot that I really miss except

1. what the USA represents can never be taken for granted. i may be an expat, but I cherish the freedom that is represented by our red white and blue as much as anyone...it IS worth dying for. Thank a vet when you see one....George Washington and our founding fathers made it, but the vets kept it going for 236 years so far.

2. sunday morning newspaper with all the advertisements.... nothing beats a good newspaper and endless cup of coffee at 6AM on a sunday morning

3. change of seasons/4 seasons.....

4. family - at times -- you want to be there and you just cant be. It IS a trade off, especially as parents get older and need help.

Other comments on here are spot on - our American friend in Singapore is right -- something about the connection to a fellow who knows the verses of the star spangled banner seem stronger.

Same with Kramer in the Philippines...many positives, but rule of law is weak at best and I can not tell you how many times I've had to rework the repairs of supposed competent repairmen.

5. freedom and equality. What a concept. Sadly there are prejudices everywhere in the world, more so outside the USA than inside (believe it or not). that said, my worst bit of inequality and unfair treatment was at the hands of an over zealous commander of the missouri state highway patrol. This trooper cuffed and stuffed me for no cause what so ever. Cost me a thousand bucks and really soured my taste on "how fair" america really is (or is becoming). My victory moment was when the district attorney looked to the commander and told him if he ever did something like that again, she would personally pull his badge and toss him in jail for between 3 and 5 years. I felt vindicated....but still ..... this great nation is becoming a police/nanny state that we need to defend.

here in China, people are treated like crap and treat each other like crap. no civility at all.... i appreciate the USA every day here...

But...Sadly our great nation is slipping. I see it every moment of every day from afar. We are still a top dog, but not even half of what we were 50 years ago. My respect to the "greatest generation" and "poo poo on you" to the boomers who f&^%3d things up.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:46 AM   #31
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We've lived in the USA for 26 years and love it, but our hearts still long for England, and Yorkshire in particular. Now that we are retired we have been spending lots of time there, averaging about 90 days/year over the last 4 years.

There is too much we like about the USA to list here, plus our children have grown up here so we have solid family ties and expect to grow old close to them.

In 3 years time we are hoping to have the best of both worlds and split our time evenly between the 2, maintaining a permanent residence in both countries, summers in Yorkshire, winters in Texas. Hopefully the finances will be good enough to do this.
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:09 AM   #32
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Absence makes the heart go find her. The grass is greener on the other side until it turns brown.
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:13 AM   #33
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What would I miss...?

American men.

(an answer in true bbbamI fashion)

American woman, stay away from me.eee. American woman, mama let me be.ee, be.eee .....
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:53 AM   #34
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Two years as an expat, so I didn't like feeling i was a stranger - i didn't speak the same lingo, couldn't decorate my apartment and it just wasn't home. No 4th of July, no Thanksgiving, no pumpkin pies, no Walgreens, no Charmin toilet paper...wouldn't
Have missed it for the world, but would never retire anywhere but the US.
Huh? But you're retired and live in Perth, Australia.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:03 AM   #35
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Very interesting thread, especially the posts of members who are from other countries or those US citizens living abroad. I'm thinking about the term "grass is always greener .....". I am thinking of the picture seen frequently of all the folks holding the American flag and taking the pledge to become US citizens. Is this picture ever duplicated in other countries? Despite all our faults, overall it's still the greatest country on the face of the earth and feel lucky to have been born here. Can't imagine ever leaving it for any reason.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:19 AM   #36
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I often watch little-known foreign and indie flicks on Netflix, which isn't available outside the US.
Actually, Netflix is available outside the US. The selection in many countries is inferior, but there are ways around it.

How to watch US Netflix anywhere in 24 steps | The Netflix Observer
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:53 AM   #37
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The friend of the OP just sounds clueless to me. Four weeks vacationing could never be enough to learn how living somewhere will be. I've had an expat experience in the UK as a college student and I've lived on Kauai for 3 years which is quasi-expat. Yes, it's the same country, but things just don't work quite the same here as they do on the mainland.
It just takes longer to get things done. Whether it's the DMV process, filling a prescription, refinishing the condo pool, any and everything just takes longer for some reason. Usually, it's a variety of reasons which keeps life interesting, but it does get frustrating.
Another thing about ex-pat living, is finding a stable community of friends. People come and go a lot. Modern technology makes this easier to overcome, but it's not as fluid as when your lives overlap on a daily basis.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:58 AM   #38
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I don't know that I could ever be an ex-pat. I just feel too much of a bond to places I've lived in the past, and have a feeling that if I ever moved too far away from the area, I'd want to click my heels together and whine about there being no place like home!

Maybe I do need to get out more. I've never lived more than roughly 30 miles, as the crow flies, from where I'm at now, a family homestead that dates back to at least 1916. That's when my grandmother's uncle built it, but I'm sure the land has been in the family even longer. I've also worked at the same place, which is about 2 1/2 miles from home, for almost 21 years.

I do like going to new places, exploring, learning about them, etc. But in the end, I think I'd still want to come back home. Now, I might feel differently as I get older. Plus, "home" is slowly changing. More traffic, congestion, etc. What used to be farm fields is now housing developments. The road has been widened. Some long time neighbors have moved away. And, when my grandmother who lives across the street passes away, if we sell her house, it may change the vibe of the neighborhood for me.

Grandmom's cousin lives next door to me as well, and she's getting up there in years. She has a son, granddaughter, granddaughter's bf, and 3 great-granddaughters all living with her. When she passes away, it's a sure bet they're going to lose that house. So, once a lot of that familiarity gets yanked from under me, I might change my mind. Still don't know if I'd want to leave the country, over it, though.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:26 AM   #39
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I don't know that I could ever be an ex-pat.

....

Maybe I do need to get out more. I've never lived more than roughly 30 miles, as the crow flies, from where I'm at now, a family homestead that dates back to at least 1916.

....

I do like going to new places, exploring, learning about them,

....

So, once a lot of that familiarity gets yanked from under me, I might change my mind. Still don't know if I'd want to leave the country, over it, though.
My goodness, there is a world of difference between never moving more than 30 miles from "home" and moving abroad! There are thousands of wonderful places to live right across the US and I'm sure there are quite a few in your home state.

Like it or not (and I speak from experience) moving to another country is an enormously disruptive and life changing move, even for a young person. Moving within a country is a lot simpler.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:49 AM   #40
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I am thinking of the picture seen frequently of all the folks holding the American flag and taking the pledge to become US citizens. Is this picture ever duplicated in other countries?
Technically, no. It's impossible, unless for some special reason it would occur at a US Embassy or US consulate. The "huddled masses yearning to breath free" do hold the (applicable) flag and take the pledge to become (applicable) citizens in most other large countries. The US does not hold a monopoly on allowing immigration.

The (well,...my) five cardinal rules for expatriates:
1) (As appropriate) you will always miss food, friends, and family. This is also true if you move from Maine to New Mexico.
2) NEVER make absolute judgements about living in a country when you have only ever visited that country. Visiting there and living there will be two different experiences.
3) Some people can live in another country and thrive. Some people should never contemplate living in another country. It all depends on the individual.
4) If you are happy living abroad, you will discover 'THE CURSE' of the expat. You'll love the one you're in but really miss aspects of the other, no matter which one you're in.
5) Airplanes fly in both directions.
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