Wednesday, June 22, 2016

5 Things American Expats Need Americans To Know

So, to be fair & unbiased I have to admit that as an American Expat there are things I wish my own countrymen understood in order to make things a little easier on those of us living overseas. Now, if you’re American you may be saying, “WHAT??” Just read through top 5 things & see if it helps you understand any better:

When you’re visiting another country, remember You Are An Ambassador — Come on, you hear all through the olympics, the word Ambassador. Have you ever stopped to consider what it really means? When you leave your home soil & enter a fresh new country everything you do & say sets the standards the world judges the rest of your country by. When you go to another country & climb all over memorials, it sets a bad tone. When you go to another non-English speaking country & complain that no one speaks English, you set a bad tone. When you go to another country & you act superior then everyone else, that’s NOT patriotism, that’s just idiotic & you make it harder on those of us who live overseas & take the flack for your 10 minutes of fun.

You would not believe how many times we’ve caught flack all because the person we ran into had a bad experience with a fellow American. 

Stop asking if my host country celebrates rather American holidays like Thanksgiving or Independence Day, & don’t call me UnAmerican for celebrating my host countries holidays.
Yep, i’ve really been asked if Australia celebrates these holidays. My first inclination is to roll my eyes, come on people don’t you remember every history class you’ve had since you were 5 years old?! But generally I just say no & that’s enough to trigger the person to remember every history lesson they’ve ever had since they were 5 years old.

I don’t feel the same when people in my host country ask these questions. This is normal, this is to be expected & I enjoy answering that question because it allows me a moment to share the culture & experiences of half my family.

On the other hand, I find it irritating & stupid when fellow Americans tell me off for celebrating things like Australia Day or the Queen’s Birthday, & yeah I’ve had actual family members tell me I better not forget who & what I am. Here’s the part they forgot. I live in a bicultural family, this is who I am. However, even if our family wasn’t bicultural I’d still be celebrating the holidays of my host country. Nothing helps you appreciate the beauty & history of another country then fully understand those holidays..

Those late night talk shows you find such a blast, your country is being judged by them.. That means those of us living overseas are equally judged by them.
Look I know it’s both funny & shocking to watch some of those insane clips where they hit the streets & find the stupidest people they can. Remember the one where they went out & asked everyone why we celebrate the 4th of July? It took them something like 20 people to find one person who could actually answer the question.

The problem is, though, that when people from other countries find these clips they begin to think all Americans are dumb as rocks. I had a family member once find one of those clips & the question was name 1 country that begins with a U. Many people couldn’t. This family member couldn’t believe how stupid Americans were that they didn’t think of their own country. Without considering I was sitting right there said family member went on & on about the stupidity of the American people. Ouch. 

Your political rants on Facebook aren’t getting you anywhere. 
Your friends aren’t suddenly changing their political stances, are they? In fact most of them just end up unfriending each other because no one can agree. Lines are drawn in the sand & people each go their own way. 

What does happen, though, is that those of us living overseas are suddenly lectured on the politics of our own country. We are told what is & isn’t acceptable, which candidate is clearly he better choice, & which Constitutional Amendments we need to deal with NOW or we’re just plain bad people.

If you want to rant, go for it. Go find a group of like minded people & rant away. Share your burdens, get it all out. Save FB for connecting with your friends, sharing photos of your family with me because I haven’t seen you in forever. Show me things I can’t see anywhere else: changing leaves, purple mountain majesties, & amber waves of grain. But please, keep your political opinions off of social media.

Don’t quiz me on the stupidity of laws in my host country. Your opinion is invalid, & it’s downright rude.
I am obligated, both as a human being, & by the visa I was granted by the Australian Government to follow the rules of this country. I don’t have to like them, I don’t even have to agree with them, I simply have to follow them. Your opinion on them is invalid & mocking my host country is not something I take lightly.

If the people of my host country were living in the USA wouldn’t you expect them to be bound & obedient to the laws of America? Of course you would, so don’t think I get special privileges because I don’t.  Besides, telling me how dumb a law is won’t really change it, you do know that, right?

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