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Expat Life in a Poem

N. Rengarajan :

Living in a foreign land
we can buy everything that has a price
but not love and affection.
Ours is not a foreign life,
our lives became foreign to us.

R. Rengarajan is a South Indian poet who works on a construction site in Singapore.
This is nearer to the reality of most "Expats" than the stereotype this word invokes.

Whilst I dislike to knock poetry, that piece is about a million miles from my expat life.
I love my expat life and my old life as a Brit seems very foreign.
Perhaps  a little plagiarism and bastardisation is in order to express my version.

Living in a foreign land
we can buy everything that has a price
but not love and affection because it only costs a smile
Ours is not a foreign life,
just a new one

Conditions in your heart decide what you're going make of what you find in a new place.

You're a lot cleverer than I am Fred: I don't understand what the poem is trying to tell me. "Our lives became foreign to us" - what does that mean? Every expat lives his own life in the way that he chooses. We are what we are, wherever we are. Home is where we hang our hats, from time to time.

Obviously, the poem isn't about the two of you, both successful integrators, but about the majority of Expats who never really arrive.

I think I'll have to agree with Fred's poem and both Fred & Gordon's versions of expat life! And its so true that love and affection just costs a smile!
And lets face it, people are people everywhere.. It takes adaptability, and will to adjust... Its not hard to find individuals who don't fit in even among their own people..

I can totally relate to it.. I think it doesnt matter if I visit a place for a year, or just an hour.. I feel at home as soon as I get out of the bus station! As a matter of fact, I probably start with making the bus my home! = D

beppi :

Obviously, the poem isn't about the two of you, both successful integrators, but about the majority of Expats who never really arrive.

Yes, you're right, Beppi. I can see that the poem reflects the feeling of indentured labourers on very low wages and in poor living and working conditions, who are coerced by economics into working away from their homes. We who have become expats freely and voluntarily are in a different boat altogether, and the poem doesn't apply to us.

Gordon Barlow :

You're a lot cleverer than I am Fred:

My natural modesty prevents me from agreeing with you. :D

Gordon Barlow :

I don't understand what the poem is trying to tell me. "Our lives became foreign to us" - what does that mean?

I suppose everyone reads a poem his own way. In my opinion Gordon with that last sentence he is saying virtually what Fred said, i.e. "I love my expat life and my old life as a Brit seems very foreign." Well not quite "love" but something like this...
We have adapted to our new lives so much that our [old] lives are foreign to us.
Come on guys, use your imagination.  ;)

I do love my expat life, in a big way.
Life should be fun anyway, but you can have a ball in a new country, learning the ways and finding all the little quirks of the place.
Some people roll in with a "I'm away from home" attitude so are pretty much guaranteed a lousy time.
Others thunder in with a "Yah hay" attitude, and they're going to have a ball bouncingly great time.

No place is good or bad (Maybe Liverpool - that's a dump); it's what the expat makes of it that defines the place.
When I see expats moaning on about how <read the country of their choice> is horrible and you can't get fish and chips and British beer, I see the problem as the person, not the place.

I've seen description of Indonesia from some people, but I don't think they've ever been here because I have no clue about the places or people these useless plonkers talk about.

Ner, not for me. I chose to come here, and I chose to live here, so I'm into making the place my home, not play around hunting for British beer, hang around all day with British people, and hunt for fish and chips.

However, my wife makes the best chip butty outside Barnsley, but with sambal sauce instead of tomato.

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