There was an interesting post on The Dish this week about what we can learn by living as an expatriate. I recommend reading it here. At the end of the post, the author asked readers to write in about our experiences. I appreciate the US and our democratic institutions in a whole new way since moving overseas and wrote a fairly long response trying to explain this. The Dish published my whole message in the follow up post below. And in a great sign of how marriage equality has become normal, we are identified as a married gay male couple!

(Click to read the full piece — the reader from Beirut is at the beginning.)

The Dish

by Dish Staff

A reader addresses Jonah’s piece on living abroad for several years in Jordan:

Thank you for sharing your experience. I went to Beirut, Lebanon from my US university as a third-year student in 1974, interested in history and archaeology. During the ten months I spent in Lebanon I was forced to consider all sorts of new experiences: Palestinian dorm-mates, life experiences that were very different from mine; travels to “mysterious” (as it then was) Syria; and finally the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war in spring 1975. All of these experiences forced me to think in new ways about the US, about its role in the world, and about the lives of others who (in the US corporate media) were mostly overlooked or dismissed. And the more I began to dig into the causes of the Lebanese war, the more complex (and hitherto unknown to me) this world…

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Categories: Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Expatriatism

  1. Thanks! This just proves what we feel so strongly, especially for Americans. The need to experience another culture is uppermost in importance for our people if we are to make the changes in foreign policy that are so necessary! Believing that every country should be like the US and if not our policy is regime change is bringing us and the whole world down. WE can learn from everyone. Often people who go on our developing world reality tours come home realizing that so many of the problems are similar there as here and some solutions poor people in poor countries have found helpful might work here!

  2. JoAnn Muir

    I have never lived overseas, but I come from the USA “third world countries” Native American reservations. I have visited and worked in what people call the most dangerous places in America, the South side of Chicago, Harlem, Watts, Pine Ridge, etc. I am a poverty lawyer. What I have found, is that most of the time I was in danger of gaining weight. Everybody wants to feed you. I learned that 99% of people love their families, like visitors, and are hospitable. Only the “crazies” get into the news. I found that listening to peoples’ stories is the best you can do. I’m an atheist, and my best friend is a Somali muslim. I positively adore her as one of the most wise people I know. My other friends are Lakotas, because that is who I went to school with and worked with for over 20 years. I have learned there is “nothing to fear, but fear itself.” So, I am looking forward to doing some Peace Corps work in Mongolia. I am a horse person, so I hope to do some riding. Life is to be lived, not feared. Not meeting other people and learning about them is a tragedy. I can’t wait to get to Mongolia and “hang out.” I am wondering if my roping saddle will fit in one of my suitcases??

    • You’ll fit right in here, JoAnn! Bring the saddle if you can, but if not you’ll find that the Mongolian saddles are closer to US Western than English, so it won’t be too much of an adjustment.

  3. J. Bogert

    Your post made me doubly proud.

  4. pavement2112

    Mix it up, think lots of thoughts, eat something new, listen, listen, listen.

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