Thanks to everyone who bombarded me with laugh out loud commentary. No one can relate to life as an expat better than fellow expats. The responses came from the US, France, Belgium and the UK, but we would love to hear more. A special shout out to my fellow Belgian (current and past) broads--Suki, Laura, Tricia, Jenn, Janice---who sent some doozies. Enjoy, and feel free to send more! Here goes:
You know you are an Expat when/if:
...you start finding men in Irish bars attractive despite the fact they have breasts
...you consider ‘edible’ Mexican food a luxury (if you can even find it)
…you find yourself admiring the ‘incomparable’ customer service of the postal workers, DMV employees, and car wash attendants ‘back home’
….you spend more money downloading current tv programs than going to the cinema
….you have no idea what’s even playing at the cinema
….you call ‘the movies’, the cinema
..when you meet someone new you ask them how long they are planning to live here
…your “future” is planned in blocks of 3 years
…you have a new appreciation for carwashes
...when you refer to your posting like a prison record:
"we did 3 years in Argentina, now we're doing 3 to 5 here in Belgium
...when each of your children hold passports from different countries...
...when a ladies night out refers to a Book Club meeting
…you don’t mind spending half your Sunday sipping coffee in a café or restaurant
...when you finally feel like you've settled, it is time to go
…you panic if you don’t have email access for more than 1 hour for fear of being cut off from the rest of the world
…you know by heart the Brussels Airlines, Easy Jet and Ryan Air flight schedules
…fast food has a whole new meaning (like under 2 hours is fast!)
...You prefer the BBC "office" to the NBC "office"
…. You can't simply answer the question, "Where are you from?”
….your children, or friend’s children, are frequent flyer members (platinum status) on at least 3 different airlines
…when you ask your parents/friends to mail you specialties from home for your birthday or christmas
… You have a passport, but no driver's license.
…you write down how to say something in the local language, and practice it a few times, before you get on the phone to make the call to the repair man,
the landlord or the plumber
… You often run into someone you know at the airport.
… Conversations with friends take place at 6:00 in the morning or 10:00 at night, or on Skype, iChat or msn messenger
… You go home for vacation.
…”I didn’t vote for him” is the 1st disclaimer after declaring your nationality (americans of course).
…On more than one occasion you have had to explain the rules of “baseball” (american).
… You now know the difference between "football", “American football”, and “rugby”.
…The local sports bar shows cricket on the big screen. (does anyone outside of England and India even understand the rules?)
…you know Waterloo isn’t just a famous battleground (Belgium expats)
… You know that it really is a small world.
…Picking food particles out of your sink drain no longer grosses you out.
(well maybe it still does but you do it anyway since there are no
…your European friends have no idea what a garbage disposal is
… You are used to being stared at as soon as you open your mouth
… You think VISA is a document stamped in your passport, and not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
….You've woken up in the middle of the night to watch the Superbowl.
… Your best friends are from 3 different countries.
…you used to care about being fluent, now you care about being understood
...you hire cat/dog/house sitters more than baby-sitters
…you’ve met people from countries you had never heard of before you moved abroad
…you can’t pronounce it but you sure do like to eat it!
…you expect unfriendly waiters, and are nearly knocked over if one smiles at you. You have never had a conversation with one.
…when you’d rather travel by train than car
…paying 12 euros for a paperback book, and 8 euros for the new issue of Vanity Fair doesn’t seem so bad
…your list of places to visit never gets any shorter
…when saying good bye means you will possibly never see someone again. Ever.