The Expat Chronicles

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reading through the current five-part series in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by former AJC writer Soyia Ellison (right) about her move to Buenos Aires, I couldn't help but feel, well, unoriginal. We here at Goodairs have also bitched about Argentine bureaucracy, written up our language classes, and rhasodized about tango. Reading over the other expat blogs over the last few years, I've noted that we're far from the first or last to comment on these things. The titles of the pieces even perfectly encapsulate the 10 Steps of Expatriotdom ('Expatriate takes leap of faith, relocates to Argentina', 'Moving to Argentina, writer finds Spanish a tongue twister', 'Argentine adventure: Reality sets in, annoyances show up' etc.).

All this commonality of experience makes me wonder: now that we have the five-part, platonic ideal, newspaper published chronicle of the expat experience (not badly written either)--and now that reading any newby expat blog gives me that weird Groundhog Day, "Haven't I been here before?" feel--isn't it time to declare a moratorium on all base level expat observations? No more posts about how water splashes up from loose sidewalk tiles, no more wonder at the number of dogs the walkers have, no more wowing about Evita. Time to dig deeper. At least that's what I'll aim to do.


Anonymous said...

Yes please! I'm sorry to be the snobby "experienced" expat, but sometimes I think if I here yet another new arrival spout anything but an entirely originally complaint I may just have to pick up one of the bits of dog poop on the sidewalk and toss it at them ;)

If I'm ever at an expat gathering and hear the type of commentary that Ellison wrote, I now back away before I start screaming...

Oscarin & Mel said...

I would like to hear the more "experienced" expat analysis.

I think the way you start to compare countries when you´re an expat is almost a curse... Every country has its pros and cons. Its just way to easy to dwell on the cons of the host country and idealize the pros of your home country.

Mattyc said...

Poor Soyia! It's like Pollyanna has accidentally wandered into a Kafka novel and discovered that the Glad Game doesn't work on the authorities.

Where to start on this turgid whine-by-numbers? At least the Miranda France book was funny. Soyia doesn't seem to have learned rule one of travel writing, which is to lie incessantly. All her experiences have a ring of truth to them and are therefore boring as hell. Shit-strewn streets, red tape, power cuts, people not answering the phone on public holidays - did I miss the bit where she discovered her hairdryer wouldn't work in the sockets here?

So drab, so ordinary. Until you get to the bit where she confesses to enjoying piropos. Narcissistic, insecure, a little unhinged -- perhaps she's a real person after all and not a cipher for First World complacency?

Doyenne said...

Ouch! You guys are harsh...but spot on funny!! Here's the thing --while her facile observations are totally predictable and cliched, they are new, exciting, and dare I say "exotic" observations from her point of view. She doesn't know she's not being original. That's what happens when one lives in a self-centered universe. It's all about the ME.

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