Wednesday, October 10, 2018

expat vs. immigrant

I've called myself a repat: I'm an American expat except I moved to Europe with the idea of staying, took Swiss citizenship and then renounced my American nationality because of FATCA.

My husband pointed out to me that when one changes countries with the goal of living in the new country permanently they are immigrants.

Having also lived short times in Ireland, Scotland and a longer period in Germany, I've taken part of their cultures into my genes.

Despite the renunciation there is part of me that will always be New England Yankee, but after almost three decades of living in Switzerland, part of me feels Swiss and there's a part of my heart that is in France. I suppose if you asked me I would have to say I consider myself an international, with three countries that have made me me.

I owe a great deal to all three countries.

More than one person has called it disloyal.

I do wonder why land, which existed as long as the planet has to be marked off as a country which demands heart, soul and sometimes body in loyalty. Just looking at how the borders of Europe changed over the centuries how arbitrary the idea of "country" is.

Granted some land masses are occupied by people who treat it and each other better than others. If we are lucky we can live in one of those places.

One of the best thought out discourses on nationality identity was posted by the Nomad Capitalist. Even if you never travel, it makes for interesting listening.

1 comment:

Andrew Henderson said...

Thanks for sharing this!