Thursday, July 30, 2009

Expat Whens and other Questions Your People Ask You

Tomorrow I see my family. My family who patiently, if timidly ask every single time they see me if I'm planning on moving back to the United States. A difficult question to answer, inasmuch as I'm not really that much of a planner, and you know that life I have? Well, it's pretty great, and it takes place in Chile.

A while ago, Kyle, a prolific and chipper bloggarrific American and acquiend of mind (technically an acquaintance, but she easily felt like a friend, or do you prefer the word friendquaintance?) profiled the different types of gringas living in Chile in this post. To say she got darn close is to short her credit she deserves. I think she probably hit the nail on the head. And her powers of observation must be greater than mine, because I'd never have been able to pick out so many subcategories. I think she feels a more powerful ownership over Chile than I do, and guesses that some kinds of gringas are not exactly living in Chile, just visiting, but aside from that, let's just say she's spot on.

There's the exchange student gringa, the ESL teacher gringa, just-married in transition gringa, etc.

Here's what she says about me:

3. Fullblown Expat Gringa Who Geniunely Likes the Country of Chile: I know very little about this creature, because I know very few of this kind. These women are here for a love of the culture and are planning on staying indefinitely — not because of ties to a man or family — simply because they like living in Chile.


Although my friends and family have perhaps not yet read Kyle's blog about expat life in Chile and photography, I suspect that in the back of their heads, they have me typed as a three as well.

I know some of the things that motivate me to stay in Chile (great friends, spectacular geography, lower cost of living (the way I live...), access to Latin America, great produce, excellent bicycling, very photogenic, the fact that I'm already there, Spanish, never a dull moment), and the things that pull me to the United States (family, it's my motherland, great friends). Sometimes I wish I could meet some other threes to get a better perspective on why they're still in Chile and what it means to them when they hear that oft-repeated (by friends and family) question, "do you think you'll live in Chile forever?"

The answer is, I don't know. But I'm going back in thirteen days. Come visit. Got a big couch, a bigger heart and a whole lotta tea I just ordered from here. Which is actually another great thing about the US. Availability of certain consumer goods. Which I shall now proceed to luxuriate in over the next almost two weeks, hopefully without removing my credit card from my wallet again.

A girl's got to dream.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I know what you mean. My grandparents constantly ask me how my "trip" is going and why I haven't taken any pictures. I feel bad constantly pointing out that I'm not traveling anymore. I'm settling.

Come back to Chile!