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to be an expat

How can I even begin to explain the experiences of an expat?  The great assumption is that East and West are terribly different. One is vilified, the other painted as a land of patriots and heroes. One is crude and filthy the other has streets paved with gold. Look up and you will see miracles of architecture. Beyond the windows there are supposed to be good people, open smiles and warm hearts. How can I tell you that none of this is true? How can I untie my shoes, and somehow put them on your feet three thousand miles away? You would never believe what secrets they have to tell.

Every time I go back to the states I become more embarrassed to be an American. I overhear conversations in the street, the whines of privileged and moneyed voices. Coddled, dumbed-down and mislead they are drunk on a calculated fairly tale. And then back in Moscow, the same ignorance - the same questions from curious taxi drivers about how good it must be in America, where everything is possible and life mu…

things you think of when traveling


I would like to fall asleep listening to rain. I would like to have a great Thai takeout place to walk to. I would like to be 20 pounds lighter. I would like to be able to play a good B chord. I would like a pair of orange wingtips. Sometimes I would like to have wild locks of hair like I used to. Sometimes I think about how long it takes me to write a book, and if there is any way around that. Sometimes I forget to close the refrigerator. Sometimes I think about this electronics department in a local store I used to visit when I was a boy, staring at the cassette decks and the turntables. Sometimes I think about deer season and the dead animals tied to roofs and hoods with twists of rope, their expressions stiff all looking terrified.

I have a good watch now. I have a new guitar. I have work. I have a new striped sweater that looks like one of N's and I made her laugh when I wore it for the first time. I bought E a film camera for her birthday and she named it Marv. I bought V a Moana doll and she talks to it, as if is real.







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