“The thought of becoming an ordinary American again scares me. We expatriates don’t like to admit it, but being foreign makes us feel special.”
Pamela Druckerman, An American Neurotic in Paris: The New York Times, 27 Nov. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/opinion/druckerman-an-american-neurotic-in-paris.html?_r=1&
- Nearly every day, at least one man tells me that I am beautiful/a princess/the love of his life/a spice girl.
- Going shopping is much more exciting. The foods are slightly different, and it’s fun to use new brands or even just to have packaging of American brands that are written partly in Arabic. When I find something that I have missed, even if it’s something small (like decaf black tea) it’s really exciting.
- Nobody forgets who I am. A neighbor of mine whom I had never seen before helped me replace my gas, and he knew exactly which apartment I live in. I’m easy to remember when I’m the only foreigner.
- If you don’t fit in, you can just chalk it up to culture. If you don’t fit in to your neighborhood, it’s because you’re the only foreigners. Unlike in America, where we would rarely claim to not fit in based on where we are from since everyone is from a different place anyway.
- Most people back in the US think of Morocco as an exotic and mystical land. I don’t think there is much awareness of Morocco among Americans, so whenever I said I was going to live in Casablanca, I could tell people were imagining me having cocktails with Humphrey Bogart every Saturday night.
- You have to think more about what it means to be you. For example, being American means eating turkey on Thanksgiving. But I’ve only ever eaten Thanksgiving turkey twice, both times in Morocco and so now associate that tradition with Morocco. So I am like other Americans in celebrating Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean that I have had exactly the same experience as everyone else.
I’m not sure when I’ll be okay with being an ordinary American again. There are a lot of things I’d miss about Morocco, but I’ll admit that I would also miss that feeling of being a little bit special!