Wednesday, February 22, 2006
British expats- do they really regret leaving?
I think the sort of person who ups sticks and leaves is clearly not very happy with life in the old country; yet somehow, irrationally, this unhappiness seems to persist. Some I´ve met are still railing about Harold Wilson,(´clearly a communist stooge´) or Margaret Thatcher(´mad old biddy´), so it´s not necessarily linked to party disillusion though there seem more on the right down here than the left which should make such expat diasporas happy hunting grounds for Conservatives Abroad vote snarers. Some have done well for themselves- bar owners who´ve often ploughed the ´home from home´furrow- but others are doing less well and are surviving on far less than theyearned back home.
Whatever the reasons they seem to have visceral feelings both towards Blighty and the locals in equal measure. Few had mastered the language, as far as I can gather, yet have been happy to crticise those immigrants to UK who had not tried to ´fit in´. But the dominant feeling I detected was a clearly detectable nostalgic longing for the homeland- whatever the advantages of being away, they miss the place like hell. Newspapers are eagerly siezed and passed around like samizdat tracts; news of the Royal Family is reverentially dsicussed; mid afternoon tea is a tradition recognised with colonial discipline. Don´t be so ready to envy those relatives and former neighbours who now send Christmas cards from one of the Costas- secretly they envy you much more but now cannot do anything about it.
But I know that there are many content British people living overseas, I think they tend to be the sort who assimilate into the local culture and who probably weren't malcontents to start with...
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