Ten Things That Happen When You Live Overseas
(especially, but not exclusively, in non-English-speaking countries)
- You spend a week thinking you have a terminal illness, and then you realize you've bought decaffeinated coffee. You also think that supermarkets should put alcohol-free beer in a separate aisle.
- When you visit your hometown, and people ask "How's [new country]?" your answer is either incomprehensibly specific:
"...well, my Steuerberater just told me that the Finanzamt have declared our 2000 Euro freelance tax exemption invalid because I was working on a Lohnsteuerkarte for the first half of 2009; that's bloody Germany for you"
or merely witless:
"...s'nice thank you".
- You get annoyed when: Germans claim that Japanese people eat cats; Japanese worry that Britain is overrun with football hooligans; Brits say they met an American once and he was a right prick; Americans ask if Germany still has a Nazi Party.
- You become so accustomed to no one understanding quick, idiomatic comments that you will remark, loudly, on a busy Newcastle street, that "it's always the heifers that wear tube tops, isn't it?"
- You are fluent in zero languages, but able to mime 'our broadband connection is running very slowly today, please tell me if there's a local problem'. You can also order a meal via interpretive dance: "uh, boss? There's a foreigner out here prancing like a chicken and waggling her fingers to indicate noodles. Should we give her the poisonous blowfish?".
- Your voluminous correspondence with the Student Loans Council rivals that of the Mitford sisters.
- You're glad you wear the largest shoe-size for women, because you don't have to bother remembering that you're a British 8, a European 41 and an American 10. You just follow the trannies to the right part of the shop.
(In Japan your footwear choices will be restricted to a mistakenly-imported pair of white Birkenstocks or the men's department.)
- You prefer moving west, because you're several hours younger there.
- You understand that bitching about the NHS is like complaining that the hem is down on your inherited mink coat.
- You only know you're British because all your underwear says 'Marks and Spencer'.