Many of my fellow Charioteers are or have been expatriates. Some have settled permanently, some have repatriated, some have moved to third countries. However distinct a person’s experience, there are some experiences which many share.
As you are all aware, I am a certified, card-carrying Hun. In between gnawing on roasted joints of meat and downing copious quantities of sauerkraut, I have this pathological urge to invade neighbouring countries. Naturally, this entails wearing a Pickelhaube and goose-stepping. These days, however, are rapidly coming to a close. I am no longer as young as I was ten years ago and I have grown tired of all this marching. At the end of next month I will fly to the United Kingdom and make preparations to settle down permanently come November. Thanks to Corbyn’s insistence that the Human Rights Act be preserved, I will secure my position by purchasing a potted plant. Right to family life or some-such.
Before then, I will have to fly to California to make final arrangements. The blessed female-type parent has managed to make things even more stressful than they needed to be. Despite Cog and CO’s sage advice, which she completely disregarded along with my concerns, she’s committed herself to moving to bloody Texas. Not only has she committed herself to moving to Texas, but she’s moved it up to this year. Her new paramour has received his inheritance and will fly to San Antonio Saturday to sign the paperwork for a house in the Texas Hill County. She somehow anticipates that I, with no real notice, ought to be able to arrange the transport of at least 5 large boxes of goods to Dorset before the ink even dries on my paperwork. One is sorely tempted to oblige her to drag the bulk of it to Texas and have her deal with the logistics at one’s leisure.
What this situation has revealed is one of those quirks of life. Due to our age difference, most had anticipated that my mother would remain fundamentally European but develop a superficial Americana in order to get on. Naturally, the expectation was that I would become fully Americanised with few, if any, traces of my European origins. Things turned out rather differently. My mother has become fully Americanised with only a few traces of a German accent. I remained fundamentally European. Since repatriating, I’ve found the United States and Americans increasingly unfathomable. It’s as if I was never there at all. With her precipitous vacation of California, I’ll no longer have a foothold in the US. Any remaining connexions will be residual; the odd acquaintance, the old friend, the memory half-forgotten. Admittedly, my mother is also quickly becoming a stranger.
I, of course, wish her well. She was one of those immigrants who made good and adjusted just as well. I’d hardly consider her an “expatriate”. At heart, she’s become American. It suits her well. It’s her life and she enjoys it. In the same way, I’ve become readjusted to Europe and have grown perfectly at home again. I resented having to be in the US — I never adjusted to it, nor did I ever really want to. Thus, everything is for the best.