AutoTopic: Have You Ever Lived Outside The Country You Were Born In?

My first response to this AutoTopic question is a question, well, at least two questions:

  1. What is the definition of “lived”? Does this mean longer than a week, month, year, what?
  2. Define “country.”

Ok, obviously I’m supposed to comment on some extended time spent outside the good old USA, so the answer to the basic question is yes.  Now, the list of countries I’ve physically set foot in are as follows: the US, Mexico, Ireland, England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Leichtenstein, Luxembourg, Austria, Serbia and/or Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Qatar, Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan, and technically North Korea as well (giggle).  Obviously time changes where you have been: Kosovo.  I think we recognized their soverienty.  Hmm.  I don’t think airport stops count, and a week’s stay nominally doesn’t qualify you to know whether or not you can comment about a place with the exception of Kuwait and Qatar, which could drop into a pit in the Earth and I’d just smile.  Using those criteria, the list shrinks to the US, Kosovo, Germany, Korea, and Afghanistan.  I can’t use war as a disqualifying factor, because Korea would also technically drop off (Trivia: the Korean War has not technically ended; we are still under armistice).

Realistically I can’t comment on Kosovo now, since when I was there it was mainly smoking craters, smoking Kosovars, and lots of mangled shit.  Afghanistan requires a book-length document, so I’ll decline on that one too.  I was born American so the US drops off as well though it is by far the bestest place to live.  Using my fingers and some toes, this leaves two.

Germany:  Funny how a group of folks a shitload of Americans are descended from can be so alien.  I can also vouch for a lot of truth in some of the stereotypes we carry around about the Germans.  This is the only nationality group who could in fact make a train system run on time, and yes, if you beat a drum marching down the street you will have a squad (military squad, not Band Camp squad) behind you in less than five minutes.  In Germany, beer = water, water ≠ water you are used to, so just order beer.  If you plan to visit, abandon whatever diet plan you are on.  Guess where most of our fried food and gravy tendencies originate?  I will say that of all the countries I’ve driven in, Germany is the easiest to deal with because they actually follow the rules and drive on the correct side of the road.  However, if you find yourself on the autobahn and can’t bring yourself to rocket along at 200mph, stay in the right lane.  Older Germans are quite friendly, the younger pretty much want you to go away.  All of them speak English, so don’t be fooled and watch your mouth. If you’re single and find yourself attracted to some of the tall, blonde and angular ladies, make sure you’ve covered your language skills adequately so you don’t walk up and say something bright like, “I have french fries in my leather pants.”

Korea: Asia is night and day from what we’re used to. So much is different it is a challenge to assimilate it all let alone relate it in a paragraph. However, if I had to make a rank ordered list then Koreans would definitely be at the top of the “Most Like Americans But Not” list. These are some wacky party animals at heart, and their national drink is soju – Korean white lightning. Don’t bother trying to learn to speak their language unless you’re one of those language geniuses. But if you can reasonably say “hello” and “thank you” then you’ll get the warmest hospitality possible. Korea is about one generation beyond being a 3rd world country, so these folks know how to work, and there is still an interesting mix of technology with old-Asian practice that you can smell in the morning (they fertilize with human waste since there aren’t a lot of farm animals like cows). I left regretting that I’d not explored more of the country.

That answers the question, for the most part. Now for the comments…


38 Responses to “AutoTopic: Have You Ever Lived Outside The Country You Were Born In?”

  1. I’ve never lived outside my home and native land, however, interesting perspective on Germany and Korea. A lot of the young people going through for their education degree here, go to Korea to teach for a year to gleen experience. They always come back thrilled they went and saying how much they loved it…the kids, they say, are awesome!

  2. Ok , about Kuwait and Qatar , not cool man. Not cool.

    As for when I run into a tall blonde german woman , how exactly do you say “I have french fries in my leather pants.” in german? I can see that working (^.^)

  3. Is that how you met your wife, Rants?
    Hey, there, gorgeous, I gotta some mighty big potatoes in my pants here. Also a giant cucumber just for you!”


    Might work on farmer’s daughters…

  4. I never lived in Germany, but I was there long enough to confirm everything you observed. It’s a freakin’ well-oiled machine, is what it is. Which is pretty astounding considering the amount of beer they consume.

  5. Currently living in Peru and having a wonderful and interesting time of it ( This is my first time living overseas and it shows.

  6. Becoming Bitter Says:

    I have traveled to different countries, but I have never lived there for more than a month. Born and raised in the US of A. I’m fu*cking proud and grateful of it too. I would never want to live where my parents were raised. People can get pissed all they want about how I have no appreciation for “my roots”. I don’t care. Staying true to a person’s roots comes from how well you adhere to your culture’s values and principles. Sorry… I went slightly ~off~ topic.

  7. Being born and raised in Germany I have to tell you…our train system? Not as great as you make it sound but you’re damn right about driving here. Someone crawling along the left lane of the autobahn with 60mph just won’t make any new friends here.

  8. Some people say, “I laughed till I cried.”, and they didn’t REALLY. Some use the word, “literally” when it was just figuratively, but I just went back to read the last few posts on yesterday’s topic and Really, “literally” laughed till I cried. I had to grab a tissue to sop up my face. Thanks to Kayjai for that affectionate bitchslap. Newfies is some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Didn’t know whether Rants would get the reference. Ever meet any Newfies? In Germany? Yes Mr. Erickson, Hamilton is an easy hour drive away. I’ve taken my daughter to a hospital there. May have to go again.

  9. Physically stepped foot in England aye 😉 and yes German speak English very well, I learnt that one the hard way … I improved a lot on my German after what I said though ahaha

  10. Your lists are longer than mine.

    Mine: France, Belgium, England, Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, St. Thomas (part of the US . . . sort of), and the continental US,

    Loved your comments on the Koreans. My dad served in the Korean war with military intelligence. He was “wined and dined” by gracious hosts.

  11. John Erickson Says:

    My dad was in Korea from 52-53, and described the country as “Florida with the Rockies and Appalachian Mountains stuffed in”. Other than that, we’ve never spent more than a few days outside the US for 3 generations. But I’d love to see Germany and Poland.
    Ya shoulda brought back a couple Daewoos or Kias with you. Beat the import taxes, no? 😉

  12. I wish I’d lived in another country, only visited so far.

  13. Before grad school I lived and travelled overseas for about two years. I lived and worked in Thailand, England, and Isreal, and I also spent about two months hiking through the Himalayan moutains of Nepal. Good times, good memories.

  14. Two neighboring countries, separated by a common language. Up here, Newfies are people from “The Rock.” Newfoundlanders, if you’ve got the time and patience to pronounce the whole word. A Newfoundland or two Newfoundlands, are the dogs. You Americans seem to use the words in exactly the opposite ways.

    There was never a lot to do Down Home, then the fisheries went to hell. Lots of folk, especially the young’uns, moved away, looking for jobs. Came to Ontario, when we had ’em. Half a small local city is/was Newfoundlanders. I’m told that there are more Newfies working the oilfields at Fort McMurray, Alberta, than are left on the island. Now they’ve got the Hibernia oil project offshore. Maybe some of them with experience will move back. We lost 26 in a shuttle helicopter crash a year ago.

    John E., what’s the thrill about Hamilton? It’s a grimy, grubby steel town, full of one-way streets. Makes Pittsburgh look like Miami.

  15. That’s an easy one. I live in my own little country every day. It’s called Sparkleville, and it’s very nice to visit….
    Here is the question: Did you actually tell a blonde angular woman you have french fries in your pants?

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