I’ve been completely horrible about updating.
It’s not because there isn’t anything going on over here in SE Asia… it’s more because I’m a neurotic writer trying to juggle on one blog the things I’d tell my grandfather, vs. the things I would tell my closest friends. Grandpa’s opinion generally wins out. But somewhere in the middle, I’m sure I can find a balance.
A balance that doesn’t start with, “Last night for the hell of it…” or, “So there I am, resetting a broken nose in my living room…”, or… “So I get taken to this room that looks like it came off the set of Saw, and…”
Those are generally where my stories start. And it seems that no matter how many countries you’ve managed to fly your way into, every expat here has the ability to one-up the last story told with, “Well that’s cool, but this one time I nearly died, I…”
I’m left with the feeling of accomplishing very little. I frequently am told, “Yes you live here, but you’re really not taking advantage of living in Asia at all, now are you?” Or, “Oh, you’ve only been to 15 countries? You know you’re supposed to have seen as many countries as your age, right?”
It gets a bit overwhelming, trying to juggle American living and the “who are you/what have you done/what can you do for me” vs. what I now realize is a lot of “You’re American/Don’t You Know How Messed Up Your Country Is/ What Are You Doing Here / I Almost Died Better”.
Note: Not every expat is like this. They really aren’t. But there are an awful lot who are.
Ordering food and not dying is not enough. Simply living here is not enough in some of the circles I’ve met. I’m left wondering how many times one can “nearly die” over here before earning their expat street cred.
Answer: At least one more time since that last time you almost died yesterday. Rinse. Repeat. Go almost die in three other countries. Rinse repeat. Nope. Not good enough, because that guy sitting next to you almost died and his story is better, go try again. Oh, hey, you’re not dead yet? Fail.
I just filled my first passport. I know nothing. It gets very difficult to sit down and write things, when I know that guy sitting next to me at the coffee shop probably almost died three times yesterday alone.
So this is that whole blog of, “Yes, I’m a writer, and I have this space on the internet and it’s mine, and it’s about time I own it, despite the fact that my country apparently is all kinds of messed up (believe me, we’re American, we know, please stop telling us), and that I have not died nearly enough in nearly enough countries to write anything with any kind of authority”. Because really, all I can do is write anyway.