On Friday, I was having drinks with my friend Rich. He’s an American who absolutely loves his life here. Over a few glasses of wine, we were talking about how much we enjoy living as expats, how much we love the adventure of our lives. “I feel so lucky to live here,” said Rich. “I get to hang around people I would never get to hang around in the US, the American ambassador, the British ambassador, CEOs of major corporations. It’s a privileged life. I’m not so sure if my life will be nearly exciting enough for me when I go back to the US.”
Rich was not name dropping. He was not bragging. He is the CEO of a company as well, so he is actually hanging out with his peers! Nor was he bemoaning his fate as so many transplants do. But what he was so enthusiastically pointing out is what a wonderful mix of people we get to associate with. Like him, I often say that my life here is intoxicating. And one of the many reasons why I think so has very much to do with what Rich said: you get to associate with a very wide variety of people when you live as an international. Even though these people are vastly different from you, you relate to them, hang out with them, take them on as your family. You can do that because you are all linked in this international lifestyle – with all its joys and heartaches – together. This common ground pulls you together in an unbelievably tight bond. (Another friend, Judy, calls this process of associating with a variety of people mushing. I like that.)
It’s a good life.
And here’s an update: Peggy and I were on our walk along the water again today. Again, loads of people were out even though it was mighty cold. And because it was Sunday, even the mobile hot dog vendors were out in the park.These guys knew they could do a good business in the dead of winter on a walk/cycle path. It’s Sweden.
I love my life.
By the way, smorgasbord literally means sandwich table when you break the word down into its Swedish components. Funny, huh?