Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
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I am now negotiating a new Middle Eastern contract and God willing it pans out again since my savings are running kind of low. So, at the interview/orientation I met a guy who was very similar to me. He was from Belgrade and he also went to the USA as a refugee running from war. Then, one thing led to another and he ended up in Indonesia. Just like me, who ended up in the Philippines.
I always thought that I was an oddity. Most E Euros do not leave US except maybe to go back to their country. The idea of ending up in S E Asia of all places was odd to my family and they thought I'd lost my marbles. Now I see I am not alone.
Anyway, he went to the US and then, predictably, he did not like the attitude of the women there. And he could not go back to Yugoslavia because of the war. He said that living in an Anglo Saxon country was " boring".
I think generally, the biggest culture shock that people experience in the US is not between their country and the US but between what they thought the US would be and what it actually is. Books and movies about America make the place appear very free and exciting and happening and the people are so interesting and emotional. There is sex and fun and romance going on. When they arrive, the place looks very conservative and the people appear robotic and quiet. Sex is subdued and hard to come by. The people are not open at all, they look closed and mistrustful. Everybody is just working and looking tired and apathetic. Talking to strangers is taboo. There are thousands of little rules and laws and social mores that seem as dogmatic and strict as those in a Muslim society. And every time you are at risk of breaking yet another law and facing very dire consequences. That is the biggest culture shock of all.
So he did what I did- got a degree in TESL and then went to the Middle East and then to Indonesia. He is quite good looking, in his 30ies, Arnold Schwartzenegger look alike. He said he loved it there. The people treated him super nice, no discrimination, he dated many many women, and absolutely fit into their society. Eventually he ended up marrying a gorgeous Indonesian girl and now he has a kid and is living in Chicago ( nominally) but he is still trying to figure out where to live. He is now fluent in Indonesian and that is the language that he speaks to his wife. It was strange for me to watch him just carry on on the phone for an hour and a half. But then my turn came and I called the Philippines and he was watching me carry on in Tagalog.
Then when I was in the Philippines, I also realized I was not alone there. There were guys who were from Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, etc. They all held US or Canadian passports but after having lived in the US and not being able to go back to their countries because of wars ( and having been used to living in countries of beautiful women) they ended up in the Cebu and Manila.
I also met two guys from Ukraine in Manila who were hanging out with some girls. It was so strange hearing a Filipina call out to that guy- "Alexey! Alexey!". In the Middle of Manila.
Just interesting to know that you are never alone even if you think you are. There are always going to be people, albeit not many , who will be following parallel paths. So, no matter what unusual path you think you may be taking, when you get there, there will be people very similar to you hanging out there.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
That paragraph nails it Ladislav. I will quote it in my next ebook update and add it to my page of quotes from foreigners/immigrants.
I wrote something similar recently here:
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.
Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!
"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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