Friday, April 14, 2006

Itching for Eestimaa: A Bit About Expatriatism

As a rule, I don't have much to do with expatriates here. This is not because I have anything against being an expatriate--I could become one myself, or even be considered to be one at the moment. It's more a matter of, on the one hand, feeling that I have more than enough Americans to talk to without meeting any more (how am I supposed to have emotional energy to spare for my Czech friends if it is all spent on Americans?) and on the other hand getting the impression that the larger Prague expatriate culture is not exactly what I need anyway. I didn't expect to meet so many interesting people through Fulbright, so I already speak more English here than I ever intended.
But anyone who lives in a foreign country by choice has to contemplate what that means on a personal level, and the other day Jesse ran across a blog post that explores this in a most interesting way. Itching for Eestimaa: A Bit About Expatriatism ponders the expatriate life and especially the author's experiences in Estonia (which is better than reading about it in Prague anyway, I should think).
As Dawn remarked yesterday when we met for tea, with things going the way they are in the United States these days, staying abroad seems awfully tempting.

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Anonymous Dirk said...

It seems to me that the great novelist of expatriation is by no means Hemingway but Czechoslovakia’s own Kudera. It plays a part in all his books, but for a most thoughtful and poignant treatment look at his recent novel called, in English, Ignorance.

April 18, 2006 12:16 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

I haven't read Ignorance, but it seems to me that Kundera writes more as an exile than an expatriate.

April 19, 2006 10:04 PM  

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