Being foreign.


So, July is almost half-way through and I haven’t written anything. But, I have been thinking about how it feels to be foreign to something. It doesn’t matter what you think about here, e.g. a country, a culture, kind of animal or plant, relationship, landscape, a language, kind of music or food, way of thinking, concept of dealing with money, laws, etc.

There are so many things in which we can be new to something. Yet, we humans try to get to know everything that is in close proximity to our life’s focal point and once we have a certain familiarity level reached, we stop exploring what is there and feel “satisfaction”. What is it with that?

Very soon after my return to Germany, I decided to tackle my personal dissatisfaction with the life I live here by going abroad again. This time, I figured, I would do it all right and plan ahead, find a job somewhere, a house, insurance, a car, etc. and then move. I don’t mean that in the past I have done it all wrong, I just wanna do it all right this time. Not to mention that I have a baby on board this time which makes it even more important to figure most technical details out before I go.

But let’s get back on topic here: why do I want to go? I have been asked by a number of people now (preferable those who spend two weeks vacation time abroad every year, but have never lived abroad) what makes me so eager to leave this country again when I have just returned. Here is what I think is the answer:

For starters, I have not been eager to live here in the first place and if some things would have gone differently last year, I would still be living in the “holy land” (Mansfield, PA, that is, haha) with Lily and be happy.

But what is more important and what I have come to discover to be real reason for my being drawn to foreign lands is that I love to be a foreigner. It is that easy. I love the feeling of not knowing exactly what to expect, how people react to my personality and my way of thinking, finding out new things about all those things listed above and getting to know them. It is really fascinating to me having to figure out something I don’t know about. I just love that kind of life. Other people who are like me travel the world by bike, go into the jungle to discover new plant species, or in past time, have traveled cross-country in the then Wild West . I don’t meant to put myself at the same level at those people. I am certainly no explorer. But I am pretty sure that these people have about the same feeling about what they do that I have when I go abroad.

Now, what I have been thinking about the past week or so, is how it is that I am like this. Surely, there are many people of my kind in this world, some I have had the chance to get to know in the past years. But not all people are like me, that is for sure. I don’t know a lot here in Germany, that is even more sure. Here is what I have come up with: I am an explorer by type.

Helen Fisher, a world known biological anthropologist (need I say that I rocked in all of my Anthropology classes in college), has divided all of humanity into four types of personality. Despite the fact that she uses these types to explain relationship behavior and (non-)success with them, I like to say that my type – namely, explorer – causes me to be able to feel so comfortable in situations that are not familiar to me at all.

Now that the riddle of future traveling and living abroad extravaganza is solved, what does this leave me with? Well, only with the security of knowing that this may be just the way life should be lived – for me.


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