So very many excerpts I could quote here from this beautifully crafted essay on the dilemma of the modern expat. But one that particularly stuck out to me was the following: “But if life back “home” isn’t the life you want to live, then there is no reason to stay put. The expatriate experience, although rife with existential crises and constant second-guessing, is often the only way that certain people can find true happiness. Not everyone was born in the place they want to forever live and some were not even born in the same country.To know yourself, to know that deep down you must make the move is a serious but terrifically mature decision.”
In the summer of 1951 an expatriate from New Jersey opened Le Mistral in Paris, a bookstore he named after his first French girlfriend. From the very first night 38-year-old George Whitman allowed writers, poets, artists, and bohemian travellers to sleep in his shop on a series of mattresses and towels that he’d arranged on the top floor. Slices of moonlight appeared on the ramshackle floors and the Notre Dame cast a sparkle onto the Seine just outside.
Perhaps now the most famous literary destination in France, Shakespeare & Co. – a name given to Whitman by Sylvia Beach – embodies the expatriate experience, not just as a literary pilgrimage but as a place for Anglophones to meet with one another in a city where they are accustomed to being met as foreigners. For the expatriate, life can get quite lonely. The expatriate desires camaraderie, time with people who are…
View original post 1,634 more words