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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
... should we make a distinction?

It seems, lately, there are many queries & comments about things like visas and being "isolated" - mostly, sorry to say, from our US cousins (yeah, OK, we Brits don't need visas).

IS there a difference between we Europeans who migrate freely around Europe and who have had opportunity for exposure to different cultures and languages, and those from across The Pond?

Is it seated in history, or just opportunity for exposure? Is it about we, Europeans, feeling not too far from "home" so we cope, whilst our NA cousins are displaced by many thousands of costly miles?

Is it about national arrogance? Is it about not doing your homework? Is it about attitude?

fyi: for me, an expat is someone who "visits" for an extended period, with no intention of dying in situ; an immigrant is someone who effectively burns their bridges and is committed to where they choose to settle, with all that that entails. Is that definition flawed?

hils

PS - sorry, I don't mean to exclude non-US/non-Brit from this theme, it's just that you are fewer in number, I think.
 

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Yes, interesting point, first raised by Lucky Lucy in the "stages" thread.

I first met the term "ex pat" in connection with overseas assignments, so there was a return date and usually "trailing spouse". Certainly in my international company experience (IBM, DEC etc) assignments were fixed term,although some people went "native" at the end of the assignment.

From what I read in posts in this forum most of us are "immigrants" through choice rather than expats with a return date. ....and yes immigrant does have social, political, socio-political, politico-social problems, let alone stereotypes!

So , Dear Bev the Mod, should we rename this forum - the immigrants forum?

DejW - immigrant in the Pyrénées Orientales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, interesting point, first raised by Lucky Lucy in the "stages" thread.

...
So , Dear Bev the Mod, should we rename this forum - the immigrants forum?

DejW - immigrant in the Pyrénées Orientales.
Yes, it was provoked by that comment, but it has been raised in the past by, I think Baldi and Maple.

But, DOES it make a difference? And are Europeans more accepting of differences, having made the choice to jump ship, as it were?

I suppose what this question is about is whether there is a fundamental difference in the psyche of our NA cousins and we Euros when it comes to migrating.

Interesting would be Rynd2it's view, considering he was a Brit, then in US (taking citizenship), then in France, & now in the land of the sheep ;) Although I'm sure he's not alone in being such a nomad.

h
 
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Honestly, I think distance has a lot to do with it. France to the UK is not very far and, with budget airlines, not very expensive... Whereas home feels that much farther away for people from North America who haven't yet reached the stage where France feels like home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Honestly, I think distance has a lot to do with it. France to the UK is not very far and, with budget airlines, not very expensive... Whereas home feels that much farther away for people from North America who haven't yet reached the stage where France feels like home.
Yes, I do think that has something - although not all - to do with it.

When I was considering emigrating from the UK, I seriously thought about Quebec. But, I had living aging parents at that time, and I knew I'd've been "twitchy" about being so far away and couldn't therefore have settled 100%. (Actually the time difference involved between getting back from Quebec and getting back from here is pretty negligible, but there was a huge cost implication.) Aside from that, I do think I could've made Canada/Quebec my home - IF they'd've had me ....

h
 

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I've thought about this ex-pat / immigrant choice. I've come to the conclusion that it's a namby pamby way of differentiating social class and wealth.

Expats - either working with a known return date, or people who "retire" to France bringing with them the means of self support - that is to say "money".

Immigrant - poor people who arrive only with the clothes on their back and are looking for a job and money - or in some cases simply food.

Perhaps not very politically correct? But correct nonetheless?

For those of you who know Maslow's pyramid of needs an interesting example. immigrants are on the bottom layer, retirees are at or near the top?

DejW
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've thought about this ex-pat / immigrant choice. I've come to the conclusion that it's a namby pamby way of differentiating social class and wealth.

Expats - either working with a known return date, or people who "retire" to France bringing with them the means of self support - that is to say "money".

Immigrant - poor people who arrive only with the clothes on their back and are looking for a job and money - or in some cases simply food.

Perhaps not very politically correct? But correct nonetheless?

For those of you who know Maslow's pyramid of needs an interesting example. immigrants are on the bottom layer, retirees are at or near the top?

DejW
Cute observation, Dej, but accurate, I think. Nevertheless, made me laugh. Thanks x
 

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I tend to agree with Dej, and even have some "historic" evidence to support this. I've sort of already mentioned some of this in the other thread, but will restate here:

The term "immigrant" has taken on some unfortunate connotations, both in English (at least in American English) and in French. As I mentioned on the other thread, early on (in the midst of the St. Bernard's hunger strike in about 1995 or so) I was told NEVER to refer to myself as an "immigré" here in France. The term usually refers to illegals (of which I was one for almost two years, I might add) and implies, as Hils rightly suspects, the lower economic classes.

Expat, on the other hand, is the term preferred in the US for those US citizens who have chosen to make anywhere other than the US their home. This term comes complete with the connotations of being company-sponsored executives, swilling champagne and caviar and thus available to remit lots of taxes back to the IRS coffers so that the NSA can continue to spy on us and our neighbors - or whatever it is they are doing these days. (Collecting our "metadata" I think they call it...)

I'll spare you the rant about the US system of insisting on holding "expat" citizens responsible for paying US taxes - but see the Expat tax section here in the forum if you want some idea of the issue. I suppose the tax people in the US couldn't refer to us as "immigrants" though I suppose they could call us "emigrants" but that sort of fine distinction is lost on what one accountant friend of mine refers to as "Congresscritters" - and before I get any more political, I think I'd better end this. (Just kidding, any of you NSA folks collecting data here on the forum!)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Since my name has been mentioned here's my dos/deux centimos-worth:

The official term ex-pat or ex-patriate is used to refer to people who are away from their normal country of residence but having an intention of returning, i.e. they are temporarily resident in a different country. Immigrants (as has been pointed out, this out of the mouths of some people is used in a disparaging way) are people who have moved to another country with the intention of staying permanently and apart from having members of their family elsewhere have few, if any, ties with their previous country of residence (i.e. they have burnt their bridges).

The major difference is the immigrant will try to integrate, learn the language and try to contribute to the society/community of which he/she is now a part.. The expat, on the other hand, is frequently to be heard hankering for "back-home" where everything was/is so much better. Fortunately the latter group often do not last long before either moving on or back home.

I am an immigrant to Spain.
 

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I've thought about this ex-pat / immigrant choice. I've come to the conclusion that it's a namby pamby way of differentiating social class and wealth. Expats - either working with a known return date, or people who "retire" to France bringing with them the means of self support - that is to say "money". Immigrant - poor people who arrive only with the clothes on their back and are looking for a job and money - or in some cases simply food. Perhaps not very politically correct? But correct nonetheless? For those of you who know Maslow's pyramid of needs an interesting example. immigrants are on the bottom layer, retirees are at or near the top? DejW
Well said DejW. You have it in one. I am not an immigrant and I do not have the need or desire to live in a pyramid. I am a retiree and can afford to live in France without any let or hinderance on the French government, therefore I am content to live here in this country and you never hear me whinging, complaining, bellyaching, dissing anything at all to do with taxes, lack of handouts, prices of anything in France, the people , their customs and everything else that these forums are full of.

Our retirement was totally based on what we could afford, with the financial stream available to me at the time of that life changing time. Ten years on, I am still here with money in the banks in France and UK. Never had to work in France. Never claimed a sou in France or a penny in UK. Long may it continue.

It just strikes me , as usual in life, the whingers are those that make huge life changing decisions on a "wing and a prayer", after watching a television programme about La Belle Vie" etc. or because someone they know has moved here and they follow like blind cave fish. When the going gets tough, they whinge.

I do accept that things can take a "downturn" in life, unforseen circumstances etc., but surely, you build these factors into your financial plans when moving from one country to another.

Its a bit like buying a Rolls Royce. If you have to ask the price, then you cannot afford it.

Fletch.
 

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I do think we have a tendency to come down pretty hard on the whingers here. While some of you have done your homework and made plans to come to France, others arrive here by a somewhat more "spontaneous" or even "accidental" route. It simply isn't always possible to plan out all your major life moves (or even decisions).

There is a huge difference between moving to France (or anywhere else) with your spouse (or life partner) from your own culture, and coming to France "for love" - i.e. to join a French partner. In addition to the usual adjustments you make to marry or shack up with another person under normal circumstances, adjusting to a "bi-cultural" situation adds a few layers of complication.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Both Bev and Fletch, you have really covered everything. I always advocate research, research, research. So many seem to just move "on a notion" or "on a whim".

I started planning in 2001 with a list of half-a-dozen possible countries (based on language, family members, holiday experiences. etc.) which were whittled down to one by 2005/6 when the need to consider where the m-i-l would have to live became more urgent and a decision on which country was made. Where and to which village an which house took until mid 2007. We moved November 2008. Result - pefect, no complaints and it is even better than we had hoped.

BTW my only whinge is about the whingers!
 

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Yes, it was provoked by that comment, but it has been raised in the past by, I think Baldi and Maple.

But, DOES it make a difference? And are Europeans more accepting of differences, having made the choice to jump ship, as it were?

I suppose what this question is about is whether there is a fundamental difference in the psyche of our NA cousins and we Euros when it comes to migrating.

Interesting would be Rynd2it's view, considering he was a Brit, then in US (taking citizenship), then in France, & now in the land of the sheep ;) Although I'm sure he's not alone in being such a nomad.

h
Happy to oblige ;)

I think the biggest difference, with all due respect to my fellow Americans, is that America tends to be a very inward looking place, almost parochial in some respects. The average news program on TV, newspapers (other than a couple of major ones) rarely report much of anything happening outside the US borders unless it directly impacts on American people or places. Most TV programming is very much like watching the regional channels in the UK.

Because of this, their exposure to the fact that things are done differently, and the values differ elsewhere is limited consequently when they discover something "new" or "strange" or "different they tend to comment on it more than a European would.

However I will totally agree that Europeans have no idea of how to install simple functioning plumbing. Gravity fed hot water supplies, showers smaller than a phone booth, showers that barely drip water, toilets that don't flush properly and a general lack of hygene are symptomatic of Europe. Long ago I used to wonder why American tourists complained about European plumbing - not any more, now I know how it should be done. And France is very advanced compared with some other places I have been :D

Cheers
 

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Have seen it said on many occasions that the US is the world's largest island nation. I concur with Rynd2it's comments - cause when I'm visiting back there, I feel like I'm missing out on news from Europe and elsewhere around the world.

There is also something about the American notion of "equality" and maybe even political correctness. I remember my first time in Europe, I thought I was pretty "sophisticated" because I knew I shouldn't expect things to be "quaint" and "European." Everyone knows (at least in the US) that people are basically the same the world around and ultimately all the tourist stuff is merely marketing to appeal to the tourists.

I was really surprised to find actual thatched roofs in parts of the UK, and amazed to find things like small (horribly efficient) water heaters connected directly to the appliance they served (like, a water heater for the bath tub, and another separate one for the kitchen sink). Guess what, people aren't "the same" everywhere - they have different attitudes toward things and different reasons for many of their core beliefs, which is why they have different core beliefs in the first place.

Maybe it was just the era I grew up in in the States, but I think there was way too much emphasis on "everyone is basically the same" and not nearly enough interest in the differences that make people and cultures interesting.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I was really surprised to find actual thatched roofs in parts of the UK Bev
I lived under one of those for nearly nine years and had the entire thing taken off, timbers replaced and rethatched in Norfolk reed. The thatcher reckoned the roof had never been off since new (about 3 - 400 years) as most of the laths had turned to dust. The straw was over 3 feet thick in places compensating for the sagging timbers - major work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Happy to oblige ;)

However I will totally agree that Europeans have no idea of how to install simple functioning plumbing. Gravity fed hot water supplies, showers smaller than a phone booth, showers that barely drip water, toilets that don't flush properly and a general lack of hygene are symptomatic of Europe. Long ago I used to wonder why American tourists complained about European plumbing - not any more, now I know how it should be done. And France is very advanced compared with some other places I have been :D

Cheers
Ouch, David! How different IS US plumbing?

btw, none of my hot water is gravity-fed; my showers are minimum 160 x 90 (and jetted) with force which means you don't need to exfoliate!, and all 5 of my loos flush entirely properly! k - wasn't the case in the UK; had to put pumps in everywhere to get any kind of water pressure anywhere - or even water to most places ... Yes, alright, there are still built-on "sheds" on some buildings here with plumbing that even Heath Robinson couldn't've dreamt up, but that's 'cos most people try to plumb spring water everywhere with back-up from the mains ... and yes, it's destination on egress is somewhat iffy ... But that's also 'cos people are trying to retrofit "modern" conveniences to centuries-old buildings, which just isn't the case in the US. ('s a bit like how Germany benefitted grossly from being razed in the '40s so could rebuild - at our expense - new, whereas the rest of Europe was trying to modify existing stuff.) How does Wales compare?

h ;)

PS thanks for your contrib. - sorry to ask of you; I know Bev has been a nomad too, but I suspect she's a tad more biased than you are ;) Soz Bev, xxx
 

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My experience of US plumbing left much to be desired. They use those useless French style rubber flapper valves at the base of the cistern so it only need a little bit of grit and the cistern is running (and of course, filling) 24/7 which doesn't do the water bills a lot of good. At least in the UK they have syphonic valves that DO shut off the flow.

For hot water it was a huge tank ( 24" diameter standing 6ft high = 254 US gallons) with an immersion heater that one could only control by on or off (not even a time-switch) so you were either trying to keep millions of gallons of water hot all day or having to be on hand to keep turning the immersion heater on and off. They didn't seem to have heard of gas powered instantaneous multipoint hot water heaters, or even electric power showers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
My experience of US plumbing left much to be desired. They use those useless French style rubber flapper valves at the base of the cistern so it only need a little bit of grit and the cistern is running (and of course, filling) 24/7 which doesn't do the water bills a lot of good. At least in the UK they have syphonic valves that DO shut off the flow.

For hot water it was a huge tank ( 24" diameter standing 6ft high = 254 US gallons) with an immersion heater that one could only control by on or off (not even a time-switch) so you were either trying to keep millions of gallons of water hot all day or having to be on hand to keep turning the immersion heater on and off. They didn't seem to have heard of gas powered instantaneous multipoint hot water heaters, or even electric power showers.
Yes, but the US has been exploiting and denuding the world's resources willy-nilly for as long as they've had privilege to do so - so what matter heating water unnecessarily, etc.? Why bother making enough money to look into conserving resources, when exploiting what exists returns enough profit already, and is sold at ridiculously low rates (AFAIK) compared to the rest of the world? And seriously looking after people who can't look after themselves - no, no, no - that's not on the agenda at all - not whilst there's a whole six-and-a-half other continents to destroy, after all, they're only there for the entertainment of "God's Chosen" - survival of the fittest an' all that, you know, ol' chap.

h

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
.... and before I get banned for racism or something, that WAS tongue-in-cheek - or, as someone on another thread mentioned, playing Devil's Advocate.
 

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Baldi, the other big factor with the wasteful set up of American hot water tanks is that all appliances that use hot water draw from the hot water tank - dishwasher, washing machine and whatever else they've invented since I last lived there.

Back in the era of smaller water tanks, you had to be careful not to try to bathe or take a shower just after Mom had run the laundry or you might run out of hot water for your needs. Plus, I don't recall ever having heures creuses in the States to encourage one to defer electrical usage until the wee hours, so everyone just keeps their big hot water tank piping hot all the time just in case of need.

It all seems so wasteful now - but honestly we never thought twice about it back in the day. And then just look at the size of the clothes washers nowadays back there! No way I could fit one of those things into my house, much less into the little laundry room - it wouldn't get in through any door in my house here in France!

And don't get me started on how many places in the US ban hanging your clothes outside to dry! Even on your own property.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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