Once I was interviewed for a book about expatriates in Mexico. In the end, the editor indicated a chapter had to be cut out to limit the length of it all, and… guess what? That meant my story. My take on it is that mine was chosen because I was not your “normal” expat compared to the others included, not a retiree who had chosen to live in Mexico instead of the U.S. or Canada, for example. Besides, my husband is Mexican.
That’s about when it occurred to me that for much of my life I’ve been an expat by default, not so much by a conscious decision to live in a country, but due to my connection to other people.
Growing up in Central America was the result of my Dad’s choosing to work there. Marrying a Mexican in Mexico meant, for me at least, taking for granted that we would live here, where he had a small business and would not have to start out from scratch in a foreign language.
Living here by default means that I never really had to take inventory of the pros and cons of living in one country or another. I took Mexico with its pluses and its blemishes, which were mostly familiar to me after studying and working here. Then again, I had spent so little time living in Canada that when people ask “Do you miss Canada?”, it’s hard to say that I do. Of course one misses family, but I also grew up far from all our relatives, knowing that in the summer we’d see at least some of them.
As a Christian, I realize that I am also an expat by default, of sorts. Scripture says we are citizens of a higher realm, who will never feel completely at home until we are there with our heavenly Father. In reality, I did not choose to follow Christ; he chose me and when the time was ripe, I responded. I’m a pilgrim here, not fully attached to one culture or another, but feeling a special connection with others who share the same “citizenship”, no matter what their background.
Fellow pilgrims, let’s make the most of whatever world we live in, and never get too comfortable with where we are, for our true home is around the corner!