Imagine it: You’re an expat who has been living in your current location for just about two years. For serial expats, that duration signals the beginning of the ‘where next?’ chit-chat.
You are asked to consider any given option “with an open mind.” (Read: “think about it long enough to come up with something to like about it.”)
I present you with a series of international transfer “sales pitches.” These options are based on grossly exaggerated versions of places that have surfaced for us at one time or another.
“Brazil, where stars were entertaining June, we stood beneath the amber moon…“ Do you like samba? Let me tell you about a great posting in Brazil: green, romantically tropical, lots of local color. The specific location is five hours by bus from the nearest international airport, but this inconvenience is made up for by the city’s famous UFO incident which is commemorated by a flying saucer-shaped water tower in the town square. Think how quickly your children will learn the Portuguese words for alien (alienígena), spacemen (homens do espaço) and government conspiracy (conspiração do governo)!
The funny thing about China is that you’ll think it’s impossible to breathe, but how can 1.3 billion people be wrong? We know that you like mainland China because you extended your last posting there twice. And your children, they must love pandas. Well, I see a place for you in a city of 14 million people deep in China’s interior. You know your blog? Ha! I had a big laugh looking at the Bruce Lee Air Quality Index last week. You’ll get a kick out of the fact that this city’s winter air quality is always at the absolute worst — “What air?” — level on your Bruce Lee AQI! It’s also funny that your blog is censored there.
Holland is so charming! You’ll be riding bikes everywhere and running through tulip fields in wooden clogs. The location of this posting is in the ass-end of the Netherlands in a once charming town that was bombed to nothing during WWII. The sterile post-war glass and brick architecture is still two decades shy of being retro-cool. With your blonde hair and Dutch ancestry, the phrase, Sorry dat ik geen Nederlands spreekt (Sorry I does not [sic] speak Dutch), will soon fluently slip off your tongue!
Don’t worry, we won’t ask you to move to ‘sterile-Singapore.’ But there is an Indonesian city across the strait from Singapore that might be gritty enough to suit you! Tropical feeling, laid-back, over-abundant offers of cheap sex and lots of illicit gambling! In the case of medical emergencies we’ll get you on the first speed boat back to Singapore. Probably.
An American homecoming (of-sorts)! You have talked about returning to America at some point so that your kids can learn about baseball, hamburgers and the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Well, there is a position in a faith-filled, gun-culture-rich, mid-tier city on the opposite side of America from where all your friends and family live. You’ll save time every Election Day because you needn’t bother voting as the candidates you support would only ever win if hell freezes over!