Oh! The places you could go for your next expat posting!

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. 

A rainbow of choices for your next expat assignment! expatlingo.com

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!

23 responses to “Oh! The places you could go for your next expat posting!

  1. So, ok, first of all it’s not true that Singapore is sterile. Just the other day, my son found a stick in a garden bed and no sooner had he looked at it than *several random strangers* warned him about how dirty it was. So – not sterile.

    I kind of want to know which Indonesian city you’re talking about, I mean not so I can flock there for sex and gambling (can one person even constitute a “flock”?) but just… out of curiosity I guess. No seriously – curiosity.

    I read somewhere that it takes about 2-3yrs for the human brain to re-wire itself in response to a new environment. Most people find that process stressful but apparently some find it so addictive that they start hankering after it as soon as their neurones get untangled?

    • Truthfully, Hong Kong expats probably give Singapore a bad wrap because we’re slightly jealous of your air quality (that is when the jungle in Indonesia isn’t being burnt down).

      Speaking of Indonesia (and knowing I’ll probably offend someone who thinks it’s a wonderful place), the island city I’ve grossly exaggerated is Batam.

      I think my body used to like the challenge of getting to know a new place. I’ve hit the fatigue level and would rather just stay where I am for awhile.

  2. Sorry dat ik geen Nederlands spreekt (Sorry I don’t speak Dutch). The better translation would have been ‘Sorry I does not speak Dutch’, to show your Dutch is almost perfect, but not there yet.

  3. I am in that phase since a few years but it takes longer to move when you are an embedded expat. I hesitate between the US and southern-east Asia. Hope to take a decision before the end of 2014! So, where would you like to go?

    • If only it were all up to me personally! Now that’s something to fantasize about: where to move if we could more anywhere in the world! Maybe a topic for a future post. If the US (which does sound attractive depending on the week and how much I miss my friends and family), I’d prefer to go back to Seattle. But Asia, including parts of China, also remains very interesting to me. Right now much hinges greatly on my husband’s company (well either that, or a new job).

  4. I’ll take Holland or Singapore with US, then Brazil, avoiding China unless it is the last place on earth. (I actually would consider freelance rather than working in China.)

    Holland offers you direct flights back home 🙂 You’ll find German fairly useful in holland also…

    personally, I would try having not so much stuff if I commit to the life of expat. Advice given to me by collegues on the road “just live out of your carry-ons.” and checked baggage if you stationed somewhat permanently elsewhere.

    • Ultimately hard to live out of carry-on’s with two small children in tow! We move around with a lot of stuff… As for the where. Let us see. My vote is for staying right here in Hong Kong a bit longer.

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