In real life, as most of you know, I am living as a foreigner because my son is not actually foreign in my country or this one….the purpose of the time here, for him, is so that he can become familiar enough with one of his own nations to be able to function like a native – this is way more like being at home than visiting friends. Of course, part of what makes it funny is that it isn’t the same way for me.
Gezka and Kiel both deal with being foreign as well. They are a fictional team, not a married couple and not parent & child – but Kiel is old enough to be Gezka’s father. They are foreign to each other and spend most of the first novel where at least one of them is foreign. When I first came up with them, I had not ever lived in a foreign nation and doing so was not even in my plans. This gives me a feeling I associate with Neil Gaiman who has pointed out that experience does teach writers things, but what is taught and learned is not necessarily anything like what one might have imagined would have been.
This is the 2nd time I have spent living as a foreigner for a while. I’m seeking to find the way that I will ‘fit in’. I’m assuming that part of ‘fitting in’ will include being ‘odd’ or ‘unusual’ and not that I will fit in by blending in nondescriptly.
We all have our ways. Perhaps what frightens me as much as sticking out as radically different is a fear of being an indistinguishable an individual as the local birds. In my neighborhood in real life I have begun to seek to differentiate and recognize individual birds. Cats and dogs and people and trees are much easier….so it’s “Is that just one of the same kind, or can I tell who that one is?”
If they are migratory animals, they may only be here for the growing season…but if so, are they foreign?