Wednesday, 6 April 2011

"Tu Stultus Es"

I got Jack to tell the story today. My brother, and best man. Fulfilling his duties as such, I suppose.

"Oh, I'm visiting him. He's my brother, he's getting married to a girl from here. He lives here," is the basic story, embellished with details of how we met (internet/music festival), how long we've been doing the long distance thing, what my family thinks of it (he is obviously in a more favourable position than most to answer this one), etc, dependent on the level of interest of the person asking where we've come from and what we're doing here, as though we're heirs to the huddled masses of Ellis Island.

The problem is, I can't tell how much is too much detail. Like, when I cross the line from explaining adequately what a strange-accented (i.e. not Cockney or Upper Class Twit) Englishman is doing in their town, eating their food and volunteering with their non-profits, and exhorting myself as having the most fascinating, adventure-filled ex-pat life imaginable. Oh balls, I've gone into that sub-Pynchon, long, rambling sentence thing again. Ah well. If you don't like it, go parse yourself.

I think saying that I moved here to be with my fiancée, who is a Chicagoan, is usually enough. But that almost always raises further questions, which I feel uncomfortable answering partly because I can't escape the fact that the majority of the savings upon which I am living come from my late father's inheritance (oh, not much at all in the grand scheme of things, but enough to keep me in tremendous burgers until I can get a job), and partly because I feel awkward that many of the people I speak to have not been given/ taken/ created the necessary opportunities to move abroad and marry someone awesome.

Or maybe they just don't want to do that. Most people have what they want within basic geographical reach. Most people are comfortable with where they live, or have made their peace with it. I had real trouble writing the past two paragraphs without sounding incredibly arrogant, or naive, or simply like an impatient, restless man-child who ought to grow up and assume responsibility for a sensible, adult life. All of which are probably true. I'm big into pessimism and self-analysis. I take the attitude that if I at least identify and admit to personality flaws, I am excused all but the worst consequences and manifestations of said flaws. It's an egotist's get out of jail free card.

Maybe I'm also uncomfortable because I have never heard anyone else tell this story. I've met people who live in a foreign country with their native spouse, usually people in their forties or older, or who met and married while working in that country for some sort of multi-national corporation, jobs with whom are beyond the skillset of most of the people I know from home or university days. The pains of the literature student. I haven't, however, met anyone in their twenties in my situation, or in the interim between arriving in the country, getting married and being settled and assimilated, to a greater or lesser extent. In this context, assume a midatlantic accent and a boisterous, over-the-top pronunciation of words such as tomato, basil and parmesan somewhere exactly in between British and American pronunciations, apparently just to piss off waiters in Italian restaurants.

This leaves me feeling unique and this is not good for my ego. I need constant reminders that I am just another brick in a square hole, or something. It's a toss-up between feeling like I'm heading a cavalry charge into the glorious unknown, and leading the charge of the Light Brigade. "Follow me! I know the way!" I cry, while my friends hang back, and share anecdotes of how I once got lost in my own museum. That reference was not for Gina, who has only just watched Raiders Of The Lost Ark and still hasn't seen either of the other two Indiana Jones movies (say "there was a fourth movie" again, motherfucker! I dare you! I double dare you!). So there's that.

All this being said, if it's all the same to you, I'm going to drink screwdrivers and do the Onion crossword. Which leads me to ask: did I subconsciously set up this entire situation just to be able to live in a country that gives away free physical copies of The Onion each week?

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