Where are you coming from?

chuttersnap-176806-unsplash

Where are you coming from?

About the question:
Where are you coming from?

Where are you coming from is one of the tricky questions when you are living abroad. There is never a short answer to our story which can be annoying sometimes but most of all its a luxury that makes me happy. I found that Americans have always a funny response to my story of where I am coming from. 

AMERICAN CULTURE: WHAT ARE YOUR ROOTS?

Recently, I discovered something amusing about the way Americans introduce themselves to me. 
When talking with Americans, I often hear them saying “Oh, I am also German/Italian/Dutch…”

An example of this small talk is:
American: Oh, I am also from Germany!
Me: Oh great, which city are you from?
American: Oh actually, I was never in Germany. However, my ancestors are from Germany.
Me: Interesting, do you also speak German?
American: No, but my grandparents came here from Germany, and they still can speak the language. I never learned about it, unfortunately.
Me: Have you been to Germany yet?
American: No, I have not left the US yet, but I was always saying that I want to visit Europe one day…

Let's connect on Social Media

Want some good vibes in your mail?

That’ the way many small talks go and I find it so interesting that the American culture likes to identify themselves with a culture they never actually experienced. The concept of claiming a culture as a nationality without having some knowledge of it is a bit irritating to me. However, at the same time, it goes back to those invisible borders we created in order to shape our very own culture. That triggers the question in me: How much can you grow into another culture by learning about it and living in a similar way? Learning the language and identifying with local values and communication can be a step to adapt to a foreign nationality. Especially coming from Germany, this is an ongoing topic with foreigners coming to live in our country. The public opinion and expectation are that families who want to live in Germany should learn the language in order to become a part of our society and not be left out. So, when you learned the language and become familiar with the culture, what kind of nationality do you have when you moved abroad and started a family with no plans on coming back?

The German words “Heimat” and “zu Hause” translate both to the English word “home”. While “Heimat” for me the country that I am coming from, where I spent my childhood, “zu Hause” is more the country I am living in right now. In my case, Germany is my “Heimat” and the US is my “zu Hause”.

I wonder whether we as global citizens will always be somehow in between or if one nationality will fade out with the time spent in another country.

Would love to hear your thoughts on that and your story. Please share in the comments below. 

Thanks for sharing the love and stopping by

Kate from Share the Love, expat, expat wife, expat life

Share this article with a friend and share the love:

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on xing
Share on email

You also might like:

chicago

Why I chose not to work and what I do instead – an interview with an Expat Spouse

Many expat partners ask themselves what to do with their life after moving abroad – especially when the “society-approved”, traditional corporate job or raising children is not a scenario. We often forget that there is a different path we can go: Not working, investing all the time and energy into ourselves, and be happy as hell. I am thrilled that Simone, who is actually also one of my coaching clients, is open to sharing her story and her personal approach in a blog post with us. Simone is a huge inspiration for me, and I bet you will be inspired after reading her reasoning behind her choice as well. Enjoy getting to know Simone and her creative, bold, confident, and clever approach to spending her time abroad.

Read More »

What are you aiming for in your career?

What are you striving for in your career? What was your original motivation when applying for your first job, and what has changed along the way? Naturally, we are more fulfilled and successful when we are striving for something professionally that is also aligned with who we are as a person. If you are thinking about a career change or you are unsure where to head next to now is the time to check your motivation. In this blog post, I want to introduce you to the concept of career anchors and how that simple test can be a helpful guide to you for your personal career planning.

Read More »
katharinavonknobloch, expat coach, sharethelove

The aimless & spoilt expat spouse – an opinion piece

A couple of days ago, I stumbled across yet another media coverage about expat spouses and the fact that those well-educated women are throwing away their career ambitions to follow their husband abroad. Interestingly enough, the comments below the post have been even more prejudiced than the article itself. I wonder why it is so hard to change the image of the expat spouse and what we can do to become recognized as what we are: amazing, brave, solution-oriented globe trotters with a lot of understanding for global issues?

Read More »
expat, world, privilege, responsibility

Do we have an obligation as expats?

Reflecting on my experience at the Families in Global Transition Conference in Bangkok a couple of weeks ago, there is one sentence that is imprinted in my head: “We are equipped – more than others – to make a change.”
I keep wondering: Is that true? Are we in a privileged situation that should trigger us to act?

Read More »

HOW TO GAIN THE CONFIDENCE TO BECOME A PUBLIC SPEAKER​

Moving abroad can have an impact on your confidence. Especially if you have trouble in getting back into a routine or in some work right from the beginning. In this article, I want to introduce you to Khethiwe, a confidence coach located in South Africa. I interviewed her about her approach to start a couple of portable businesses, her advice for expat partners, and how to regain confidence after moving abroad. She shared her experience with being a public speaker and a coach. If you are interested in getting started in that field, stay tuned for her tips!

Read More »


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *