The other day, an American friend came over to my house. He is not a close friend, in fact, I had only met him once previously, but had exchanged a few e-mails with him since meeting in person. He’s a nice guy, I met him at a meeting of foreigners who live in Davao that I attended at the beginning of the month.
One thing came up in our conversation that surprised me. He told me that in his opinion, the label “ex-pat” had to go! He didn’t like it at all. Another word that is used is “ex-patriate”. For me, it just means a person who is living in a country other than his own. My friend, though, felt that it implied that you are no longer loyal to, or have good feelings for the country of your origin.
For me, nothing could be further from the truth. I am proud to be an American, I feel like I am patriotic. I just don’t live there. I have a number of reasons for not living in the USA, but they don’t mean that I don’t love my country. My friend emphasized that he loves his country, and calling him an “ex-pat” implied that he no longer did.
What do you think? Do you feel it’s a slam on you to be called an ex-pat? Would it be different to call you an “ex-patriate?” I’d like to hear more, because the other day was the first time I’ve ever heard of somebody feeling this way.
I do consider this to be parallel to something that bugs me. I don’t like it when I walk downtown and everybody yells at me – “hey, Joe.” It rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. So, in a way, I understand my friend’s problem with being called an “ex-pat,” although that particular phrase has never bothered me.