Your 'Ed' Is an Expatriate

photo: cafe le camelia

Night descends, the cafés on the quays light up.

Not 'Ex-Pat' - Warum und Wieso

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 29. November 1999:- An email during the week caused me to think of the definition of 'expatriate.' A lot of people use this term loosely; usually to mean anybody who resides outside their country of origin. These are commonly called 'ex-pats.'

However, the vast majority of people who do reside in countries other than where they have their main address, are migrant workers and their families - and have no intention of settling permanently in countries where they are temporarily posted.

Although the dictionary allows migrant workers to call themselves 'ex-pats,' it has two other majorphoto: metro exit, arc de triomphe definitions. True 'expatriates' do it to themselves and usually for personal reasons. Migrant workers go where they agree to be sent for professional reasons and usually for a fixed length of time.

The first view of the Arc de Triomphe for many visitors.

'Migrant workers' is not a derogatory term but the common use of 'ex-pat' as a synonym does have a derogatory air to it. It sometimes refers to people who don't bother to try to 'fit in' to the life of their temporary residence, usually because they are on a transitory but fixed-length term.

True expatriates are totally different fish. The first thing you should know about them is that there are not as many in France as you would think.

The greatest number of expatriates in France are probably Algerians and other North Africans, mainly from Tunisia and Morocco.

The big number of Americans who used to reside in Paris left it in the fall of 1929. The large number of US troops in France after the war were not expatriates, but a form of 'migrant workers.' They didn't come to stay and went home as soon as they could.

The US State Department claims that 75,000 American citizens reside in the Paris area. The vast majority of these are migrant workers and their families - with, andphoto: hot dog, champs elysees gardens this is my 'wild' guess - no more than five percent of them being expatriates. This could be about 3700.

Parisian version of fast-food take-out kiosk.

How have I arrived at my 'guess?' If I do not go to embassy functions, do not work for a US-based firm, do not belong any US educational or scientific or social organization or work for any other international organization - if I do not shop for groceries imported from the US, do not eat at places claiming to be American, do not hang out in bookstores with a lot of imported titles - if I do none of these; I am not going to run into many Americans who are 'migrant workers' - who may number 71,300 in all.

However, since moving into Paris from the suburbs in July, I have met some expatriates; not all of whom are Americans.

The grand total, all nationalities combined, is about ten. Five of these, I knew before I moved into Paris.

One reason for this is that expatriates, by their very nature, do not belong to the same clubs - unless you can call Paris a club.

Now I know that 'migrant workers' may not want to be known as 'migrant workers' even if it is the closest definition to what they are.

On the other hand I do not want to known as an 'ex-pat' because I am not a 'migrant worker.' I am a bona-fide expatriate.

I do not know how this came about or why. Thephoto: bull's head, r hospitalieres st gervais last time I came to Europe, just over 30 years ago, I came one-way because it was cheaper than a round-trip ticket.

Although I definitely intended to stay for an undefined length of time, I didn't think very much one way or the other about 'how long' I would be staying. Not having a round-trip ticket means nothing because it is the easiest thing in the world to get a one-way ticket back.

My feeling now is, if I returned to where I came from so long ago, I would be an expatriate from France, from Europe.

Rétromobile 2000 Repeat

If you wish to exhibit at the coming Rétromobile 2000, here are the telephone and fax numbers of the people who organize this exhibition: from outside France telephone 33 1 48 44 30 30; the fax number is 33 1 48 44 15 15. These numbers were confirmed late last week and were found to be operating as normally as anything at Rétromobile.

I am including this information here because 'Rétromobile' is not on the Web and has no email. When asked why not, they said, 'Because we are Rétro.' The dates for the comingphoto: pont alexandre III edition of Rétromobile 2000 are from Friday, 11. February to Sunday, 20. February 2000. At Paris-Expo.

View of the Pont Alexandre III.

Judging from enquiries that have found their way here, this 2000 edition of Rétromobile is going to be one too good to miss. Its February date means that the weather may be less than winter, but we'll have to wait and see.

Metropole's 'Scene' Column Re-Bop

Last week I spent a long time re-coding the 'Scene' column to make it more user-friendly. This took so much time I had none left to put new items in it.

This week, I took so much time putting new items in it and trying to straighten it out - to keep it under 7000 words - that I'd like to push the whole thing into a convenient bottomless pit.

It isn't 'under 7000 words' for one thing. I am gong to have the re-think this thing again. Any suggestions you have will be welcome.

Café Metropole Club 7th Session Rehash

The 6th weekly meeting of the 'Café Metropole Club' ran off pretty successfully, without much to eat or drink last Thursday. Read all about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page. The coming 'Club' meeting is on an ordinary, which is not a holiday in Paris so the meeting will be held as usual.

Ad Nauseam New Web Address Suspended

This note has gone on far too long. If you are reading this and don't know what Metropole's new Web URL is, I don't see why you need to know it if you are already here.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 3.48 - 30. November 1998 - The Café Metropole column was titled - 'France Plans 'Green Line.' 'Au Bistro' had 'What Is 'Smoked' Chicken?' This issue had only one feature, entitled 'Chapeau, Saskia!' The issue also had 'Metropole's Pre-Christmascount down Eiffel Tower Program III - Xmas '98.' The week's 'Scene' column headline was 'The 'Foire Saint-Nicolas.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Elves On Strike.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 2.48 - 1 December 1997 - The Café Metropole column had the daffy title of - 'We Think Singing in the Métro is Fun.' The 'Au Bistro' column was entitled 'Barbara - Another Funeral in Paris.' This issue had three features, titled 'Free Grapes Galore at Champerret,' 'Looking Around at Food, Sort Of - In the rue Lepic' and 'Alfa Wins Euro Car of the Year Award.' Two 'Posters of the Week' doubled to four and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Keep Pouring.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 33! more mostly cloudy, damp and very cold, spottily snowy, and occasionally rainy Paris and Ile-de-France autumn days to go until the really big year-end party bursts upon us.
signature, regards, ric

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