06/04/2015

E for EXPAT = the A-Z Challenge


EXPATS from all nations settle here in Tenerife.
 Although Don and I have integrated into the local area and have friends from several countries, our nearest bar is an English one. The British accents you would hear there include Scouse and Geordie, Southern, Midlands, Cockney, Devonshire and of course Irish and Scottish.  This was the crowd that gathered to celebrate my birthday last year. (I'm second from the left in the striped dress.)

 Other Europeans fly south for several months each winter, and are therefore known locally as Swallows. Many own a property here but others simply rent apartments, often meeting up with the same friends each year. Some enjoy the Canarian food but others prefer to stick to what they know, hence the proliferation of restaurants offering 'Traditional roast dinners' and 'Full English breakfasts'.

There are also expats from mainland Spain and several South American countries, plus Portugal, Italy, Russia, Holland, Germany, Bulgaria, France, Africa. Our group of friends here are Italian, Columbian and Venezuelan.




And finally, a poem about another expat. 
I was born in Australia and taken to England while still a baby. Betty was a gift from my godmother when I was born and I would rescue her from a fire before any of my other possessions.

BETTY
 
Betty is Australian,
Betty is a doll,
she didn’t study opera
or become Ned Kelly’s Moll –
she went to Victor Harbour
in nineteen-forty-four
to live with Baby Lizy
in her house by the shore.

They played out in the sunshine
under the kumquat trees,
or on the beach on a rug to keep
the sand off Baby’s knees;
they saw kangaroos and parrots
and gum trees on their walks,
and snakes, and grapes, and lots of flies,
so they wore hats with corks!

They sailed away to England
when Betty was just two,
past India, Africa, Egypt, and
the Bay of Biscay; through
from summer sun to winter –
it was all strange to eyes
used to eucalyptus trees
and wide Australian skies.

But there were woollen gloves, and snow
and crumpets on the hearth,
and, in the springtime, daffodils,
halfway round the earth --
so Betty became English, though
years later, when she went
back home, the eucalyptus filled
her soul with long-lost scent.

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14 comments:

  1. I think a lot of people view the life of an expat as being easy, but it's important to integrate yourself - as you have - to enjoy it fully.

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    1. I agree - in my view an expat misses so much by remaining in a ghetto of their own nationality.

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  2. Lovely poem. My mum gave me my first doll yesterday - my doll from when I was little, I mean, I haven't just been given a new doll! She's a bit dirty, and her hair needs a brush, but she's just as I remember her. Betty looks much loved.

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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    1. Betty was, unfortunately, mishandled by my two daughters, hence the bashed forehead, but I still love her. I hope you have given your doll the care she's been lacking since you were younger?

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  3. I was an ex-pat for a while, though I've come home now. It was a great experience!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

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  4. I'm an expat now...I guess I've been an expat for quite a few years :) I love the pictures you shared...they seem to be filled with happiness :)

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    1. Elodie - and where are you? I shall pop over t oyour blog if there is one and find out. Thanks for dropping in.

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  5. Replies
    1. We would never have met such a mixture if we hadn[t moved out of our English village.

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  6. I even met a Hungarian person in Los Silos when I was there. So surreal :) I never knew it was such a diverse island!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. We have Russian friends, and in our village there's a group of deaf and dumb Bulgarians who sell novelty lighters for a living. The deeper you look, the more nationalities there are.

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  7. I love that poem, especially the end about the eucalyptus.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ros - my writing started with poetry.

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