Canadian Expatriates: The Expat Blog: Cross-National Relationships

| |   Main   | |   Expat Blog   | |   Message Board   | |   Guest Map   | |   Contact   | |

About this Blog

A collection of articles and observations written by Canadian Expatriates from around the globe.

Traduisez en Français

About the Bloggers

Canuck Abroad
Dean P
mare ad mare

Are you a Canadian living abroad? Interested in contributing to this blog?

Please email us and your profile will appear here!


Fellow Expats
Canadian Ingenuity
Postcard from Tornado Alley
Eagle Eye
It's Coming!
Eighty Things
Uncle Ray's Review
Maple Thanks
Moment of Zen
Currency Conversion


March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
October 2006
April 2007
November 2007
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
November 2009
February 2010

Can't find it?
Search the Expat Blog

Blog Bling

Support Canadian Expatriates by snagging some of the following bling and linking to us!

Like the Expat Clock?

Here is the script.

We can also design a button to match the colour scheme of your site!

Refer a Friend
Blogroll Me!

Expat Blogs

Absent Canadian
Adventures in Asia
Adventures in Tajikistan
Ahab's Whale
Anatomy of Melancholy
Angry Little Lady
Anna Overseas
As Canadian as Possible
Babble and Buzz
The Blog Pound
Blue Lotus
Canadian Bacon
The Canadian Beaver
Canadian California Girl
Canadian Content
Canadian Down Under
Canadian Gyopos Tour of Duty
A Canadian in Guayaquil
A Canadian in Heidelberg
Canadian in Mexico
A Canadian in Sao Paulo
A Canadian Student in London
Canuck in Asia
Cookie Crumb Kids
A Day in the Life of Bolivia
Deanna In Uganda
Digital Ed
The Displaced Canuck
Emma in London
Empires Fall
Gyopo Life
I have Seoul
In Search of the Perfect Noodle
Jason Does Asia
Jim's Korea
Korea Bound
Lady Jane's Japanese Adventures
Letters From Africa
Life in Ithaca
Living La Vida Loca in Japan
The Lonely Canadian
Mark Base: Views & News
Maticito's Crazy World
Mike and Dean's Cross Border Tagteam
Mommy Abroad
Notes from a New Country
Odd Muse
Off on a Tangent
Outlaw Liss
A Prairie Girl
Puns, Politics, and Pericles
Queen for a Year
Rooxy [French]
Sharp Mama
Somena Media
Somewhere Under the Bulgy Bit
Steel White Table
Stepping Stones
That Canadian Girl
Transplanted Canadian
Up Late In Wonju
Vu Deja
Words to Live By
The Young Man from Canada

« ? Canadian Expats + »
« Expat Express »

Expats in Canada
- or soon to be -

Being American in T.O.
California Girl in PEI
Canadian Musings
The Canadian Perasma
Expat Travels
Life Without Borders
Teri and Tom's Blog
We Move to Canada

Canadian Blogs

All Things Canadian
The Amazing Wonderdog
Angry in the Great White North
Average Guys
Bacon and Eh's
Bite Me
Brain Poop
Canadian Cynic
Canadian History News
Canadian Tanstaafl
Canuck Flack
The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns
Dust My Broom
Federal Election Canada
Five of Five
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
Heart of Canada
Hellsza Decent Blog
Hockey Nation
I am (also) Canadian
Journey of a Transplanted Seed
A Little Bit Left
The Maple Lounge
The Mildly Annoyed Canadian
My Blahg
Nuclear Moose Candy
Ordinary Joe
Poop'd Culture
Postcards from the Mothership
The Poutine Diaries
Rants, Raves, Reviews of a Proud Canadian Surfer
Rick Mercer's Blog
Simply Coll
Small Dead Animals
That's My Stapler
The Toque
Turning 30 and a Half
Your Moosey Fate
110 Lines of Longitude

« ? Blog Canada + »
« Letter Zed »
« ? Proud Canadian + »

Expat Sympathizers
- Friends of the Expat Blog -

Ask Flippy

Canadian Content
- Affiliations -

Blogs Canada
Canadian Conversation
Progressive Bloggers
TLB Canadian Community

Progressive Bloggers

A Canadian Lefty in Occupied Land
A Class Act
A Little Bit Left
A Socialist In Calgary
A wave of alternative mandate
Accidental Deliberations
adrienne jennifer
Adventures of a Winnipeg Girl

Ahab's Whale
Automatic Thought
Average Guys
Before Dawn
Beyond the Pale
Blue Grit
Bouquets of Gray
Bowie Call

Buckets of Grewal
Canadian Cynic
Canadian Expatriates: The Expat Blog
Canadian Liberal @ Penn
Canadian Polemic
Canuck Attitude

Capitalist Pig vs. Socialist Swine
Cathie from Canada
Cherniak on Politics
Craig Cantin
criminalize the symptoms
Dawg's Blawg

Far From 'Right'
Five of Five
Flash Point Canada
Free Dominion Watch
From A Different Viewpoint
From the Heartlands

Going Green in Alberta
HaldenJohnson DOT net
Heart of the Matter
Holy Beaver!
I, Doughbot
Idealistic Pragmatist
Impetus Java House
In the Footsteps of Chrétien

Island Chick
Jaded Reality
JimBobby Sez
John Murney's Blog
Keegan's Blog
Kick at the Darkness
Kyle's Modern Life
Le Revue Gauche

Liberal For Life
Liberal Underground
LiberAlberta - The Calgary Observer
Lord Kitchener's Own
Marc Emery is a Political Prisoner
Maritime Liberal
Matthew Good
Media, Technology and Society

Miss Vicky's Offhand Remarks
Moldy Peaches
My Blahg
N.M Du Cap
No BMD, eh?
No Turner Left Unstoned
Nunc Scio

Only A Madman Can Draw a Perfect Circle
OPUS Canada
Out from under a Rock
Pacific Tribune
Pample the Moose
Paranoid Left-Wing Ranting
Peace, order and good government, eh?
Points of Information

Political Commentary From 21 Fathoms
Political Commentary from a Nobody
Political Write
Progressive Calgary
Random Noise
Rational Reasons
Reason Before Passion
Red Bewtween the Lines

Red Vs. Blue
Right of Center Ice
Scruffy Dan’s “Words to the Wise”
Section 15.
Silly Conservatives
Stuff and Nonsense
Tasteful Future

TDH Strategies
Terminal Velocity of Sausage
The Actual Story
The Amazing Wonderdog
The Canadian Perasma
the catalytic corral
The Coast of Bohemia
The Coyote Howls
The Digital Memoirs Of An Old Soul

The Dominion Weblog
The Doors of Perception
The Green Knight
The Green Lantern
The Hive
The Liberal Grit
The Maple Lounge
The mass is secretly obsessed with nipple dream
The Muck Shoveller

The Progressive Right
The Robert Bond Papers
The Sask Pogressive
The Skwib
The Turkey Shoot
The View Out West
The Wingnuterer
They Hate Us For Our Freedoms
Tory Red

Trickle Down Truth (TDT)
Trudeau Generation
Two Shots in the Dark
Views from the Left
Vijay Sappani
Vive le
Voice in the Wilderness
Vox Noxi

What the Deuce?
Windy Weather
Words Without Walls
Youth in Canada
Zaphod's Heads

Blog Directories
Blog Clicker
Blog Explosion
Blog Hop
Blog Soldiers
Blog Street
Blog Universe
Get Blogs
Globe of Blogs


My Yahoo

Tag Board
The Expat Poll
- Updated Monthly -

Don't forget to cast your vote in this month's Canadian Expatriates Feature Poll!

At the end of the survey, you will have an opportunity to discuss the results with other expats.

Join the Roundup

The Expat Roundup is a aggregated portal designed to raise awareness of Canadian expat bloggers.

If you would like to join the Expat Roundup, please email us your feed url.

In exchange for this service, we ask you to support the Roundup by linking to the portal with one of the following images.

Suggestion Box

Do you have a suggestion for the site or a link that you would like to add?

Expat Search

Expat Announcement Centre

An Invitation from Foreign Affairs Canada [-]

Canadian Expatriates, its contributors, and readers have been invited by Foreign Affairs Canada to participate in a series of eDiscussions. The current topic is “Showcasing Canadian Culture and Know-How Abroad”.

We are asked to consider the following questions:

  • What role does Canadian culture and know-how play in our foreign policy?

  • How might the government best promote Canadian talent and expertise in the world?

    The eDiscussion runs from April 4 to May 6, 2005. At its conclusion, a summary of the discussion will be sent to senior policy planners.

    The Expat admin team encourages its readers to join in the eDiscussion at the Canadian International Policy website.

    Posted by Admin

  • Call for Contributors [-]

    The administration team is currently searching for Canadian expatriates who would be interested in contributing to the Expat Blog. The subject matter is wide open, but must remain family friendly.

    If you are interested in joining our blogging team, please send an email our way!

    Thank you!

    Posted by Admin

    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    Cross-National Relationships
    by Expat

    One of the difficult elements in maintaining a cross-national relationship is that one partner always plays the role of the immigrant and is plagued by homesickness.

    I recently received an email inquiring into the feasibility of a unique solution to this problem - living five years in one country and then five years in the other. Not having any experience with this myself, I was hoping that someone here could help the author of the email and give her some of the pros and cons of that particular situation.

    When I initially moved to the United States, I thought that it was just going to be for a short period of time and then my husband and I would return to Canada. In the few years that I have lived here, however, we have put down roots and now the very prospect of having to file immigration paperwork on my husband's behalf, sell our house, find jobs in Canada, and start our lives over seems overwhelming. That is not to say that we will not do it, just that it is more complicated than what we had first assumed. Then, when I am completely honest with myself, I wonder if "who I have become" will fit into the "Canada that I remember" and a sense of dread overcomes me as I wonder if I will ever truly feel at home anywhere anymore. In all honesty, it may be time for me to shift my thinking and identify myself as a citizen of the world, rather than as a Canadian in the United States.

    Out of curiousity, how do other cross-cultural couples deal with this situation and do other expats go through a phase of feeling like they no longer belong anywhere?

    Thanks in advance and enjoy what is left of the weekend!

    Posted by Expat at 5:45 PM

    I am a geek replying to my own post, but I just thought of a major con - immigration bureaucracy.

    I could not imagine having to deal with that every five years. Of course, if you both could get dual citizenship that might be easier. My main thought though, is that relationships are hard enough even when both partners are from the same country, add on top of that the stress of immigration and homesickness and then couple that with moving and starting over every few years and you may have a recipe for disaster.

    Once again, I have never been in that situation so I could be wrong. There may be someone who is in that exact situation right now and is happy as a clam. :)

    Hi from one expat to another , I can tell you that this dilemma does not get any easier the longer you're away from Canada and if you have children and eventually grandchildren, it becomes almost impossible to solve.

    I have now lived longer outside Canada that I have in Canada, Canadian born and bred and proud of it, but I always feel slightly out of it when I return to Canada. In fact, I used to suffer from a slight culture shock . Needless to say, this has become less of a consideration since the internet and blogs such as yours; being in touch with family and friends, being just a click away instead being dependent upon the exhorbitant telephone costs of the last century!

    My children speak another language plus English and French and are very Eurocritical of the North American way of life.

    So, no, it doesn't get easier, but, I believe, my life is much more interesting than I think it would have been had I stayed in Canada. I've learned new languages, been confronted with new cultures, and have a unique view of the world around me due to my Canadian-ness and ways of seeing things. This makes for interesting discussions with the Europeans that I am in daily contact with.

    I still fantasize that I will retire in Canada, but the closer that time gets, the more I realize that my family is here in Europe and my Canadian family are further away than just the miles that separate us.

    I believe that most of my expat friends here feel similarly. We all moan about how much we miss Canada (or the States or England or Australia), but we love the differentness that living, loving, surviving and flourishing in a foreign country allows us.

    This may just add to your confusion, but it certainly has helped me to realize that I'm a Canuck at heart but a global citizen.

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3:19 PM, April 25, 2006  

    don't know how to answer that ExPat. I think alot about the day when three years from know if I will actually apply for Canadian Citizenship, or if maybe after a year or two I will tuck my tail and run back home. The question is where home will be? I'm and American moving to Canada who speaks Greek - where do I fit?

    What I can tell you is that I look forward to forming a Canadian Identity. I look forward to learning the quirks and subtleties of Canadiana. I want to make it my home more then anything - and in the end I think that's the only thing that matters...where do you feel at home?

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10:30 PM, April 25, 2006  

    Thanks for the comments, folks. :)

    It helps to know that there are others out there who struggling with some of the same issues. I am sad to hear that these things get more complex with time, but in the same breath, I am not surprised. I particularly appreciate your comments, Anonymous. They have given me a sense of what I may encounter in the future. Certainly I had never expected to question my own identity and sense of belonging when I moved here, but, unfortunately, that does seem to be one of the effects of emigrating. I think that I could make peace with being a "Canuck at heart and a global citizen". I quite like that concept.

    I hope that your transition to Canadian living comes easily, Niko. By the sound of it, you definitely have the right attitude. When I moved here, I did so with a sense of adventure and did not really analyze what affect it would have on me emotionally. I can honestly say that the transition has been more difficult than what I had expected. Your question of "where do you feel at home?" is actually quite comforting. For now, at least, my home is here, although I would love to go to the Motherland for a visit (and some Canadian products! LOL). ;)

    Your coment:
    "I wonder if "who I have become" will fit into the "Canada that I remember" and a sense of dread overcomes me as I wonder if I will ever truly feel at home anywhere anymore"
    hit a chord with me. You've accomplished what I've been trying to do for years: sum up what it means to be an ex-pat.

    I often wonder if it is worth it- that permanent sense of 'not quite belonging' anywhere anymore. But then I remember how restless I'd become when I was in Canada and I've realised that my restless spirit just wouldn't let me stay put - and I've learnt so much from the people I've travelled with and the people I now co-exist with that I couldn't imagine my life any different.

    I too love Canada. I like to continue to believe that I'll eventually move back home, but mostly because I can't fathom never returning, rather than an overwhelming sense of needing to go home.

    This comment became far longer than intended, but mostly I wanted to say thank you for summing up what I've been trying to say in what feels like forever.

    Thank you for putting my thoughts into words.....we have lived half our lives outside of Canada. It is always troublsome to ask yourself 'where do I belong' or 'where do I fit in'. We are semi retired and we are talking about moving back to Canada.....but we do have children and grandchildren and to leave them behind (although not in the same city) would be painful.

    We did finally become citizens of our adopted country, but that only confused us further. Our adult children have yet to make the change in status.

    As time has gone by, I am never asked anymore where I come from. No more jokes about Canadians and told to go home to the great white north. I don't say out and about too much, I don't misspell words, and I never did say ay. Does that mean that I now am American?

    On the up side of life. I did figure out a few things in my journey. Canadians are not like Americans as they so often say of themselves. I find observing from a distance they are more like the British. That irreverent sense of humor, a real sense of fair play, honesty, a political system and concern for other fellow human beings. Lastly, not everything in Canada seems to be McSized, including the collective ego.

    Our roots still call us home several times a year. As time goes by it does get more complex and I do have a greater loss of identity and feel more and more like that man without a country. The real question is do we fit in in either country after all this time?

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 2:14 PM, April 27, 2006  

    It's interesting for me to read this now, as we are preparing to go "home". I can't wait to get back to Canada. Every minute that passes while I'm still here in NJ is a little private hell.

    I don't always feel so strongly about going back, but I have to admit that as the times has gone by my need to get home has increased. It's been 5 years in the US, and while we enjoyed Connecticut somewhat we just aren't made for rural New Jersey.

    I guess that this area is like the opposite of all the bits of me that I like. I am a socialist (liberal minded), Pagan, feminist who wants nothing more than a big warm friendly neighbourhood. I want grocery clerks and fast food servers to smile. I want to see people out and about. I want my kids to learn how to spell with the letter "u" still in its proper place. I also want them to have a school day that isn't interupted with a 20 minute ego-trip/flag ceremony.

    I don't know. I mean I've lived places in Canada that I didn't like much (Mississauga, for example) but I've never been anywhere so un-Canadian before. I am thrilled to be going back to live in London, ON, where there will be family all around the kids and friends for me, within driving distance at least.

    I couldn't imagine a strict 5 year on/5 year off compromise for ANY aspect of life. It would seem that just when you get settled, it's time to leave, which would add tension to even the best relationship...

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10:58 AM, April 29, 2006  

    Interesting comments.

    We've been in the U.S. seven years and going home in a few months. My husband is a Brit, with triple citizenship, however he identifies himself as Canadian. We lived in Europe in my 20s and had a great time. I never did adjust to life in the U.S., which is most likely due to the fact I was 42 when we were suddenly transferred. Our child moved back within three years of our arrival, so that's been tough. In seven years I have yet to meet the neighbours, made no friends and since 9/11 have heard too much anti-Canadian garbage to feel even remotely comfortable in my surroundings. Maybe 20 years ago things would have been different, but the present political climate is far too frightening and this from a political refugee from QC. Even Lucien Bouchard doesn’t look so bad from here!

    I don't expect any problems repatriating whatsoever. I'm just looking to breathe again.

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11:42 AM, April 30, 2006  

    It is so interesting to hear everyone's remarks and I see a piece of myself in all of them. I can certainly relate to everything that was said.

    I had been struggling so long with such an overwhelming feeling of loss that I thought the feeling was exclusive to *me*. I am now beginning to recognize that the feeling is more of an unavoidable side effect of immigration than anything else. I am not sure if I can take comfort in that or not. It sure would be nice to have a quick and easy cure for it. LOL

    I appreciate all of the comments. This may sound odd, but I think that I found a bit of myself while reading your comments. In fact, I have finally realized that I need to make peace with the "who I was" and the "who I have become". Somehow, I need to figure out a way to bridge that gap in my psyche.

    Thank you all so much for sharing. :)

    "a citizen of the world" .. I like that.

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 10:07 PM, May 02, 2006  

    Hello fellow expats. I always felt that I would be an expat as I have the ancestral wanderlust in my family. I always thought I would end up in Europe but here I am married to an American in the States. I sympathize with a lot of you...It is not easy. Fortunately work takes me back to Canada and to Europe at times. I have not made many friends here on my own, but I'm thinking it would not be any better moving to anywhere (even another city) at the age of 40, as I did. As one of your readers said, it's definitely harder after a certain age to adjust. Missing old friends and family is a burden. At the same time I believe life is good and you must bloom wherever you are planted.

    Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9:59 PM, May 12, 2006  

    Seo Blog - free, no ads homepage hosting! Start your website today! Publishing and journaling with ease!