Greetings from The Displaced Nation, and a special welcome from our four contributors. You can read more about their personal stories below. And have you signed up yet for your weekly DISPLACED DISPATCH? That’s the best, swiftest, most entertaining, rewarding (hey, we do giveaways!) way to get to know what we’re about. Or perhaps you already know us and have questions, comments, ideas for posts? We warmly invite you to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please click on the section title(s) of interest:
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“Displace,” “nation” and “displaced nation” defined
1 : to change the place of; to remove from the usual or proper place; to put something in another place from where it should be; to place in another situation; to relocate.
1 : a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent and/or history (no physical borders).
THE DISPLACED NATION
1 : a community of people who share a common history of having displaced themselves by relocating — usually to other countries.
Some further qualifiers: THE DISPLACED NATION is not just a bunch of expats, rex-pats, repats, global nomads, third culture kids (TCKs), internationals, armchair travelers and the like — though our citizenship certainly includes people who would describe themselves in that way.
Rather, THE DISPLACED NATION is a bunch of expats, rex-pats, repats, global nomads, third culture kids (TCKs), internationals, armchair travelers and the like who adhere to some governing precepts — ensuring that the whole of us is greater than the sum of our rather motley parts.
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THE DISPLACED NATION CONSTITUTION
We the People of THE DISPLACED NATION, in Order to form a more perfect Union, promote the general Welfare of the Displaced, and secure the Blessings of Displacedness to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution:
Article I. Laughter is the best medicine.
Although the displaced life has its challenges — for starters, the difficulty of deciding where “home” is — we must strive not to take ourselves, and our common predicament, too seriously, especially given that most of us chose to lead this lifestyle in the first place. We are the privileged displaced, not the forcibly displaced.
Now, there are many kinds of humor, from slapstick to snark. In general, though, we find humor of the self-deprecating variety to be the most effective. It soothes personal anxieties, and it can also build bridges.
Article II. To forget the din of the world, have a cup of tea.
On the occasions when humor doesn’t work, the policy of last resort is putting the kettle on.
Those unfamiliar with this “tea and sympathy” principle should be issued with a recipe guide, A Royally Displaced Tea. They will also have available to them the services of a professional agony aunt — a post currently occupied by one Mary-Sue Wallace (see her bio below).
Article III. Foodie-ism is endemic to our way of life.
Just say the word, and any true-blue TDN citizen will put everything down and regale you with stories of their culinary adventures — the foods they’ve tasted here and there — as well as a list of the dishes they still crave from “home.”
Food is, and will always remain, THE DISPLACED NATION’s number one obsession.
Article IV. Debate is the way we stir our souls.
Through our travels, we’ve all become familiar with political and social systems other than those we were born to. Some of us are further acquainted with the concept of global stewardship. We therefore encourage rousing debates comparing and contrasting cultures and/or proposing creative solutions to the world’s problems.
But while there are virtually no limits on the topics that interest us*, it would be overstepping the bounds of our knowledge to issue a G9 manifesto to save humanity.
*For a clearer idea of the range of our interests, be sure to like us on Facebook +/or follow our Tweets.
Article V. Life-transforming ideas come through books.
Being culturally confused doesn’t necessitate giving up “big C” Culture entirely. On the contrary, it’s important to get in the habit of referencing famous writers — Jane Austen, James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Agatha Christie, Sōseki Natsume, and John Steinbeck, to name a few — for what they can teach us about the displaced condition.
It is frequently helpful to consult with contemporary writers who share TDN’s sensibilities, for insights.
Attempting to write your own version of the events that lead to a displaced life/outlook is also highly encouraged. That said, we recommend that you study recent examples here and here before investing in Scrivener.
Article VI. “Escapism” is our middle name.
Having escaped their former lives, TDN citizens will forever be inclined to immerse themselves in escapist fantasies.
Acceptable escapism includes tuning into episodes from Libby’s life (the closest thing THE DISPLACED NATION has to a weekly soap — see Libby’s bio below); listening to stories told by random nomads or yarns spun by intrepid travelers; or indulging in vicarious thrills (and chills) from TDN’s monthly themes — for example:
No TDN citizen shall ever suffer from Celebrity Worship Syndrome. That said, it can be therapeutic to displace one’s emotions watching these tinsel gods and goddesses attempt to displace themselves. Many TDN citizens found it fascinating, for example, when celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tried to bring his food revolution to America, or when veteran expat India Hicks was recruited to provide Royal Wedding coverage.
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We hope that the above serves as an initiation into what THE DISPLACED NATION is all about. If you like what you’ve heard, why not consider emigrating? The application process is fairly swift. To become a card-carrying citizen, simply sign up for THE DISPLACED DISPATCH. We post every weekday, Monday to Friday, and the DISPATCH comes out on Saturdays with a roundup of the week’s posts. It carries the added benefits of some secret survival tips along with eligibility for TDN freebies. We hope you will sign up today!
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About the four regular contributors and their respective states of displacement:
English by birth, Kate Allison is a professional trailing spouse. Her husband is a Yorkshireman — talk about cultural clashes! They’ve been living in the United States for the past 15 years and have three children. Kate is one of the three original founders of The Displaced Nation. Here is what she has to say about her state of displacedness:
Most displaced moment: Lots of them, mostly contradictory. For example, the first time someone didn’t recognize my fake American accent as fake, versus the 40 minutes I once spent in a high school drama class teaching American teenagers how to read Noel Coward’s Private Lives with an upper-class English accent.
Favorite / least favorite new foods: Maple syrup on bacon / Root beer.
Top nominee for the Displaced Hall of Fame: Hugh Laurie. It makes me laugh when I hear him being serious as Dr. House, because I remember him and his comedy partner Stephen Fry on British TV about twenty years ago.
Favorite displaced writer: Bill Bryson. Iowa-born, he came to England in the 1970s when he was in his early twenties, and stayed there until the mid-1990s, when he and his English wife and children moved to New England — coincidentally, this was around the time when I moved to the same area. His book describing incidents in his repatriation — Notes from a Big Country, also published as I’m a Stranger Here Myself — was a source of comfort to me at the time, as I realized even someone American-born found the move hard-going.
Preferred metaphor for displacement: One foot on either side of the Atlantic.
ML Awanohara prefers “ML” to her double-barreled first name, Mary-Lea. Born in Wilmington, Delaware, she traveled far afield as soon as she could — living first in England (for her postgraduate studies) and then in Japan. She now lives with her Japanese husband and their two dogs in New York City. ML is one of the three original founders of The Displaced Nation. Here is what she has to say about her state of displacedness:
Most displaced moment: In Japan: Taking tea with two Japanese royals while discussing the results of an English-language speech contest for which I was a judge. I thought the princess would choke on her cake when I told her how surprised I was by the number of students who’d recited pieces on bullying. In the UK: Too long a story… In New York City: Almost every office I’ve worked in. Americans have no idea what “teamwork” means compared to most Asians. That’s the penalty we pay for not being a rice-farming culture.
Favorite / least favorite new foods: In Japan: tofu / nattō (fermented soy beans). In the UK: gooseberry fool / marmite (sorry, Kate!). Back here in NYC: cocktails and locally sourced food like heirloom tomatoes / pizza slices.
Top nominee for the Displaced Hall of Fame: Jim Thompson, because, like me, he hailed from the small state of Delaware, though unlike me he disappeared mysteriously in the Malaysian jungle after founding the Thai silk industry.
Favorite displaced writer: Elizabeth von Arnim, because she addresses the perils of international marriage, something I’ve been foolhardy enough to try twice.
Preferred metaphor for displacement: An old-fashioned fruit slot machine. Yes, really. I have a post where I explain this.
TONY JAMES SLATER
Tony James Slater is a self-confessed adventureholic. For the last six years he’s been traveling nonstop around the world, working at a variety of jobs including yacht deliverer in the Mediterranean, professional diver in Thailand and snow boarder in New Zealand. Last year, Slater published his first book, That Bear Ate My Pants!, an account of his misadventures while volunteering at the animal refuge in Ecuador. (The book was featured in The Displaced Nation’s list of 2011 expat books.) He is currently working on a second book set in Thailand, while exploring his new home in Perth, Australia.
Anthony Windram is an Englishman displaced to California, where he lives with his American wife. Anthony is one of the three original founders of The Displaced Nation. Here’s what he has to say about his state of displacedness:
Most displaced moment: The occasions I’ve had to go through secondary interrogation in US airports. Moments when I realize how powerless I am in the country I reside in.
Favorite / least favorite new foods: Pumpkin ale / Bud light Clamato.
Top nominee for the Displaced Hall of Fame: Alan Whicker. For years he traveled the world in a natty bow tie, blazer and immaculately pressed trousers.
Favorite displaced writer: As I write a lot about America, it’s difficult to look beyond De Tocqueville.
Preferred metaphor for displacement: Not a metaphor, but the title of my other blog, Culturally Discombobulated, sums up how I often feel.
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About TDN’s two fictional contributors:
Libby Patrick writes a diary every week for THE DISPLACED NATION, known as Libby’s Life.
Here’s what she has to say for herself:
I’m a thirty-something stay-at-home mum to preschooler Jack, and wife of Oliver, who right now is running our marital show. Originally from Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, England, I’ve lived for the last couple of months in Woodhaven, Massachusetts — a small New England town that makes Stepford look like inner city gangland.
Although sad to leave my own family, I was overjoyed to move 3,000 miles away from my mother-in-law, Sandra.
I’m discovering it’s wise not to gossip in Woodhaven. Small Town Gossip Law states that the subject of a catty remark will always turn out to be a close relation or friend of the person to whom you are speaking.
Listening is far safer. “Receive, not transmit” is my motto of the moment.
While I will grudgingly pay extortionate amounts for proper PG Tips tea, I flatly refuse to import cans of English Heinz Baked Beans for Oliver.
Oliver, obviously, should have thought about the baked bean situation before extolling the virtues of New England clam chowder.
Mary-Sue Wallace publishes occasional Agony Aunt columns for THE DISPLACED NATION.
Here’s what she has to say for herself:
I’m a retired travel agent and live in Tulsa with my husband, Jake. I have taken a credited course in therapy from Tulsa Community College and am the author of Traveling Made Easy, Low-Fat Chicken Soup for the Traveler’s Soul, The Art of War: The Authorized Biography of Samantha Brown, and William Shatner’s TekWar: An Unofficial Guide. Ever since i became The Displaced Nation’s official agony aunt, I’ve been focusing on the kind of cross-cultural quandaries and travel-related confusion that typically arise among the displaced. Questions for me? Send them to email@example.com.
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Our spectacular banner was designed by the Manhattan-based artist Dorothy Robinson. You can discern a great deal about her displaced state of mind by taking a virtual tour of her paintings.
To reiterate, welcome, fáilte, bienvenue, bonvenon, welkom, добро пожаловать, namaste, huan yin, selmat datang, youkoso (歓迎). If none of these apply, then “emoclew.” If you’ve made it this far down the page, it means you’ve stepped through the looking glass and can begin your tour of the curious, unreal world occupied by international travelers and residents. Enjoy! And don’t forget to sign up for THE DISPLACED DISPATCH, the weekly round-up of our posts.