The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

Tag Archives: Patriotism

Dear Mary-Sue: Expats face tough come-down after Olympics high

Mary-Sue Wallace, The Displaced Nation’s agony aunt, is back. Her thoughtful advice eases and soothes any cross-cultural quandary or travel-related confusion you may have. Submit your questions and comments here, or else by emailing her at thedisplacednation@gmail.com.

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! That’s been the chant in the ol’ Wallace homestead these last two weeks. We took on the world and we whopped its ass — just as it should be. All very exciting — and some of those swimmers! Well, let’s just say they can come round to Mary-Sue’s pool to practice their doggy paddle anytime they want.

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Dear Mary-Sue,

I was watching the closing ceremony of the London Olympics last night, and at one point the commentator said that it was a great tribute to British individualism and creativity. But why don’t we just go ahead and call it eccentricity? Because that’s what it is, right?

Former expat in Britain, now happily repatriated to USA

Dear Former Expat,

Hmm, if my understanding of British culture is correct, and bear in mind that I am no expert like Mary Carillo, but I don’t think there was enough cross-dressing for it to technically count as British eccentricity.

Mary-Sue

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Dear Mary-Sue,

At the conclusion to the London Olympics, Sebastian Coe said: “Britain did it right.” But then why were the Spice Girls involved in the closing ceremony?

A happy repatriate to the USA after several years in Britain

Dear AHRTTUASYIB,

How many years were you in Britain and yet you never learned their famed sense of irony? Two weeks Mary Carillo has spent there and she has got it all sorted. Shows what you can do if you apply yourself.

Mary-Sue

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Dear Mary-Sue,

I’ve been watching my home country, Britain, host the Olympics for the past two weeks, and now I’m really homesick. What’s the cure for this? (I’m allergic to chicken soup.)

Ben in Boston

Dear Ben,

Epcot, British pavilion. Just like being in Britain, but with actual customer service!!

Mary-Sue

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Dear Mary-Sue,

I noticed that the great Brazilian footballer Pelé made an appearance in the closing ceremonies when Britain was handing over the Olympics flag to Brazil for the next Summer Games in 2016. As you may or may not know, Brazil will also host the World Cup in 2014. As much as I like the Olympics, in my opinion, that’s a far more important and prestigious event — even though America, my new country, doesn’t participate. Would you agree?

Pablo from Pittsburgh

p.s. Viva España!

Dear Pablo,

No.

Mary-Sue is all about those tasty swimmers. Is Ryan Lochte (yeah, he’s an idiot, I know) going to be at the World Cup? Thought not. Pelé may have been a great soccer player, but all I know about him now is that he does commercials for Viagra. Give me Lochte any day.

Mary-Sue

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Dear Mary-Sue,

I noticed that one of the Displaced Nation writers, Anthony Windram, was criticizing the NBC coverage of the Olympics. He even went so far as to call Bob Costas the “ugly American.”

Though I now live in England, I’m sure it couldn’t have been any more partisan than what I witnessed over here on the BBC.

Wasn’t Windram just being churlish and if so, why was the Displaced Nation giving him so much “air time”?

Bob from Britain

Dear Bob,

I agree Windram is a blight on this site. I actually have to deal with him. I ask for Ryan Lochte and they send me that chump Windram. I wanted a wet athlete and they give me a wet fish. He called Bob Costas ugly, I know which one I’d rather wake up to on a cold winter’s morning.

Mary-Sue

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Dear Mary-Sue,

At one point during the Olympics, tensions between Kiwis and us Aussies here in the Netherlands reached an all-time high because they were winning more medals than we were. But all’s well that ends well, or at least that’s the way I and my fellow Aussies see it: we finished 10th, with 35 medals (of which 7 were gold), as compared to their 16th-place finish with 13 medals, of which 5 were gold. However, some Kiwis continue to lord it over us despite these stats. Until now, we all got on quite well. How can we repair the rift?

Ethan of Emmeloord

Dear Ethan,

Wait, Australia and New Zealand are different countries? Well, I’ll be a monkey’s Aunt!

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Dear Mary-Sue,

Why did NBC show Russell Brand singing but not Ray Davies?

Baby Boomer in USA

Dear Baby Boomer,

As one of the 800,000 people to have experienced at first hand the debauched ways of Mr Brand, I can attest that while his whole Pied Piper aesthetic is unusual, his spindly body has an unusual sexual-voodoo pull on others. I’m guessing that Russell was awarded a gold in bedroom gymnastics by Mr Costas, and that Costas then made sure Russell was included in the final broadcast. Ray, by contrast, probably wasn’t able to be heard by the 17-year-old athletes, like Missy Franklin, who were screaming in excitement for One Direction.

Mary-Sue
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Anyhoo, that’s all from me readers. I’m so keen to hear about your cultural issues and all your juicy problems. Do drop me a line with any problems you have, or if you want to talk smack about Delilah Rene.

Mary-Sue is a retired travel agent who lives in Tulsa with her husband Jake. She is the best-selling 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. If you have any questions that you would like Mary-Sue to answer, you can contact her at thedisplacednation@gmail.com, or by adding to the comments below.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s post with some cooling thoughts for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere who, after sweltering away under the summer’s record heat waves, need a boost to get through the remainder of August.

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

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Dear Mary-Sue: Should expatriates do patriotism, even if it is July?

Mary-Sue Wallace, The Displaced Nation’s agony aunt, is back. Her thoughtful advice eases and soothes any cross-cultural quandary or travel-related confusion you may have. Submit your questions and comments here, or else by emailing her at thedisplacednation@gmail.com.

I hope you’re having a better July than I am, Mary-Suers. Ol’ Mary-Sue is not a happy bunny, let me tell you that, NOT A HAPPY BUNNY AT ALL. Some neighbor of mine — let’s for the sake of argument call him Gary Geshke, and while we’re at, let’s assume that this Gary Geshke was the most incompetent realtor in town, and let’s also assume that most of the women in the neighborhood wonder how Linda Geshke can stomach staying with him.

Whoops, I never finished my sentence. Anyway, this “Gary Geshke”  was struggling — as usual — to do the most basic tasks with just the tiniest of competency. This is the sort of guy you worry is going to chop off a toe when mowing his lawn. Well, he was having a fireworks party for the 4th and instead of blowing an arm off, as would be more in line with his reputation, he managed to have one of his fireworks land on my roof nearly causing the whole thing to burn down. Thankfully hubby Jake was quick on the scene before we nearly had a disaster on our hands the likes of which we haven’t seen since The Towering Inferno.

Gee, I could skin that guy alive. I know his wife sometimes visits The Displaced Nation, so if you have are reading this post, Linda, Gary is an ingrate.

Anyhow, I’m in a FOUL mood so let’s get the July questions over with quickly so I can get back to watching some soap operas as well as the marvelous summer barbecue that I am going to organize and pointedly not invite Gary and Linda to.

Yeah, you read that right, Linda!

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Dear Mary-Sue,

I grew up Catholic in Northern Ireland, I was only too happy to get out of Belfast when the opportunity arose to take off for Canada came along.  I’d never have to deal with nonsense like The Glorious Twelfth.

That was before I realized Canadians are mad about Canada Day on July 1.

I know, I know, it could be worse. I could be in the heartland of American watching people wave flags on July 4, or in Paris on July 14, not able to cross the streets because of the Bastille Day pomp and circumstance. But what is it about July that makes people embrace their motherlands? I just don’t get it…

Brendan, Nova Scotia

Dear Brendan,

April is the wettest month. July is the most patriotic. November is the most miserable, but June is the sexiest. March is chaste while September is outrageous. May oftentimes pretends to be coy, while October smells like an old man’s pipe. January is nice-looking, but her acting in Mad Men was wooden.

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Dear Mary-Sue,

As an Englishman in the United States on July 4th, I thought I should hide my accent. I made a few jokes about this to my American friends, but they didn’t seem to get it. They told me July 4 was for barbecues, so just have a hamburger and enjoy myself.

I ask you, did we fight a war or didn’t we?

Henry, Houston, Texas

Henry,

I normally have time for Limeys, but I’m not in a great mood at the moment. Who does an agony aunt write to? That’s what I really want to know.

Anyway, on your minor case, I would say, “let it go.” People invited you into their homes. They were nice to you. They watered and fed you. Yes, they didn’t laugh at your jokes. Do people often laugh at your jokes? Seems like you were going for a way-too-obvious topic, so I would wager no. Hubby Jake makes me laugh because he does an amazing John McCain impression that’s always a hit at parties. Perhaps you could work on something similar. Or you could just be really clumsy and knock over a jug of Sangria — as seems to be Gary Geshke’s party trick.

Also, if you want everyone to start bringing up that time their country had a war with England, pretty soon the only people you’ll be able to speak to will be the Portuguese.

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Dear Mary-Sue,

I’ve heard it said that you make the best 4th of July potato salad in the world. What is the recipe and method? Would love to try it. *hint,  hint, hint.*

Susie-May, Arizona

Aw shoot!

Susie-May!

And you were doing so well in following the restraining order in not making any contact with me. First, there was the incident in Krogers on Tuesday — and now this! Also, don’t think I don’t know it wasn’t you who sent me some hair clippings in the post. That’s just weird Susie-May. Get a grip!

Anyhoo, it is true that my potato salad is the best. Secret is never use mayo. Mayo is the devil’s work. Or Paula Deen’s — one of the two.

Also don’t parboil the potatoes — that’s a rookie’s mistake. You just want to steam them. After steaming, crush them a bit, not too much. Then season them with salt and pepper. To that, add a dash of olive oil, a dash of cider vinegar, and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Then throw chopped up green onions and some fresh cilantro. Mix it all together and then squeeze some lemon juice over it before serving. (Gary and Linda Geshke wish they could have some of that!)
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Anyhoo, that’s all from me readers. I’m so keen to hear about your cultural issues and all your juicy problems. Do drop me a line with any problems you have, or if you want to talk smack about Delilah Rene.

Mary-Sue is a retired travel agent who lives in Tulsa with her husband Jake. She is the best-selling 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. If you have any questions that you would like Mary-Sue to answer, you can contact her at thedisplacednation@gmail.com, or by adding to the comments below.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s Random Nomad, who is attempting an epic expedition…

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

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EXPAT MOMENTS: What to wear for an Independence Day Party

Another in our series focusing on little moments of expat experience — moments that at the time seemed pifflingly insignificant.

As far as I can gather, the main advantage of Independence Day for many people seems to be the opportunity to dust off and wear that stars-and-stripes leather jacket that they bought back in 1979.

Wishing to get into the Independence Day spirit, it was clear that I also needing something “appropriate” to wear if I wanted to blend in successfully so I headed over to Target, a fine American corporation that would hopefully have even finer American clothing for me to purchase.

Finding the Target employee that looked the most patriotic — the telltale signs are a sensible haircut, good posture, and a strong jaw line — I asked where I might find the most patriotic T-shirts in store. Leading me to a selection of T-shirts featuring the stars and stripes, it was difficult for me to contain my disappointment with this somewhat anemic selection.

“Hmmm, do you have anything more patriotic?” I asked.

The patriotic youth seemed a little confused, a look that made him seem increasingly un-American.

“I was,” I said, “looking for something with a little more pizzazz. Something more OTT. I was kinda hoping you’d have one where Jesus is cradling the liberty bell while a bald eagle looks down approvingly?”

He just stared back at me. I’d been wrong about him. His jaw line was not as strong as I’d thought, his posture a little crooked, and his hair-style now I was closer was greasy and ostentatious.

“Why would we have that?” he sneered.

“Because you love this country — that’s why!”Though difficult, I tried to calm myself down and keep my temper in check. “Okay, have you got anything with a bald eagle in full flight in front of the stars and stripes, but, and this is the important bit, with a kick-ass explosion going on behind the flag? No? Nothing?”

“Have you tried Wal-Mart?”

I wandered off disappointed. This must have been how Benedict Arnold felt. You try and give this American lark a try, but you just end up getting kicked in the teeth. And that was when I saw the above little number, which I decided would from now on be my Independence Day T-shirt.

A version of this post first appeared on Culturally Discombobulated

STAY TUNED for Thursday’s post, in which Kate Allison debunks some common myths about the UK vs the USA.

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

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