I’ve been catching up on my reading while we’re in Texas for Christmas. This passage in Me Talk Pretty One Day made me laugh and reminded me of our year in Denmark.
…I’d begun to imagine my life in a foreign country, some faraway land where, if things went wrong, I could always blame somebody else, saying I’d never wanted to live there in the first place. Life might be difficult for a year or two, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world.
I didn’t see this as a romantic idea. It had nothing to do with France itself, with wearing hats or writing tortured letters from a sidewalk cafe. I didn’t care where Hemingway drank or Alice B. Toklas had her mustache trimmed. What I found appealing in life abroad was the inevitable sense of helplessness it would inspire. Equally exciting would be the work involved in overcoming that helplessness. There would be a goal involved, and I like having goals.