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Expat: Women's True Tales of Life Abroad
by Christina Henry de Tessan

Tourists merely visit, but expatriates get to live in another culture. Some of the women represented in this collection of 22 "tales" have lived abroad as students, teachers, or aid workers, while others either pursued career opportunities or fulfilled a romantic fascination with a particular country or culture. Motivation aside, almost all have chosen to relate experiences of vulnerability and unease and a nostalgia for the culturally familiar. An expat living in appliance-deprived China recounts her craving for and courageous attempt at roasting a chicken, while another in Prague relates the challenge of finding fresh produce in order to cook a chicken stir-fry.

Yet another, in the south of France, homesick for Thanksgiving turkey, describes the troubles she had concocting such a dinner for acquaintances. Others are disheartened to discover that not all Australians have an abiding love for Yanks, that not everyone in Greece, Borneo, or Japan speaks English, and that most cultures have distinctive cues or codes that the foreigner will inevitably misinterpret. Most of the reporting is of disillusionment and cultural dissonance-cautionary tales for all who believe the global village is America.

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