I want you, the reader, to consider something. Have you ever questioned, or even wished, that immigrants would learn how to join into Canadian/American society instead of congregating together within their own cultural/ethnic groupings? I’ve been guilty of this transgression. I’ve also seen many of your Facebook feeds, so don’t try and deny that you have as well. Hell, some of you are would openly stand behind these thoughts instead of doing the polite Canadian thing and just think about it to yourself. At least you’re honest about it.
Now that is all said, I want you passing that judgment on to me and pretty much 99% of the expats that I meet here in China. The majority of us English speaking white folk only hang out other English speaking white folk (there is a large disparity between white and non-white English speakers, but that’s a whole different topic). Sure, we may befriend a couple of locals, but even when we do we are speaking English instead of learning the local language. The hypocritical nature of us expats teachers probably doesn’t even occur to us.
So now that we’ve made it clear that I am guilty of this crime, I can also honestly comment on why it happens. The reason is quite simple really. In order to avoid the loneliness of being the other, we seek others on the outside of the majority. The human species is lazy by nature and seeking out others who are similar is far easier than trying to join the majority. Even if we do speak the same language of the majority, we are also the physical minority– a minority that stats out in a visually homogenous country such as China. Regardless of speaking abilities, expats will always be the other here.
Applying this to Canada, I am almost certain that the process is the same there. Children and grandchildren will adapt as first and second generation Canadians, while the landed immigrants will do the hard work of trying to establish themselves economically.
One of the benefits of being a traveler is that it opens the eyes and presents opportunities to alter pre-conceived notions and biases. It’s these kinds of thoughts that pass through my head when I have a ten-day staycation.