Friday, January 22, 2010

Mumbai Don says leave the USA? Here is What you Should Know!

If you're really set on heading out as Don Tenant advises, then I would recommend that you heed my advice. Where do I get off? Well. Your Uncle Drunky has lived and worked in more than a few countries for more than a year each. Why don't I do it now that things are reeeeally bad? I'll get to that, and why I call Donnie 'Mumbai Don' now. First to the meat: why would you go overseas?

  • The (opposite sex) is fresh, new, and hawt. Really a great reason when you're young and tired (for now) of the locals you grew up with. Sorry, ladies, you're on your own, for guys you should be reading books this one.
  • Learning a new language & culture. Again, bored with home, here's some motivation for you. Yes, ladies, there's a section for you.
  • The money. The dollar *always* gets banged down by the Fed, and the Euro, Yen, Yuan and any 1st world currency outperforms it every time. You send money home, and you get 10 - 20% on the currency exchange alone!
  • You move up faster within an organization because there aren't many others willing to take a 'hardship' or at-risk (to you, financially) post.

This should give you a great idea why the Indiots come here as 'guest workers'. And of course, like early Japan & China expats some go home to be little royalty in their own country. Yes, I'm annoyed with our Indian friends, but you knew that. Now you'll know why, because if *you* go overseas you'll face this:

  • Culture Shock. There are three stages and they hit you like a tsunami. First you're fascinated with the place. Then, some weeks later, you think it's a dump and everyone hates you. If you displace a local job, believe me, they *do* hate you. Finally, after going back and forth between the former & the latter any number of times, there's 'adaptation' where you finally figure it all out. It's kinda like marriage. To a country.
  • Did I mention that there are locals who will hate you anyway? There's always a reason but for the most part, it's that the guy who came before you left a situation a mess. If you somehow manage to clean it up, you *might* be the locals' hero. But don't count on it. That's why the US Foreign Service keeps trying to tell you that you're an 'ambassador to the United States' even tho' you're not on that cushy embassy package.
  • If you can't get the language & culture down in a year, it's a lonely shit detail that you'll want to leave. As soon as possible. I can't count how many times I had to help a 'tourist' out of a jam because they refused to learn the local language or didn't read what they were signing. Or were not *smart* enough to have a local read it for them.
  • If someone sponsors your guest worker VISA and it turns out to be the job from hell, in other countries you may be stuck between either sticking it out or going home. In short, financial ruin. And no, the US Embassy is not helpful in these or any other matter. You're pretty much on your own.
  • If you get into a relationship with a local, and fsck or get fscked over, your name is MUD. Again, you made your bed, you're on your own.
  • If you "survive" expect to spend two to five years or more learning the language and culture if you plan to be effective in dealing with these folks from the USA. Any more and you're pegged as a "gone native" crazy in your own country.
  • Oh, and unlike any other country, you owe taxes to the USA even tho' you live in a grass hut. Unlike any other citizen of any other country. The IRS *owns* you.
  • Lastly, the older you get, the harder it is to pick up a new language, culture, way of thinking. Don't expect to suceed at this in your 40s or 50s. You will get gray hair. If you have the gray, expect to turn it white. If you're in this age group, unless you have family over there, stay home and take care of your own. But you should know this, right? Living overseas is much easier if you're YOUNG.

There's a reason call Bhagwan Don "dumbass" -- and it's not a contraction of "drum'n'bass"... I'm getting tired of his "I did it, you should too, m'lud, kumbayah" crapola, for leading you guys down the primrose path of 'get out of your own country.' In my experience, living & working in NE Asia and the EU, multiple times:

  • 80% of the world just should. not. travel. Before the "ugly Indian" there was the "ugly American" -- it's not like the ugly gaijin, farang, gringo, gweilao thing is anything new.
  • Having been overseas and lived in multiple countries long term myself, there are only 2 types of expats; gone natives and tourists. As I said, 'Tourists' can't hack it for more than a year and go home in failure. And yet, they're the ones that think they're citizens of the world and your house is their house. The first word out of their mouths is "But I'm American"-- and it's frowned on just as much in China, India, Japan and elsewhere as "but I'm a superior Indian" is frowned on in the EU and the USA.
  • The other thing that you learn, other than don't shit where you happen to live (the host country), is that charity begins at 'home'. Why should anyone have to 'leave' and go when 80% of them won't cut it anyway?
  • Lastly, the US Government is the ONLY government that (double) taxes its citizens overseas. With countries in the EU showing them a notarized copy of your passport that you lived elsewhere is enough to alleviate the taxman. But with the USA, you owe taxes on (currently) anything over $95K. Isn't that cool? All the risks of going abroad, very little of the reward. Remember when Dubya wanted to cut the exclusion and make it a 100% double tax on overseas Americans? I was there, and everyone was packing one bag getting ready to head home because *it would not even pencil* to stay in a foreign country.

If Donny Boy was ever an expat for more than a year, he'd KNOW the above. As others in his little 'get out of your own country and leave it to me'n'my slaves' post have said, he's obviously being paid to write hit pieces for India, Inc and is playing willfully dumb. He reminds me of old stories of Tokyo Rose that I heard from my grandpa. And, as I've been taught and innately know, nobody likes a collaborator. Congratulations, Mumbai Don. You've earned your own tag on the Drunky Blog.

This is also why I give my little sahib Vivek Wadhwa a hard time. He's a hyphenated American foreigner with loyalties to the old country. And should know better.

So, dear reader, you *still* want to go overseas? Still, knowing everything I've outlined? Fine. Here's where you start:

The first thing you should do is get a book on how to live in the country in question. The 'Culture Shock' series is excellent because you're not just traveling like a tourist, you're going to be living there. The books on France, Germany, China, and Japan are great places to start. They also contain more relevant websites than what Mumbai Don copy/pasted from Google. You wanna go to the third world? Ooookay, here's India.

The next thing you should do is go to the local community college and take some language classes. They don't have Chinese? Get some tapes and DEFINITELY find some Chinese friends. If you're single and adventurous, date the foreign exchange student. DO NOT FUCK THEM OVER. Because they're doing what you want to do; basically taking the risks I outlined above.

Now that you've made some friends and have some insiders from the country you want to go to, all that's left is to set aside some money for the move, follow the prep checklist in the 'How to Live Overseas' books you bought, buy the ticket and get to it. Don't screw up, and don't be a jackass in the country you'll call home for the next two to five plus years.

Good luck, expat-to-be.. you're gonna need it. Mode change, Drunky rant back on....


[some other books by region]

"The Rough Guide First-Time Asia 5 (Rough Guides)" (Lesley Reader, Lucy Ridout)

"The Rough Guide First-Time Europe 8 (Rough Guides)" (Doug Lansky)

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