How Well Would You Integrate Into a Foreign Culture?

Some folk now and then will pull up roots and head off to some foreign land. I did it in the mid nineties without realizing it was truly a foreign land when I headed off to Texas.  I know, I know. How different can Texas be for a Canadian girl?  I figured since it was the same land mass and we all spoke English it could not be too different.  But it was.

 Locals for the first few months continually corrected my pronunciations of just about every word out of my mouth. Within a few months I was fitting in pretty good and the only give away that I was Canadian, or so I was told, is that I used the phrase ‘out and about’.  I embraced all things Texan and even though I have been back on Canadian soil for a few years I left a big part of my heart there in that fabulous state.

 But what about people that settle into strange lands and languages not even remotely related to their natural backgrounds?  I guess you can do it kicking and screaming or you take hold and launch yourself forward to enjoy, embrace, laugh, screw up, and then blog about the whole thing, taking all your readers into the adventure with you.

 As you know this is day three of my handing out awards to fifteen bloggers.  There are three awards, The Stylish Blogger Award, The Irresistibly Sweet Blogger Award and the Versatile Blogger.

The previous two winners were:

Colleen Brown at

Tricia The Domestic Fringe found at

 Even though today’s blogger has awards and FP falling out of her pores I absolutely have to recognize her great work.

She is Emily Cannell at

She is Stylish

 My twist on giving out the awards (in addition to one day at a time) is that I will list seven things about her without trying to make stuff up!

She is Irresistible

 1)     She and her family really are in Japan.  Reasons unknown but a good thing for all of us.

2)     I first found her when the earthquakes hit and her ‘Hey from Japan – Notes on Moving’ became ‘Hey from Japan – We are being shaken and stirred’. Which gave all of us a rare inside look at what was happening.

3)     She has a section on her site called ‘Culture Lessons Learned the Hard Way’ that can’t be missed

4)     Her site has had 50.222+ hits

5)     She Hurdles down rivers

6)     She has embraced different art forms and is not shy about showing her own results

7)     Her family is depicted as The Clampitts.

 Above all she is brave, (I probably would have left if not at the first shake then at the Nuclear problems that ensued after), she is eternally funny and the girl has heart!


She is always Versatile!

Congratulations Emily!  I am happy to follow you anywhere…at a safe distance of course!

22 thoughts on “How Well Would You Integrate Into a Foreign Culture?”

  1. Chris- thanks so much for this! I’ve obviously been out of the loop since I just saw this as I was catching up on your blog! Thank you for these words – I’d like to be that person you describe!

  2. I moved from Sweden to Quebec at the age of 49. That was a much more different experience than I would have expected. Lived there for five years, now I’m in Atlantic Canada.

      1. Sweden will always be Home. Nothing can change that, but I truly love Saint John, where we live now in the the Maritimes. I never integrated at all in QC.. my own fault.

  3. While it’s still part of the UK/Britain, moving from an urban environment in England to a rural one in Wales was the best thing I ever did. I love it here, and fit in much better here than I ever did in England. But I don’t have the temperament to fit in with an entirely different culture. I’m a weird mix of people-person and loner and some cultures are so socially-orientated that they make me want to run and hide, while others are so privacy conscious that I just want to yell!

    I’ll visit this and some of the other blogs you’re writing about, another time. Gotta conserve my energy at the moment.

    1. Hope you are feeling better Val. When I visited Wales a few years ago I fell in love with the country but I found the people pretty much kept to themselves. They were not rude or anything, just distant except for a bed and breakfast we stayed at where the hostess was remarkable!

      1. I’m still tired – nearly always am these days – but a bit better thanks, Chris. As for the Welsh, it depends where you go. In the North, they do keep themselves to themselves, but where we live in mid-Wales, people are friendly and very welcoming. Generally thought, most Brits are pretty reserved. Wales certainly is very beautiful – at least, the rural parts are!

  4. Susan. Moving to New Zealand in the 1960s was a real culture shock. Oh they spoke English with a strange vowel sound and the country was part of the Commonwealth but there the similarity ended. It was like going back 50 years. Everything was brought in on license. Cars could only be bought if one had overseas funds (lucky there) and everything closed for the weekend and also for two weeks at Christmas. And Christmas in the sun – well that will become a blog.

  5. Can’t wait to check out Emily’s blog. Thanks for the tip. We, too, moved to Texas (San Antonio) after growing up in Connecticut. Definitely culture shock! But we fell in love with that beautiful city and its wonderful people. After living there 29 years, it will always feel like a home to us, even though we live in Virginia now.

  6. Moving to the US was huge for me… even though it’s an English speaking country…. We live and learn and I don’t regret it. Congrats to Emily! 🙂

  7. Moving to Dubai from Edinburgh was a huge culture shock but not as hard as it could have been because, even though its not the official language (Arabic is), English (or at least some form of it) is the universal language here! I arrived in July to temperatures of 46 degrees centigrade, on the day I left Scotland it was hovering soggily just above 10!! At least the sogginess was familiar – humidity was over 75%!
    The great thing about Dubai is that 85% of the people here are expats – we’re all in the same boat so for the most part everyone is very open to new friendships. The less great thing is if you’re not careful you can end up stuck in a group of your compatriots and never really experience the wonderful diversity that Dubai offers.

  8. I did read her FP’d post now I have to read them all. Bridges, you are a true ambassador!

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