I am always interested to hear what prompts people to leave the country of their birth to become an expat in another country.
Often it is due to work commitments, or simply a desire to escape to the sun, and where maybe the retirement pound will stretch further.
Sometimes people tell me that it is a book or a film that has inspired them, or set the seed for a dream that later turns into reality. It was a conversation along these lines that prompted one expat to suggest that I include a list of ‘Top Films for Expats’ on my Expat website and mobile Apps.
As I reflected on this suggestion, I dusted down an old copy of the film ‘Tea with Mussolini’, which I had not seen for many years. If you haven’t seen it, you really should, because although it is set in wartime Italy, there are characters in the film that portray much of what you should not do or be as an expat, and displaying a heady mixture of Empire arrogance and paternalism that is both amusing and infuriating.
Indeed, the story is not that far from reality as I have met many such characters in the last few years, both in Spain and the Canary Islands in my role as a newspaper reporter, who would be an ample match for the expat Brits in this film! Thankfully, they are now a dying breed.
It was whilst carrying out research for this new project, that another friend suggested that I add ‘Little Buddha’ to my list of suggested films for expats. This was not a film that I have seen, and it was whilst researching the plot on the Internet that I received a message from a friend in the Costa Blanca.
His mother, Anne, had arrived in the Costa Blanca for a visit, but before she had left, a well-meaning friend had given her small Buddha as a good luck charm. Sadly, shortly after receiving and carefully packing the Buddha in her suitcase, Anne had a large glass of coke poured all over her, ruining her new white blouse. Upon her arrival in Spain, Anne tripped and fell outside the airport, badly bruising her knee and arm, as well as her dignity and a new 200 euro pair of designer sunglasses. Not a good start to Anne’s holiday.
Since Anne arrived in Spain, it has rained incessantly, and the only time that Anne ventured outside was ruined when she caught and broke the heel of her new pair of designer shoes in a drain cover outside the apartment.
The following morning, when Anne awoke, she switched on her bedside lamp, which promptly exploded, shattering glass all over her. Thankfully, Anne was unhurt, but beginning to wish that either she or the Buddha had stayed at home.
I am not a great believer in the effectiveness of good luck charms, other than occasionally wishing that those who have a rabbit’s paw as a good luck charm have similar luck as the poor rabbit. Maybe Anne should begin to question the motives of her friend when she arrives home.
Perhaps the friend was jealous and really wanted a holiday in Spain too? By the way, I understand that the good luck charm is now floating somewhere in the Mediterranean, so if you should happen to find it, I suggest that you keep well away.
Meanwhile, I continue my search for films that have proved to be an inspiration for the intending expat. I now have a rapidly growing list, but if you have any suggestions, do please let me know.
Available as paperback, Kindle and iBooks. iPhone/iPad Apps: ExpatInfo and CanaryIsle now available from the Apple Store.
© Barrie Mahoney
Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/39145/
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