Dec 072011
 
Crossing Borders for Love or Business

Two recent issues of The Economist featured articles exploring international marriage and diaspora business networks. Let’s take a look at each article from American Robotnik’s perspective. International Marriage and You Most Central Europeans I know in the U.S. (“my generation”) have come or stayed because of love and its legal expression, marriage. In “Herr and Madame, Señor and Mrs”, the thrust of the argument is that even though they’re tricky to define and data are scarce, international marriages are on the rise because “they reflect—and result from—globalization”. The U.S. […] Continue reading >

Nov 162011
 
How to Be Homesick Without Going Crazy: Action

Stressful situations like homesickness (see previous post) elicit two basic responses: fight or flight. You can confront your homesickness by getting angry, argumentative, or violent (if you’ve ever wanted to punch someone who doesn’t know where your country is located, you know what I’m talking about). Or you can try to get away from it with the help of drugs/alcohol or social withdrawal. I say there’s a third way: embrace your homesickness. Wherever You Go, There You Are* Each and every method below rests on a single prerequisite: accept your reality. […] Continue reading >

Nov 142011
 
How to Be Homesick Without Going Crazy: Understanding

When as a transplant you find yourself far away from everything you know, you’re bound to get homesick from time to time. Because I don’t enjoy feeling homesick, I looked back at how I’ve not only combated but also embraced my homesickness and, I hope, turned it into something positive. To deal with something, one must understand it. This first of two posts will examine homesickness as a phenomenon. What’s homesickness all about? What a Feeling, Bein’ Homesick’s Believin’ The Oxford Dictionary defines being homesick as “experiencing a longing for one’s […] Continue reading >

Nov 072011
 
There's No One Here Who Knows You

“It’s not about who you know but about who knows you,” says a business adage. No matter how extensive or impressive your contact list or how many names you can drop, if you aren’t on anyone’s mind for yourself or your service, business success will elude you. Settling in a new country is like that. The post’s title is a line in “Peg of Old”, the 7th episode in season two of the HBO show Boardwalk Empire. In a main storyline, Margaret Schroeder, an Irish immigrant living in Atlantic City, […] Continue reading >

Oct 082011
 
Writing Across Cultures

Portland’s book and literary festival Wordstock is taking place this weekend. This year’s theme: “America Is a Story That Never Ends”. In the event brochure, Wordstock Executive Director Greg Netzer wrote, “America is a biography of who we are, and a dream of who we want to be. This year’s festival is devoted to such stories of American experience.” How apt for American Robotnik! I am attending both days, to hear writers, foreign-born and natural-born alike, talk about their own (and their characters’) challenges in the new country. The […] Continue reading >