Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Charm Of Foreigners

Oh, foreigners... they are so fascinating! They come at you, with their sexy accent, all sorts of different traditions, their stubbles, their air of adventure, offering another world ready to be explored. They are different to what you are used to, and that is exciting and enthralling. There is something that feels so mysterious, almost forbidden, about them, thanks to the rush of entering a highly risky (or at least much more complex) relationship: two people are trying to make it work despite their different culture, background and sometimes language, on top of their personalities.

I for one know that it was the first thing that attracted me to my now-fiancĂ© (followed by many others). He exuded adventure. I felt that he could transport me to a whole other world, different to anything I had ever known, and I couldn't resist it. The stars aligned or my chakras were clean or something, because he also found himself attracted to me, and we started dating. I taught him Spanish. He showed me New Zealand. He was shocked to discover that I had never celebrated Easter. I couldn't believe that children there don't really go trick-or-treating on Halloween. We argued over which meal was going to be the main one in our household (for him, it had to be dinner. For me, lunch was it). Well, technically, I was the foreigner in this case, as I was the one that came to his country, but you get the gist. How clichĂ© of him, falling for the exchange student!  But I can't thank my stars enough that our paths crossed on that cold day of July, right before our Project Management class.

There are many challenging things about this sort of relationship, and let's not even discuss when one of them has to go back home. I can't tell you how many times I dreamed of that scene in Love Actually where Colin Firth learns Portuguese and goes to Portugal to propose to Aurelia. Way too cheesy, way too Hollywood, and not at all real life stuff. Except it sometimes is! Like when your boyfriend who barely speaks the language, quits his safe job, leaves his friends and family behind, and jumps on a plane with you because he can't bare to let you leave (Vanessa Hudgens could play me in the movie...hmmm yeah).

My adventure with my foreigner turned out to be a serious relationship about to become a marriage. There are still small and big challenges and a few sad times (one of us will always be away from home) associated with being with someone from opposite ends of the globe, but it is also rewarding in so many ways. It opened my world to things I never would have otherwise known or considered. As different as we are, that makes our relationship all the more interesting and rich.

I found this article by CNN, where American women ranked the sex appeal of foreign men by country. The first in the rank are the British. Also on the list are: Irish, Brazilian, Swedish, American, Spanish, Scottish, French, Greek and Puerto Rican; you know, just in case you were dreaming of living your own version of "The Holiday".

Cameron Diaz meets Jude Law when she is on holiday in the UK; they fall hopelessly in love and everything works out fine. They live happily for 20 years until she realizes her marriage is no longer exciting. She goes on another holiday, this time to South Africa, where she meets this tall, handsome African who can provide the excitement her life is lacking and teaches her Afrikaans.*
*Ok, I might have gone overboard a little there.

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