Sunday, February 12, 2012

Introducing Erica (expat websites)

Sharp-eyed visitors to this site will have noticed the link (below, right) to “Expatria, Baby”. It’s the blog of a young Canadian woman, Erica Knecht, who lives in Japan with a Swiss husband and baby daughter. She reckons looking after one’s young child is the best job in the world. As a onetime house-husband and parent of first resort, 1981-86, I happily endorse the sentiment. I don’t know why more men don’t do it.

She has been writing entertaining blogs for time enough to have swapped links with several expats in several spots around the world. I’m her first link in Cayman, and she’s my first anywhere. Mine is by far the less sophisticated site of the two. I don’t even know how to partition a site among categories and topics. Maybe it can’t be done at; I’ve no idea.

Most of my items are commentaries on Cayman’s social and political scene, of interest mainly to local residents. New overseas visitors who don’t know who McKeeva and Dart are will have to identify them either from the context or from, our local news source and forum. Recently I have branched out into personal reminiscences of youthful travels (e.g. Zorba the Greek), and a couple of tentative efforts at revisionist history (e.g. The Children of Israel). At the moment, everything is lumped in together, and it shouldn’t be.

Erica’s site carries links to a couple of dozen other expatriates’ sites. Each writer’s experiences are different, and there is much of relevance to Cayman’s expats. There are hundreds of blogsites indexed at – something for everybody, in most nations and territories in the world. Among so many expats, I risk being dismissed as an imposter – an immigrant pretending to be an expat. If there were an Expats’ Club, my membership would have long been revoked. Well, maybe, maybe not.

We came to Cayman in 1978 with our little son as transients, intent on charging our batteries and bank balance in this tax-haven (our third) before going back on the road again. Thirty-four years later, we’re still here. We are citizens; we vote; we travel on Caymanian passports; this is our home. Unfortunately, a significant voting bloc of native-born citizens (descendents of European and/or African immigrants, all) doesn’t take kindly to furriners living amongst them. So when they say we’re expats and not “real” Caymanian at all, how can we argue?

My blog-postings, and my weekly newspaper columns, are written for all Cayman’s residents – native Caymanians, long-term immigrants and transient migrants alike. I have a reputation among them all for being a grumpy old coot who wastes his time trying to convert the unconverted to the virtues of human rights and fiscal responsibility and peace and love between the brothers and the sisters. Not a grumpy old coot who can’t wait to leave, but a grumpy old coot who can’t be persuaded to leave.

This is a small island-community of about 15,000 ethnic Caymanians, 15,000 long-term immigrants and 20,000 transient workers. There is plenty of scope for cultural conflict. New readers who bother to trawl back through my blog archives will see what I mean. My October posting titled Freedom of Speech is as good a place as any to begin.

Ah well, I’ve gotten off the track a bit. We’re here to introduce Erica. All together now: “Hello-o-o, Erica!” That’s the spirit. Long may she flourish. With the blog-name she chose, how could she not? Expatria, Baby! What a classic.