A year ago through Twitter, during a discussion on literature at #litchat, I met a fantastic woman, Anastasia Ashman, a US expatriate living in Turkey. She was talking about her new book, Tales from the Expat Harem, and anthology of stories written by expatriate women living in modern Turkey. Tales evolved into a huge project and blog, a “neocultural hub for global citizens, identity adventurers, Turkophiles, identity travelers and culturati of all types.” It is a place where “common interest + experience defines us better than geography, nationality — or even blood.”
Expat Harem has its regular contributors but also visiting ones. I am such a one, discussing the feeling of being an expatriate in my own country because of differences in language, culture, behavior. The in-country expat forced me to inspect and introspect what it meant for me to live in a different culture, and it reinforced the empathy I feel for all new immigrants to our country, and to my town.