I know that many NoCrowds readers are expatriates and when I read in Friday’s newspaper about the launch of a new television channel called Burger TV targeted at expatriate Americans, I paid attention. According to Patrick Brunet, a director of the channel, “When you are an American living outside your country you miss two things: your television shows and a good burger.” Mr Brunet, you cannot be serious.
Ask any American expatriate what they miss, and it won’t be that. Nine times out of ten the response will be, ‘I miss my parents or brother and sisters or children’, sometimes we reminisce about places, landscapes, or times of the year, but in the 15+ years that I have lived ‘outside my country’, I have never once heard anyone say they missed “homely US dramas, game shows and news programmes.” For that matter, I rarely hear anyone say they miss a good burger. Food can loom large in one’s memories of home but a good burger, Mr. Brunet, is not my heart’s desire. More to the point, I’m not as stupid as you think, nor is any expatriate I have ever met.
Burger TV’s attempt to sell rehashed populist rubbish to overseas Americans deserves to fail and I’d put good money on the fact that it will. But I am really intrigued with the whole idea of national longings, what are the things we miss when we travel or live abroad and why? I’d love to begin a discussion of this topic and invite every reader to send me (either via email or the comments section) a description of the two things you miss when you are living or travelling outside your country. I would love to publish this material which I know will be much, much more interesting than anything on Burger TV.
And what do I miss most? I miss driving up to our farm in North Carolina under the long line of now grown live oaks, which my mother planted when I was a child. And not a day goes by that I don't miss eastern Carolina barbeque.