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zeichner
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02 Oct 2008, 3:02 pm

I recently started reading Tony Attwood's "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome" and something I read last night set off some loud bells in my head. One of the coping strategies that he mentions for adults with AS, is to live in another country - where social differences are more easily excused ("He's American, so of course he doesn't know what to do.")

I grew up in the US, but lived in Belgium for 5 of the happiest years of my life. A few years after I returned, I went to work for a company run by Vietnamese immigrants (about 90% of the employees were Vietnamese or Hmong) - also a very happy time for me. It isn't that I was any less socially inept at those times - but being an outsider in another culture seemed to outweigh any other reason I might be different from the people around me.

How many of you with ASD are now, or have been in the past, living in a foreign land? And do you find it any easier to live there, than in the country (and/or culture) where you grew up?


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Last edited by zeichner on 02 Oct 2008, 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

patternist
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02 Oct 2008, 3:06 pm

I have a foreign Fiance. Does that count?



Morgana
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02 Oct 2008, 3:28 pm

Yes! Yes! And yes! My social life improved drastically in Europe, where I am currently living happily :)
(I am American). I would recommend it, it worked for me.


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02 Oct 2008, 3:37 pm

I immersed myself in a counterculture world. I think the effect is essentially the same. I get along better with tattoo freaks and artists than I ever would with corporate suits or cubicle dwellers. Downside is dealing with the trendy, shallow, ultra-moronic public. NTs suck. Sorry, I know that's been said here a thousand times, but I'm sooo reminded of it every day. Are people in other countries as stupid, self-involved and easily (mis)led as NT Americans?



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02 Oct 2008, 3:44 pm

I recommend it too, absolutely! I've been living in a different culture for half my life, 23 years, and even today I get off the hook some for being from another culture. Also, being young among older people gets you off the hook a lot.

I lived in Belgium for a year as an exchange student and got off the hook a lot there too.


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patternist
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02 Oct 2008, 5:43 pm

I second what Willard said about the counterculture. Wheras to some it might be for fun or something they jsut fall into, the majority of my life it has been a lifeline and a necessity.



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03 Oct 2008, 3:53 am

You are definitely right about that, zeichner. I have always been more comfortable around people from different cultures, because they just expect me to be different.

By the way, I loved reading Stranger in a Strange Land. The story of a man, raised on mars and experiencing the social culture on earth for the first time is the perfect analogy for life as most aspies experience it.



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03 Oct 2008, 3:59 am

I have not done it yet, but I want to immigrate into the USA somewhen in my life and what you mentioned is one of the reasons. I also always got along better with foreigners living here.


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03 Oct 2008, 7:48 am

Many of my friends and partners over the years have been from other countries/cultures. They have been much more accepting of me because being from another culture, they expect me to act and think differently to them.

I also enjoy working with Aboriginal people because they usually prefer a LOT less eye contact.



anna-banana
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03 Oct 2008, 9:17 am

yes, my first foreign experience was moving to UK at age 18 and for the first 2,5 years it was a blessing- all my quirks were easily excused by my being from a different culture/still learning the language etc. after 3 years my english got a whole lot better and I no longer had an excuse.

I moved back home but after 2 years longed for a "change of culture" again. I moved to Sweden for a year and- again- loved it for all the same reasons.

then went back to UK but this time living in a different area and making new friendships from scratch so I was still given the benefit of being from the outside, yet I wasn't looked down on anymore because my english in the meantime got fluent.

I'm back home at the moment but hoping to move somewhere for a few years again, and again and again. I still have my old friends here but they have their own lives and I can't cope too well with the social expectations that people here have.

so yeah, I think it's a blessing for people with AS. I'm pretty sure I never would have developed such good social skills if it wasn't for the fact that I had so much training with different people and different cultures and just generally "starting over" and trying new tricks.


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0_equals_true
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03 Oct 2008, 9:59 am

I grew up in several different countries because of my dad's job. While it isn't a blessing by any stretch, I don't think it has to be a complete disaster. One of the major problems is that diagnosis is near on impossible. Granted this was in the early 80s so little was known about ASD let alone in developing countries. I was first flagged at age two. I went to see a bunch of people growing up, but it all fell by the wayside around 7-8. It is only through my own effort that was diagnosed at the age of 25 then again at 26.

When I was younger I made nothing of just leaving the people I'd met completely behind after 2-4 years, it seems. I never made reciprocal friendships, so keeping in touch with someone was not something that occurred. However this situation wasn’t so terrible in comparison to being put in a boarding school at 7 years old. Fortunately I managed to finally escape finally at around 14. My dad had been posted to Jamaica, and I jumped at the chance to get out of that hellhole.

The school I went to in Jamaica was quite unique, in that not only did it have other cultures, it barely had a predominant culture, as most were expat children from all over the world. I didn't think I fitted in or I didn't fit in. I just wasn't bullied mercilessly so it was a relief. What’s more some people liked me (if only it clicked). I also got away with murder. I did absolutely no work over the two years except paint a mural and write some short stories and poetry :D

It wasn't to last, but enabled me to avoid complete breakdown until later, which depending on how you look at it swept the problem under the carpet, or allowed me to survive adolescence without going crazy.

I share some of the experiences of anna-banana. It can also be the other way round: As a native trying befriend a foreigner. It might seem like a good idea, but some people adapt better then others and they might not be the person you first thought. It is not really a cut and dry thing. I like lot of different cultures/different backgrounds. I’m not fond of nationalism.



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03 Oct 2008, 10:01 am

0_equals_true wrote:
I grew up in several different countries because of my dad's job. While it isn't a blessing by any stretch, I don't think it has to be a complete disaster. One of the major problems is that diagnosis is near on impossible. Granted this was in the early 80s so little was known about ASD let alone in developing countries. I was first flagged at age two. I went to see a bunch of people growing up, but it all fell by the wayside around 7-8. It is only through my own effort that was diagnosed at the age of 25 then again at 26.

When I was younger I made nothing of just leaving the people I'd met completely behind after 2-4 years, it seems. I never made reciprocal friendships, so keeping in touch with someone was not something that occurred. However this situation wasn’t so terrible in comparison to being put in a boarding school at 7 years old. Fortunately I managed to finally escape finally at around 14. My dad had been posted to Jamaica, and I jumped at the chance to get out of that hellhole.

The school I went to in Jamaica was quite unique, in that not only did it have other cultures, it barely had a predominant culture, as most were expat children from all over the world. I didn't think I fitted in or I didn't fit in. I just wasn't bullied mercilessly so it was a relief. What’s more some people liked me (if only it clicked). I also got away with murder. I did absolutely no work over the two years except paint a mural and write some short stories and poetry :D

It wasn't to last, but enabled me to avoid complete breakdown until later, which depending on how you look at it swept the problem under the carpet, or allowed me to survive adolescence without going crazy.

I share some of the experiences of anna-banana. It can also be the other way round: As a native trying befriend a foreigner. It might seem like a good idea, but some people adapt better then others and they might not be the person you first thought. It is not really a cut and dry thing. I like lot of different cultures/different backgrounds. I’m not fond of nationalism.


huh :?:


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0_equals_true
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03 Oct 2008, 10:02 am

anna-banana wrote:
huh :?:

Not literally it is an expression :lol:



anna-banana
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03 Oct 2008, 10:05 am

0_equals_true wrote:
anna-banana wrote:
huh :?:

Not literally it is an expression :lol:


*phew* :wink:


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0_equals_true
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03 Oct 2008, 10:13 am

Actually, the son of the Venezuelan Ambassador shot his father dead while I was there. It was a domestic it seems. The Venezuelans used diplomatic immunity to get the family out of the country. As far as I know no one has faced justice over this.

That guy actually visited my house, my mum invited him over. We played mini pool. He seemed perfectly normal, but I'm not a great judge of character.

It is said that he was probably angry because of abuse his father was dishing out on mother, him, or sister, or more than one. However this is just speculation.

They tied to pin it on ‘yardee’ intruders, which was just ridiculous and a racist implication that some of the South American diplomats were pushing. Apart from anything else the gun used was registered to the father and in the area of Kingston was not like that.



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03 Oct 2008, 11:01 am

I was always jealous of kids whose parents were diplomats :p my dad was a construction engineer but he only took us with him for contract work abroad twice, and to fairly boring countries :( .

I guess I'm making up for it now though ;p


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