±JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
±Compare Expat Providers
±Expat Focus Partners
±Latest Financial Articles
· Expat Focus Financial Update April 2018
· Expat Focus Financial Update March 2018
· Moving Abroad, Before And After Brexit
· Expat Focus Financial Update February 2018
· How To Navigate Brexit When Sending Money Abroad
· Expat Focus Financial Update January 2018
· Top Tips for Buying a Property Overseas in 2018
· Expat Focus Financial Update December 2017
· World Events And Currency: Why Politics Affect An Exchange Rate
extract from "The Expat's Pajamas"Back to top Back to main Skip to menu
Insider Service - extract from "The Expat's Pajamas"
|Author R.S. Gompertz|
It’s all part of the expat experience. When and if you return “home,” you’ll realize that whatever land you come from isn’t much better anyway.
So new expats take heed! Before complaining about what may seem like injustices, ask yourself honestly: did you invest the time up front - typically one or two generations - to build a relationship with the baker, the tobacconist, or the plumber and his extended family?
If not, the indifferent service you receive is no one’s fault but yours. Take time, lots of time, to build relationships. It may take years to become an insider, but once you’re in, you and your offspring will be treated like family.
An illustrative example: towards the end of our last summer in Barcelona, my wife saw some cute sandals on display in a storefront window. She ran into the shop only to hear a litany of reasons why the shoes couldn’t be sold: they were the last pair of the season, the line had been discontinued, no more could be ordered, and so on.
The dueña’s disinterest in commerce made no logical sense, so my wife gently engaged the storekeeper in friendly conversation about how quickly vacations had passed, how the kids would soon return to school, and how lonely those last sandals of the season looked sitting sadly in the window. Within minutes, the sandals were on her feet and she was reaching triumphantly into her pocket for a handful of pesetas.
At that very moment a panic-stricken young woman ran into the store and asked about the sandals she had seen in the window earlier that day. The dueña, looking down at my wife’s feet, appeared conflicted.
In perfect Spanish, my wife calmly and logically defended her claim to the shoes that, in fact, she was already wearing.
“Yes, but I’ve known this lady since I was a girl,” the dueña said. “Our mothers are neighbors.”
I’m still not clear on how the sandals were extracted from the ends of my bride’s ankles, but within seconds the other woman - the insider - walked out of the store, prized footwear in hand.
Bad service? No. Unfair? Au contraire. The relationship logic was overwhelmingly clear. Imagine the dueña’s shame if her mother ever learned that the sandals had been sold to a complete stranger - a foreigner - just because my wife had arrived first, thrown her money around, and started an awkward argument about “fairness.”
Rather than insisting, my disappointed wife left the lost shoes in stride. She understood that relationships matter more than money. It may take a generation or two, but she’s confident that someday our grandchildren will have earned the right to buy the last sandals of the season.
R.S. Gompertz was born high above Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, California. As a boy, he always had the sensation of living in a suburb of Disneyland. Gompertz has lived and worked as an Engineer in Paris, France and Barcelona, Spain.
"The Expat's Pajamas - Barcelona" is a short collection of humorous and occasionally insightful articles about his family's experiences, encounters, defeats and victories while living abroad between 2000-2005. He is also the author of the humorous historical novel “No Roads Lead to Rome” which chronicles an expat's near-death experiences in the Roman province of Hispania (Spain) in 123 AD. The decline and fall of nearly everything is set in the region between Tarragona and Southern France in a wild saga that anyone who has ever lived abroad will find familiar. More at www.noroadsleadtorome.com. Gompertz now lives with his family in the State of Washington and is busy plotting his next expat adventure.
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.
AXA - Global Healthcare
As the global healthcare specialists for AXA, the world’s number one insurance brand, we can help you get fast access to expert medical care, whenever and wherever you need it. All our plans include evacuation and repatriation, a second medical opinion service and extra support from a dedicated case manager if you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our caring multilingual team - we’ll always remember you’re a person, not a case number.
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.