Expat Magazine

EXPAT FUN: Foreign Countries, Warts and All

By Miss Footloose @missfootloose


Looking at the world

Do you love your own country, warts and all?  Do you actually know your own country’s warts?  As a traveler or an expat you discover the idiosyncrasies of other cultures and countries, but you also learn to see your own homeland with new eyes.  (A shocking experience this can be, not?)  It’s interesting as well to learn how foreigners see your culture and your people.

There are anywhere from 192 to 196 countries in the world, depending on your definition of country and the odd successful war of independence here and there.  Lots of fun out there to dig up, wouldn’t you say?  So, for your possible elucidation and/or edification I’ve gathered up several quotations by wise and learned souls describing the personality and characteristics of various countries, their own, or others.  May I assure you that these views are not necessarily mine?


Eating in Sweden is really just a series of heartbreaks.  — Bill Bryson


Many people are surprised to hear that we have comedians in Russia, but they are there. They are dead, but they are there.  — Yakov Smirnoff


Italy is the paradise of the flesh, the hell of the soul, the purgatory of the pocketbook.  — German saying




New Zealanders?


New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep, three million of whom think they are human.  — Barry Humphries.  (Now that’s just plain mean!)


Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy gets the Catholic Church. America gets Hollywood.  — Erica Jong



English bed buddy: hot water bottle to keep you warm


Continental people have sex lives; the English have hot-water bottles. – George Mikes


Canada has never been a melting pot; more like a tossed salad.  –  Arnold Edonborough


France is the only place where you can make love in the afternoon without people hammering on your door.  — Barabara Cartland.  (You’re wrong, Barbara)


Apart from cheese and tulips, the main product of Holland is advocaat, a drink made from lawyers.   — Alan Coren, British humorist

If you’ve been a loyal reader of this blog, you will know I hail from the land of cheese and tulips.  Advocaat is one of my favorite desserts.  Advocaat is a distant but more refined relative of English and American eggnog.  It is a liqueur made of egg yolks, brandewijn (a type of brandy), sugar and vanilla.  Depending on the brand, it has an alcohol content of 14-18%.  The original, traditional version is very thick, like pudding, and you eat it with a spoon, preferably with a dollop of whipped cream on top (sadly lacking on the photo because I didn’t have any handy).  If you happen to pass through Schiphol, Amsterdam Airport, you’ll find it in the duty free shops.  There is an inferior tourist version that is more liquid, but forget that.  Get the real deal and eat it with a spoon, or put it on ice cream, or make lovely desserts and mixed drinks with it.  If  you cannot lay your hands on a bottle and you’re really desperate you can make it yourself.  Here’s a recipe for advocaat.  I’ve never made it myself, so don’t give me grief if it doesn’t work out.


I like Ireland because it means I’m near France. – Harry Harrison


Rioting is a Kenyan thing.  If they didn’t do it, they’d be Tanzanian.   — Dr. Mavura from Tanzania



A tiny portion of all the cheeses in France

How can you expect to govern a country that has two hundred and forty-six kinds of cheese?  — Charles de Gaulle


In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.  — Orson Welles

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