“I think you’re in the wrong market. You’re supposed to be in the foreign market.” …or something roughly to that effect. This, at least, was the observatory bit of advice I received from a friend a few days ago. Our mutual lack of serious knowledge in the field of economics is enough to verify that we were not discussing international econ; no, we were discussing personal relationships.
The domestic market, the foreign market. The South American market, the Asian market, the European market, and whathaveyou. Ignore the slightly disconcerting bit of possible objectification for a moment, please, and understand that we aren’t talking buy, sell, or trade.
For three hours, we sat procrastinating in the café, engaging in various discussions and debates (all high quality and classy, naturally), one such discussion being an overview and puzzling of recent developments and complications in my personal life, and the oddity that is the high percentage of internationals who play the supporting roles.
My friend’s explanation: I give off a more international aura, and apparently I’m meant to be in the foreign market, and not so much the domestic. Ah, so that’s why the Iranian/Kurdish housemate of the Cuban man I’d dated had no compunction in asking me out, unceremoniously dismissing what I thought was some universal guy code. Because I give off the air of being on the foreign market. Sounds simple enough, sure. Ahem.
An intriguing thought, though, isn’t it? By all means, please take a moment to reflect on your own market – domestic? Foreign? A particular specification of “foreign”? Maybe. What pulls you in, in what situations do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable, how do your character and interests translate across national and cultural divides, etc. Constant sarcasm, for instance, is a difficult one to translate, so those who are either unwilling or unable to tone that down may be most successful on the domestic market. …You get the idea.
The geographical politics of self-marketing. It was a thought that hadn’t fully occurred to me before, and still I hesitate to make broad statements; there are always exceptions, you know. In fact, I’d say the same thing I said when recently asked (yes, by an aforementioned member of the foreign market) what I looked for in someone: “Meh, I think we should try to avoid living by check lists when possible.” Sure, that was partial dodging, but it was also grounded in truth.
Over the past year, life has drummed one thing into my brain like it’s its job: our paths in life can and do take us in many unexpected directions, yielding people and experiences we never could have guessed or planned. In whatever market, let’s plan to embrace it, and leave the check list at home when possible.