Where Are You From?

The biggest surprise that a foriegner gets in Islamabad is that golden question. Yeah you got it right, don’t be surprised if you’re out in public and some complete stranger standing near you asks “Where are you from?” Not, “Hello, how are you, nice outfit.” Just “Where are you from?” I don’t know why they do this, but it happens a lot.These questions put expats in an awkward position. Either they are forced to lie and say they’re from somewhere else, which usually leads to more questions about their assumed country of origin, or they’re forced to be rude, or they tell the truth and then might become a target.

Any other common observations are welcomed for comments

3 Comments so far

  1. JayJay (unregistered) on February 16th, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

    Incessant staring, often with an open jaw…


  2. Nosheen (unregistered) on February 17th, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

    I guess expats are not out of this world and there is nothing specifically related to them in terms of the gesturees or informal communication ,it’s just that even we meet some new local stranger it is just a general question that we put “Where are you from” which is not intended to create a background and for being biased in terms of attitude and in communicationbut most of the time to ease out the start up conversation and to found some common grounds on which you can built up furtehr conversation and why Islamaabd only? if Pakistanis go abroad ,don’t tell me that they have never been asked in foreign countrie ” where are you from” .And following up on the world political environment that has come up over teh period ,i guess in foreign countries they are more interested to know for fixing tehir attitude ,dealing ,communication “are u a Pakistani or Indian”.So there is nothing wrong in puting this kind of gesture to an expatriate here in Islamabad.
    Nor any stigma neither any honey i guess is attached with the expatriates.It’s our culture here ,to get in to norms they need to be more used to it.


  3. Khan (unregistered) on February 18th, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

    Its a very natural question. i also live as an expat in a foreign land…and face the same question everyday… as an expat one shall be easy with it.



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