It means “made up of or combining elements from a variety of sources”.
Then the light bulb went on. I am part of an eclectic group of people…Internationals
When I make visits back to my home land, it’s a little odd being surrounded by people who look like me, think like me, & talk like me. Of course, there are differences because we are all individuals. But overall, I am in a sea of Americans when I return to the USA. And when I am in my international community, I am a little tadpole in a big pond of other fish! AND, I have grown to like that most of the time! So how did this change happen??
When I first immersed myself in another nation, culture and international community, I was far from comfortable! It was all so odd feeling!
First, there is the part of being THE foreigner. Some people accept you into their culture and way of life. Then others reject you, make fun of your differences, or push you away due to their shyness. “Oh, you’re the farang (or) the tay” …depending on the country and the language. (There’s always a term for the foreigner.)
Second, there is the side of being part of the International community in the country you live in. In one way, it unifies you with people from all over the world. You each speak some level of English and are living in a nation that is not your own home nation. But then, you come to realize, there are still differences and you can still feel like the “odd” one.
It can be uncomfortable when:
- You know the locals are saying something about you in their language because they keep glancing at you as they are talking. Maybe they are making fun of the language glitches or the food order you made or just the way you look.
- You want to talk with another international but English is not their first language (or maybe it is but they speak it different). So, you find yourself saying, “Can you say that again? I didn’t quite catch it.” And maybe you end up saying that 3-4 times after apologizing with each time…then finally you “catch it!!” Oh, they mean…...! They just had the accent on a different syllable than what is typical.
- You start to share about an event in the history of your home nation, and then you realize… “oh, our nations were on opposite sides in that event” (i.e. a war). Then you must find a way to redirect and sputter to a close without offending (hopefully!).