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Us and Them: An American Family Spends Ten Years WITH FOREIGNERS

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What happens if you take an American family and send them to Europe for ten years? In the summer of 2000, Bill and Elisa Meara, accompanied by 2 year-old Billy and 4 month-old Maria, left their home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and moved to the Azores. There they experienced the highs and lows of diplomatic life in a small, isolated corner of the world. After three y What happens if you take an American family and send them to Europe for ten years? In the summer of 2000, Bill and Elisa Meara, accompanied by 2 year-old Billy and 4 month-old Maria, left their home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and moved to the Azores. There they experienced the highs and lows of diplomatic life in a small, isolated corner of the world. After three years in the Azores, they spent four years in London and three years in Rome. Overseas they lived in two houses and two apartments, went to five schools, used four different health care systems, experienced one earthquake, 9-11, the terrorist attack on London, tea with the Queen, the election of Barack Obama... and all of the ordinary things that families go through. They lived mostly with the locals, learned Portuguese, Italian, and a bit of Cockney, and made many friends (foreign friends!) They returned to the United States in 2010 with a changed view of the world. This is their story. …. Bill Meara is a U.S. Foreign Service officer. Before joining the State Department he was a Captain in the U.S. Army. Elisa Meara is a Garden designer. She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Billy and Maria Meara are currently students in an American High School.


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What happens if you take an American family and send them to Europe for ten years? In the summer of 2000, Bill and Elisa Meara, accompanied by 2 year-old Billy and 4 month-old Maria, left their home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and moved to the Azores. There they experienced the highs and lows of diplomatic life in a small, isolated corner of the world. After three y What happens if you take an American family and send them to Europe for ten years? In the summer of 2000, Bill and Elisa Meara, accompanied by 2 year-old Billy and 4 month-old Maria, left their home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and moved to the Azores. There they experienced the highs and lows of diplomatic life in a small, isolated corner of the world. After three years in the Azores, they spent four years in London and three years in Rome. Overseas they lived in two houses and two apartments, went to five schools, used four different health care systems, experienced one earthquake, 9-11, the terrorist attack on London, tea with the Queen, the election of Barack Obama... and all of the ordinary things that families go through. They lived mostly with the locals, learned Portuguese, Italian, and a bit of Cockney, and made many friends (foreign friends!) They returned to the United States in 2010 with a changed view of the world. This is their story. …. Bill Meara is a U.S. Foreign Service officer. Before joining the State Department he was a Captain in the U.S. Army. Elisa Meara is a Garden designer. She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Billy and Maria Meara are currently students in an American High School.

37 review for Us and Them: An American Family Spends Ten Years WITH FOREIGNERS

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joey

    The best Foreign Service memoir I've read to date. I tend to avoid memoirs of ambassadors and other senior-most officials, as I find them boring, focused too much on policy, and lacking a human element. The downside of focusing on the memoirs of the unpretentious is that they're normally not very good. "Us and Them" is different though. It's built around a theme, a point, which seems like it would obvious for someone wanting to write a book, but it's not. Meara walks readers through his gradual s The best Foreign Service memoir I've read to date. I tend to avoid memoirs of ambassadors and other senior-most officials, as I find them boring, focused too much on policy, and lacking a human element. The downside of focusing on the memoirs of the unpretentious is that they're normally not very good. "Us and Them" is different though. It's built around a theme, a point, which seems like it would obvious for someone wanting to write a book, but it's not. Meara walks readers through his gradual shift from a nationalistic worldview to one that tends to see humanity for what it is: humanity, undivided by ethnicity and ideological differences. He cites his family's experiences abroad as the catalyst for this shift, and he makes a convincing case of it. This book is engaging, humorous, well-written, and well-organzied. Meara chooses a thematic organizational schema vice a chronological one, and it works really well. Overall, a fun, thought-provoking work that probably won't open any closed minds, but should.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This was a surprising book written by a man in the US Foreign Service about the ten years he and his family lived in the Azores, London, Rome, and the Basque Country. He’s managed the very difficult task of describing the adjustments needed in each new place by his children, his Spanish-speaking wife, and he in his professional life. Altho I sometimes felt like I was drowning in details, I finished with a fresh perspective on nationalism and on the United States. Thank goodness it was published This was a surprising book written by a man in the US Foreign Service about the ten years he and his family lived in the Azores, London, Rome, and the Basque Country. He’s managed the very difficult task of describing the adjustments needed in each new place by his children, his Spanish-speaking wife, and he in his professional life. Altho I sometimes felt like I was drowning in details, I finished with a fresh perspective on nationalism and on the United States. Thank goodness it was published in 2014, before Trump. Ideally the writer would have provided less of an “at that time” snapshot perspective of each place and provided more context as he did in the discussion of Basque nationalism. Nonetheless I learned a lot about the differences and the similarities between how people live their lives and relate to each other. I would just like to have known more about the whys.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joaquin Phlathaguen

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Coon

  5. 5 out of 5

    Curtis Minsel

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allen

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Green

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rainier

  9. 5 out of 5

    Herb Thompson

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thor Farrow

  11. 5 out of 5

    Glenn & Kathryn Bukowski

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda L Simonds

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jean Welsh

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charles Tidwell

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gary

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paola Albertazzi

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Horner

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  20. 4 out of 5

    Doug

  21. 4 out of 5

    karen crossley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ivars Mizēns

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Easom

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beth Tanner

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris Nevin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pushtigban

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  31. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Pomerleau

  32. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Harmon

  33. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

  34. 5 out of 5

    Tony Manino

  35. 5 out of 5

    cheryl hutchinson

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

  37. 4 out of 5

    Sean

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