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There are some expatriate Americans who cannot live without their fix of TV programs and movies. This is aside from the military families who usually don't have a choice of where they are stationed. Some of these expatriate contractor/techrep people have their relatives and friends send them long playing videos of their favorite TV shows and haunt the video stores on the US bases to stock up on American movies to get them through the weekend.

They make no attempt to learn the native language or customs. I've known families who have been overseas for over 20 years and still can't speak the language, use the public transportation systems, or attend any local cultural/social events. They are completely dependent on the umbilical cord (their ID cards) that gets them on the local US base.

Soon after we arrived in Germany, a colleague and his wife invited us over for a social evening. They had a wonderful house overlooking a beautiful pastoral valley in a little town with a population of less than 500. I was really looking forward to this evening, because I figured these "old hands" would be totally integrated into the local community and we would meet some interesting people.

The host introduced us to the other guests...all Americans from the local base. He then told us that he had a special treat for us and led us up to his "Stereo/TV/entertainment" room. He then placed a tape in his video player. I still expected something special...a tape of the local Wine festival, a kayak tour of a glacial river, local ski trails, etc. What came on? 2 hours of the "Roseanne Barr" show...his wife's sister had been taping them and sending them faithfully to her "poor, culturally deprived" family stuck overseas.

My question: Why do these people go overseas in the first place? If they can't live without the Simpsons, Diehard I, II and III and so forth...why bother? Why not stay in their Levittowns, buy a home entertainment system on time from Sears and subscribe to the cable and HBO?

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