As some of you may know, I have always had the wanderlust. I left home pretty early to seek out a career, a passion and to see the world. I have been blessed to be able to do that, meeting people from all over the world in the course of my travels. Right now, I’m tucked in a little corner of the Hague, The Netherlands, as an expat wife. My DH was offered a job here more than 3 years ago so we decided to up sticks from living in England after 4 years.
This blog post is about the beauty of living in The Hague, what I love most about being an expat. And how a dinner party brought us together by just one small thing. Last Saturday, I invited the parents of 2 girls of DD no.2 Reception/Kindergarten class. Amelia says that these 2 girls are her best friends. Just like her, these 2 girls come from a mixed marriage background and who’s parents are Global Nomads, just like us.
So there we were at my dinner table, food spread out, drinks aplenty and the conversation was going well. Then it struck me again how ‘International’ my dinner table was. Hosted in the International City of Peace by a mixed Singaporean woman and a wandering Danish, the food I cooked was Chinese/Vietnamese inspired, one couple was English-Dutch & Peruvian and the other Polish & Ghanaian-Indonesian-Dutch. Phew…Got all that? We discovered how we all ended up in this city, what we all did and how it was an amazing experience bringing up our children in mangled English and whatever other languages they were speaking at home PLUS learning Dutch at school.
Then I brought up the subject of longing food from home, things that meant childhood comfort for me and I mentioned MILO. I saw the faces of the Peruvian lady and the Ghanian-Indonesian-Dutch and I knew that not only they understood what I was talking about, they knew EXACTLY what Milo is!! I proceeded to the kitchen, took my 1.5 kgs bag of Milo, set it on the table and offered it to them as after dinner drink instead of coffee. They were exclaiming really excitedly to their kids to come try Mummy’s/Daddy’s childhood food. Ahhh…the bliss I saw on their faces when they took that spoonful of that ‘magical’ powder! We even discussed for a whole hour the differing taste in Peru, Australia, Singapore and Ghana and yet it’s the same product.
No matter where we go, there’s always bound to be people who will share our feelings, our thoughts and our passion. We are not as alone as we sometimes think. At times I can think, I am so different from some of the local Dutch I meet, I have been living in different countries since I was 17, while they have never really been anywhere. My thoughts have been shaped by global events while they only care about their immediate environment. And yet, in the same environment pocket, I have people surrounding me who knows exactly what I’m thinking of, what kind of troubles I’ll have with being so far from family and the like.
The idea of one day ‘going home’ to either Singapore or Denmark sometime worries my DD no.1. She has been raised in 3.5 different countries in the space of 10 years and is so used to an international school environment that the idea of being in one school where everyone is the same makes her ‘clammy’. Right now, she has friends from all over the world in one class. Would that be the norm pretty soon in classes all over the world? With more people becoming economic migrant, would we have a global classroom some day soon?