As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
Today we head to Calgary to meet with Sri Lankan Rehana Van Twest and listen to her wealth of experience in the area of ‘living abroad, again!’
Name: Rehana Van Twest
Home Country : Sri Lanka
Current Country of Residence: Canada
DDoA: Why is your family constantly moving?
RVT: Moves are work related
DDoA: How many times have you moved already?
Born & raised
in Sri Lanka – 25 years
New York, USA – 5 years
Nigeria – 2.5 years
Singapore -3 years
Calgary, Canada -2.5 years and counting
DDoA: Please share some tips…
Before leaving country
Update any documentation you may need; obtain international driving licence, vaccines, obtain school records for school aged kids, make memories with your dear friends and take only what you really need. Sort through your belongings and donate/dispose of all the junk you have accumulated during your stay.
Upon arriving in your new country
Get all your paper work sorted out. Open bank accounts, find doctors and schools.. find a place to stay…. make contacts and do your research (this could be done prior to arriving as well). The faster you immerse your self in the local culture, the faster you are able to adapt to your new surroundings.
DDoA: Your worst ‘move’ experience?
RVT: Nigeria … because of the safety regulations and health issues.. we were not “free to explore” as we could have in other countries.
DDoA: Your favourite country to live in. State reasons.
RVT: For now: Calgary, Canada -its family oriented and friendly. Good work/life balance. And so laid back compared to the madness and rush of Singapore
DDoA: Your least favourite country to live in.
DDoA: How does the constant move affect your children? your family life? your personal goals?
RVT: Some kids adapt fast and some don’t. Jadon took a while to adapt to our move from Singapore to Calgary. He was only 3 yrs at that time and was too small to understand why but old enough to understand that we were moving and not coming back to his “home”. Leaving your familiar sorroundings is always hard..and leaving your friends is harder. Our goal is to find a place that we could permanently call home and put down roots in the future.
DDoA: Please share 2 things you have learned from your constant move about people and life in general.
RVT: When you constantly move as a positive you are always exposed to different cultures. The experience you gain is valuable and cannot be measured.
On the negative, your friends are always changing….and never have a long term friend… but in time you will find that you have made ONE good friend in each of your stays… Also your life/home is never permanent.. it’s always changing every 3-4yrs.
So do… as Rehana van Twest advises: make memories with your dear friends where you currently are and when the time comes for you to leave ‘again’ take only what you really need.