As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
Today we conclude our Family on the Move series with a meet up with Christine Biskaduros in Paris (not in *Ontario – but France, hahaha). Christine shares her experience and advice on how you and your family can thrive and be happy wherever life (or work) takes you.
Name: Christine Rola Biskaduros
Home Country: USA/ Philippines
Current Country of Residence: France
DDoA: Why is your family constantly moving?
CRB: We move because of my husband’s job. Matt works for a Swiss elevator company.
DDoA: How many times have you moved already?
CRB: Myself, before I met my husband, four times. Manila to Cebu (in the Philippines) when I was 9. My first move to the US was to Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a Physical Therapist in my 20’s; followed by a traveling stint for the different Rehabilitation Centers around Louisiana, where I lived in Alexandria (1 yr) and New Orleans (2yrs). Shortly after, I met my husband who himself had just moved from Boston. We had our daughter Adrienne there and after a total time of almost 8 years in New Orleans, we moved to Tampa, Florida. Our son Ethan was then born and after just short of 4 yrs, we moved to Johannesburg, South Africa (living there 3 yrs and 6 months). Now, we are currently in Paris, France in our 4th year!
DDoA: TIPS: Before leaving current country:
CRB: Do what the locals do and try to see and experience what the place has to offer. And when you have to move again, make sure you hire a great relocation company.
DDoA: TIPS: Upon arriving at new country:
CRB: Rent a place for about a month to acquaint yourself with the area and to help you decide where you want to establish your new home for the next few years.
DDoA: SURVIVAL TIPS: -What to bring and not to bring:
CRB: I have learned to substitute, adjust and use what the host country has to offer. My first, was making pumpkin pie for our little thanksgiving celebration. I had to make it from scratch since I could not find canned pureed pumpkin in South Africa, and it actually tasted better! I have learned to keep our family traditions going to provide some consistency and some kind of grounding for the family.
culture/communicating with non-English speakers:
Learn the language.
DDoA: Your easiest and worst move experience:
CRB: Moving is never easy and I must say the hardest part is saying good-bye. I personally prefer to use the line: See you later! We have taken advantage of the friendships we have cultivated, by visiting our friends in their new homes and in countries we have never been to, and would have never experienced otherwise.
DDoA: Your favorite City/Country to live in
CRB: For the moment Paris, because I love the city life. To be free to walk around it’s rich culture and be able to take advantage of the great cuisine, not to mention their excellent wine! I love how it has also made my kids street smart. But I also make an effort to visit the US every year, for its convenience, family and friends and the Philippines for the family, friends, food, and beaches.
DDoA: Your least favourite country to live in
CRB: Unfortunately, South Africa because of its crime. It is a shame since it is a very beautiful country and we made wonderful friends when we lived there.
DDoA: How does the constant move affect your children?
CRB: My children have grown without our families around us. We have made a constant effort to visit the grandparents annually and even have them flown over to come visit us. I should add though, that we have a strong family bond since we have to rely on each other. It is my personal goal that we stay close together as a family, that we instill in our children the importance of respecting others, and that they also achieve a happy and successful life for themselves!
DDoA: Please share 2 things that you have learned from your constant move about people and life in general
CRB: That LIFE is too short and that you have to live in the MOMENT! Even though we come from different backgrounds, we are all the same! Friendships do develop quicker and deeper since the friends you make become your immediate family.