My boy was made in Italy, took his first breath in the UK, cut teeth in Hong Kong, was pre-schooled in Australia and primary schooled back in the UK. His sister's birth certificate bears a picture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge but her passport's a very regal British burgundy, which was issued in New Zealand.
The internet is awash with wild tales of expat life, all the money and glamour and luxuries, but we were (and still are) entirely disinterested in becoming the stereotype. We just wanted to take a great opportunity, save a bit of cash (hopefully), and set our family up for a more secure future than the UK was able to offer us.
The word expat is an unnatural one that has derived from a British sentiment of superiority deriving from our colonialist past that allowed us to assume our supremacy, since the countries we invaded were unable to challenge it. We need to get over these remnants of our colonialist history that are still ingrained into the British psyche.
In addition, nationals of 88 non-EU countries (including Russia) working in the EU are accorded the same rights as EU citizens by agreements between these countries and the EU. Why can't Britain become the 89th such country? As far as I am aware, this possibility has never been raised by anyone in the UK. And, once again, these are agreements with the EU as a whole, not with individual EU member-states.
What we hadn't put much thought into at all was the seasonal timing of the move. In hindsight, moving from a warm climate like Singapore to a Scottish city at the start of at least six months of cold, grey, dreary weather was never going to be ideal. Here are my top five things to consider before moving from a warm climate to a cold Scottish winter:
In his book, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman argues that the global market is becoming a level playing field with historical and geographical divisions becoming irrelevant. For many expat families, this has become the new reality with globalisation taking them out of their home country and placing them in new environments.
Apart from those who are not allowed to vote, 18 percent of British expats not planning to do so say that they find the matter too complicated to deal with. Another 15 percent state that they do not feel informed enough to make a decision. A lack of interest or influence are each mentioned by 9 percent to be the primary reason for having decided not to take part in the election.
While my travels have been daunting at times, there was one thing that remained familiar and readily available: social media. What was even more surprising? The notion that people just like me were now packing up their bags and making a living off the very platforms that served as my lifeline in unfamiliar territory.
Eight months after moving to Denmark, I'm now straddling that crepuscule between things being novel and others becoming the norm, so in this lucid moment I wanted to jot down a few observations, about my experience of Denmark and, more importantly, about the people who hail from it - an invitees examination, if you will.