“Heidi Sand-Hart’s “Home Keeps Moving” authenticates the TCK experience. Her personal stories demonstrate the tangible reality of the TCK theories we have been reading and hearing about for years.” – Tina L Quick, author of The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

It's okay to like where you live...

I wrote a guest blog post for a local website on why I love where we live in London. Check it out:

Falling In Love With Tooting: A Guest Blog by Heidi Sand-Hart.

I first fell in love with Tooting whilst sitting in Sarashwathy Bavans, enjoying a masala dosa that transported me back to my childhood.

I grew up in South India for five years, surrounded by Tamilians – both Sri Lankan and Indian. The memories conjured up over that dosa made me feel at home and homesick at the same time. Back then my husband and I lived in “white, safe” Southfields and only ventured down Garratt Lane when I needed an “India fix”. More than once we breathed a sigh of relief at leaving the madness of the Broadway which we viewed as quite chaotic at the time.
Merely two years later we were excited Tooting homeowners, primarily due to how much more bang we got for our buck in Toots!


Continue reading here !!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

CHRISTMAS SALE!!



Hi everyone, I have decided to have a little sale ahead of Christmas to help spread the TCK word! 
If you order 'Home Keeps Moving' before December, you will receive a 25% discount on SIGNED COPIES of 'Home Keeps Moving'!!

You need to pay via PAYPAL and cover P&P.

Just email me for more info: homekeepsmoving@gmail.com

 
Enjoy Christmas shopping!! :)


Friday, 4 October 2013

Citizenship troubles...

The BBC has run a few articles this week about people giving up their nationalities for tax (and other) reasons. It reminds me of how I nearly lost my Norwegian citizenship two years ago...


My relationship with Norway has always had its complexities but because of my father, I was given Norwegian citizenship at birth. I travelled the globe on my Norwegian passport despite only living there for a year and a half (when I was 16).


It was while living in Canada (age 20) that I first realised it wasn't so simple. I was trying to renew my passport at the Norwegian consulate but they would only give me a year's extension. I learnt that for Norwegians born abroad (like me), there was an application process that needed to be done before turning 21 to keep your citizenship.


The summer before I turned 21, I visited my parents (who were living in Norway at the time) and slightly nervously went to the passport office. No questions were asked and they issued me a new 10 year passport immediately, a very good thing since otherwise I would have been stateless!


I completely forgot about the episode but decided to apply for dual citizenship while living in London a few years later. Mostly, I thought it would be cool (and useful) to hold two passports and I'd always felt more British than Norwegian. I got my UK passport without a hitch and life continued.


In 2011, however, my Norwegian passport was up for renewal again. Early one morning, I went to the Norwegian consulate in Knightsbridge thinking it would be plain sailing. How wrong was I?! I suppose it didn't help that I chose to speak English (a trait I've possessed since childhood, much to the dismay of my Norwegian relatives!) but the women were rude and hostile and continued to speak to me in Norwegian. I had my photo taken, finger print scanned, handed over the money and went on my merry way.


It was only when I returned to pick up my new passport that I realised those early complications of my transient upbringing were back. The lady told me that they were trying to contact the head of police in Stavanger (where my last passport was issued) to confirm whether I had applied for the right to keep my Norwegian citizenship. This all was news to me! Apparently I was supposed to have applied for the right to remain Norwegian before I turned 19 - during which, I was living in North America and my parents in India. 


She asked if I had applied and I told her I think my dad did it for me but I couldn't remember. She asked me for the paperwork to prove it which I said I couldn't provide. She told me to get it from my parents, at which point I gave her a little breakdown of the complications of locating a piece of paper while most of your possessions are in boxes scattered around the world! She told me that unless the proof could be found, I would lose my Norwegian citizenship. I could not believe it. That a nation could take away your nationality! That you had to apply to keep your citizenship and that they PUNISHED people for being raised abroad! I was gobsmacked. I always had my British passport to fall back on but I was quite hurt with the way I was treated by my fathers homeland. And their inability and lack of desire to understand a TCK/global upbringing. It was as though I'd betrayed Norway by growing up somewhere else - a decision of course, that was out of my hands.


Luckily for me, the chief of police in Stavanger came through and for some reason confirmed that I was living in Norway when I turned 19 (not entirely true but I did spend my birthday there!) and all was well. So my Norwegian citizen status remains intact and I have my shiny new passport...although for some strange reason, I haven't used it since...



Note: This drama occurred a few months before the Oslo terror attacks, which helped soften my heart to Norway considerably. You can read that entry here (it was actually published by The Telegraph).


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

TCK Art

Really like this and wanted to share it: so creative!!


East Meets West: An Infographic Portrait by Yang Liu

The artist and visual designer Yang Liu was born in China and lives in Germany since she was 14. By growing up in two very different places with very different traditions she was able to experience the differences between the two cultures first-hand.
Drawing from her own experience Yang Liu created minimalistic visualizations using simple symbols and shapes to convey just how different the two cultures are. The blue side represents Germany (or western culture) and the red side China (or eastern culture):
Lifestyle: Independent vs. dependentLifestyle: Independent vs. dependent
Attitude towards punctuality
                                                Attitude towards punctuality


                Click here to see the rest!!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

It's all grey

I haven't been prolifically active on here for a long time and truth be told, there isn't all that much to say. I have been trying to come to terms with life...just real, normal, bog standard every day life. The routined - housework, work, bills...living for the weekends.

I have very publicly documented my struggle with this very lifestyle ("Education vs. Calling" - Home Keeps Moving). Since I left home aged 18, I enjoyed a decade of fast-paced, frenetic travel and adventure - moving continually. That was the natural flow from my highly transient upbringing and I thrived. So what to do when the gushing river trickles into a stream?

I have entered a prolonged season of settledness (by my standards). I have been in London now for 4 1/2 consecutive years, albeit in 4 different houses. We now own a flat - coming up to the 1st anniversary of purchasing our very own slice of London. Our cat is just about to turn one and my husband continues to thrive at his job. I have done quite well, managed to find part-time jobs and charities to keep my mind from wandering to Asia too frequently. Life is good...we have everything we need, we live well, we manage to go on regular holidays and tick off new countries. But am I fulfilled? No. Will I ever be fulfilled? Probably not. I have had glimpses of being fully content in life but even those were short-lived and possibly something down to the folly of youth.

Truth is, one of the biggest struggles as a result of my missionary kid upbringing is this inherent drive to make a difference in the world. It isn't so much an expectation placed upon me as something that is embedded deep within. There is almost a slight guilt of living the simple life without helping the needy (something my heart longs for). Something I fear I will never shake off. Nor is it a negative thing...I think it is healthy to battle the harness of apathy - to challenge yourself and ensure you are still growing. However, when that questioning pops up on a daily or weekly basis, it becomes hard to be content within your current situation. 

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably always feel restless, always want to be somewhere else, that I will always feel somewhat like an outsider -- yet living with this constant drive to find fulfillment is a really tough one. It throws up a lot of questions for which I don't have the answers to.

As someone at a lecture I once attended said, "I used to think in black in white. The older I become, the more I realise there is only grey".

Thoughts, anyone?

New excellent resource

I am honoured to be quoted in this fabulous new resource for the expat/TCK world by Linda A. Janssen.


I have only started reading it but can already see that it is crammed with incredible stories and tools for transient people. Anyone who has experienced difficulties connected to a move will find this a comforting and resourceful companion.


The Emotionally Resilient Expat - Engage, Adapt and Thrive Across Cultures by Linda A. Janssen can be purchased on Amazon.


Thursday, 4 July 2013

The downsides to being a TCK

(In Italy, 2003)

My best friend is getting married in just over a week and she asked me to be part of her Bridal party. Problem being, her wedding is in Connecticut and I'm in London and July is the most expensive time to fly from London to New York. The amount of times, as a TCK, I've said, "If money wasn't an issue…". Well this is one of the biggest of those moments and it tears me up that I won't be able to see my beautiful friend walk down the aisle and pledge herself to the man she loves. 

I have missed so many key life moments due to being on the other side of the planet…namely, all of my biological grandparents' funerals. This year I was able to attend and represent my family at my adopted Grandma's funeral, Laura. It wasn't easy but now I know the importance of saying farewell and grieving at the appropriate time. 


(Most recently, 2012)

Having been to three funerals in a short span of time, I said to my husband that I needed to go to more happy events…i.e. my friend Stefanie's wedding. I was determined to make it happen and have tossed & toiled trying to find loopholes around the increasing flight fares but it just isn't going to happen. I am only now starting to admit defeat...9 days before the wedding. It gives me a heavy heart at a time meant for rejoicing. I will be with her in spirit on the 13/7/13 but this is a sore reminder of the downsides to TCK existence...