“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 !!

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


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

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.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Good TCK definitions?

Some good TCK definitions?

Saudade - "a longing, a melancholy, a desire for what was and something that really won't ever be again."

Sehnsucht - "the inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what."

Know any others?!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

"Points of Origin" short-film

A really interesting TCK short-film by Erin Sinogba. Definitely worth a watch!

My favourite quote: "I find that being TCK makes me much less interested in Filipino culture, much less interested in American culture and way more interested in the base line humanity that connects us all. What joys do we share, what pains are universal?" - Pauline. 

Watch it now: 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Rest In Peace Laura Waite

LAURA WAITE: 1920 - 2013

On Saturday evening, my wonderful English grandma Laura passed away. I mentioned her in "Home Keeps Moving" when discussing the unique relationships TCKs form to adopted grandparents. She always felt like my blood-grandma since she was there right from the beginning and was ever-present in my life. Laura used to spend the weekends with us when I was little and take the 4am play-shift with my eldest brother Samuel so my parents could catch up on sleep. She cared for all three of us Sand kids like we were her own and taught us so much about English culture. Laura was ever-present in my life since birth, writing letters to me in India and sharing phone calls and visits in the UK. She did all the things grannies do and showered me with nothing but love and laughter. 

She had a major stroke just before Christmas and managed to hang on for more than two weeks despite getting pneumonia and then kidney failure. This is testament of one of the strongest women I know...a complete fighter despite all the hardships life threw her way. I managed to go up to Nottingham and see her three days before she passed away and the first thing she did was ask how my family was despite being in excruciating pain. That is Laura. 

As with everything in TCK life though, the complexities are great. She means the world to me and my family yet we aren't close to her immediate family so it will feel strange at the funeral being surrounded by people who don't know me or how much she meant to my family. My parents are in India at the moment and Ben in South America which makes it feel even more isolating during this time of grieving.

Still, this is the time to acknowledge what a privilege it was to have such an extraordinary woman in my life, to have shared life with her and to call her my grandma. May you rest in peace, you mean the world to me.