The Greatest Gift by Valentina Vaselli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://valentinavaselli.com.
(Replica) The Expats Geography - Where are you going to live next?
Almost every second day somebody asks me where we will go to live after Geneva. We didn't decide yet, as moving to a place means, first, to give a further direction to the Senator's career. But once this direction will be chosen, the list of places where it will be possible to end up living, it's quite precise.
Most of professional expats in the world work in military or humanitarian missions, governmental or not governmental organizations, financial or energy related businesses.
When you are in one of these circles, the geography of your world is different from the others: cities and countries are those relevant for your job interest. Those living in Brussels that studied in Brugge wish themselves next to go to Luxembourg and those that studied in Natolin wish themselves next to go to The Hague or Strasbourg. All the others would also consider as next Geneva and, for a non European experience, Washington Dc.
The energy people know London and Paris as well as the Lithuanian cities hosting oil refineries or the South Korean places where the LNG terminal are.
Whenever you meet another expat the talk always goes like "since when you are here? where you were before? when you think you'll go next?" and the answer immediately tells you what's the business behind it.
I was flying with the Viatrix to London, and to my great surprise, the British gentleman next to me appeared very pleased to have the Viatrix's company, then he told me about his six children and when he mentioned that he spents a lot of time between London, Baku and Geneva. I guessed right in a second what was his job in the oil and gas sector : the minute later we found out that both him and the Senator where at that annual big conference in Houston and they have significant acquaintances in common.
Taking by chance a taxi from the Geneva airport with a lovely scottish mother and her toddler, when they told me they are moving back to Aberdeen, I knew exactly what was all about.
Sharing a table in a restaurant in Croatia with two american girls from Dallas, one of the two told us she grew up in Jakarta and Kuala Lampur: not only we understood what's her dad was doing in such a set of places, but we congratulated her for not having to experience the expat compounds in Angola or Venezuela.
Searching around the net for expat blogs, when I read that the authors were or are located in Qatar, Nigeria or Brasil, I feel why and I immediately have a sense of empathy for their ordinary family tales.
Now, the real big question that we ask ourselves is not where are we going to live next, but in which kind of geography of the world we want to be.