When you move to a new country, you start balancing between your former and current countries – living in ‘Abroadland’. You’ll encounter various situations, people and places, and go through many changes and challenges. Sometimes it can feel like living multiple lives in one lifetime!
Our family has lived abroad eight years soon. So many hellos and goodbyes, homes, travels, projects, schools, hobbies, events… We have for example experienced:
• 4 intercultural moves across the continents: Finland -> Australia -> Singapore -> Australia -> Switzerland.
• 12 homes in a variety of locations and communities.
• Freelancing, studying, volunteering, being a stay-at-home parent, working in full-time employment and as a contractor.
• The ins and outs of attending primary schools in three countries – both international and local schools.
• Day care in four countries and nannies from two additional countries.
• Having a baby abroad.
• Repatriation back to Australia from Singapore.
• Lots of travelling
• Moving independently and once with the help of a company.
• Moving to a new country and continent with two weeks’ notice. Moving with only suitcases and once having some of the belongings shipped.
• The challenges that come when one spouse works in another city or travels a lot.
• The difference of living in a country where you know the local language versus one where you don’t.
I’ve been capturing some of the experiences into stories and drawings in the book ‘Greetings from Abroadland‘ together with some wise words from intercultural experts, with the hope of giving insights and inspiration to other ‘abroadlanders’ out there.
About the author
Helena Jalanka is a designer, foreigner, mother and many other. She comes from the land of reindeer and thousands of lakes – Finland, and currently she lives in the land of chocolate and cheese – Switzerland, with her husband and their two sons.
Her professional background includes working as a UX designer and recently she has been focusing on visual storytelling and graphic design. Her portfolio has some samples of her projects.
Besides working, Helena likes to be with her family, be in nature, read and have coffee with friends. She is also learning German by taking courses and drawing cartoons on “German for Mummies” Instagram account.
Her favourite quote at the moment is by her older son: “I live, wherever I live.” .