Where Is That Confounded Bridge?
The Relocation Industry has to focus on the logistics, the gears of moving families, all over the world, to ensure they’ll be able to manage a life and work in a new locale - flights, visas, homes, taxes, moving of personal belongings, pets, setting up of bank accounts, eye glass prescriptions, the list goes on and on... Quite a trick, and quite a remarkable job. This experience is a particular one, one that shapes who people are and what they become, a human experience, the stories they make and take with them through their life. Here’s a story by Johan Harvey, a friend and colleague of Bennett, about dislocating and relocating.
Where is That Confounded Bridge?
When making new friends and acquaintances, it's always an experience watching reactions when I answer the question, "so, where exactly are you from?", because I've not been given the luxury of a single word answer most people asking the question are expecting. Depending on the setting for introductions, I might give the long answer - I was born and raised in Penang, Malaysia by a Chinese/Malaysian mother and Australian father on a diet of rice and Led Zeppelin, where I attended Cambridge IGCSE schools before moving to Melbourne, Australia at 17 to attend university, after which I transplanted to Philadelphia, PA and now currently reside in Athens, GA (not Greece!). One of my sisters lives in Melbourne, the other in Copenhagen. Oh, if you're not aware, I remark, Penang has the best food in the solar system, and the air is so deliciously thick I swear you could cut it into blocks and send them off to less tropical countries to be fashioned into massage tables.
Being a child in Penang was an experience I’ll always look back on fondly. School life was a constant flux of kids, their families in and out of the country in sometimes as short as a year. I had the gift of forming fleeting yet close, pure relationships with children from dozens of countries. Families would move there on business, within the military, doing missionary work, or other purposes that escaped a child's mind... but I recall the multiculture, the welcoming of new children from all over the world every semester, bidding farewell to departees that I’m still in contact with today, and the constant celebration of diversity in our schools. Besides, convincing a fresh classmate from Scotland to try some proper durian for the first time is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Indeed, I have so many international friends today that on birthdays, I receive well-wishes on Facebook for two full days of time zones - a pretty great problem to have. And, where are you from, Mr...?
If there's a good short answer I can give, please let me know in the comments, it'd be quite helpful at cocktail parties.
Where is that confounded bridge? Well, thankfully for the cocktail party-goers reading this, there's a good single word to answer that question - guidance. Guidance, based on human connections and personal experience. To this day, I’m grateful for the guidance my friends received that led them to me; I'm certainly grateful for mine.