It’s a small world after all

When you have been an expat for 16 years, the term globalisation is no longer something you read an article about, it becomes life. But the most amazing example of that just happened to me recently.

At my kid’s international school, they organise an annual international fair where all parents are kindly requested to make a stand which represents their country. Usually the stand has a game and some typical food. The parents are not only willing, they usually go all the way and the festival is very cool as a result. The UK and US stand are always quite big, the Asian ones have fantastic food, Belgium usually pairs up with Holland, and I always lose Celeste in South-Africa in search of her boerewors-fix.. In short: it is an experience.


This year, I found Axelle in China, where a very organised mum was teaching calligraphy. All of a sudden, a small Asian girl, which I deduced was the lady’s daughter, came up to her and asked in perfect Flemish (yep, accent and all) if she could have a soda. Imagine our faces. So I politely asked why her daughter spoke Flemish. The conversation went a little bit like this.

– me “your daughter speaks Flemish?”

– the mother “yes, we lived in Belgium for years”

– “oh really, I am Belgian. And which part of China are you from?”

– “do you know Hubei province?”

– “I do actually, I used to teach in Wuhan”

– “I am from Wuhan! ”

Mind. Blown.




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