Oh hey, Belgium
I hold a Belgian passport by birth, and a Thai passport acquired later in life. My parents grew up in Antwerp and moved to Thailand in 1980, not yet aware this would be the place they would build their lives and raise a family.
This makes me "international", an "expat", a "third culture kid"– yet, somehow not exactly an "immigrant". Perhaps because I am white and was born into a fortunate situation.
The semantics here are both totally aggravating and fascinating. In our hyper-connected world, the complexity of our cultural identity formation has never been as multi-faceted, yet we're still so caught up in an 'us vs. them' rhetoric. There is such a lack of terms and discourse around "global citizenship" (cringe).
The way I see it, my own national and cultural identities are more malleable, or putty-like, than average. Yes, I am a Belgian citizen– I can read and write the language, I can get in on the Flemish banter. I attended university in Belgium to explore my "roots", but have spent the rest of my life in other countries. But I am so much more than a Belgian, and so much less.
Back to the point: the Belgian side of me has somehow appeared in the national press a few times. I was most recently featured in Standaard newspaper's weekend magazine in a feature about Belgians doing cool things in London. The title reads: "the world as an office".
I was also once featured in Elle Magazine once for being the ELLE Business Awards: Jury Prize winner, a competition organised by a Belgian startup accelerator seeking young female entrepreneurs with big ideas (see my "Gypsy Generation" project).
I've also written a few things about Belgian people and spaces in Nylon Mag and other places.
So, here's to having words in press to solidify my Belgian-ness!