Friday, July 25, 2014

An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 10

I've been traveling out of the country this month, so I've been more reflective than usual on my expat life in Sri Lanka. My recent post on "Turning Lankan", probably gives you a fairly good idea about some funny things that have been happening. Luckily, I haven't felt any pangs of "expat fatigue" this year, of which I blogged about in part 5 of an Expat in Sri Lanka. It's good to feel blessed about the little things when there is so much upheaval and violence happening all around the world.

In this blog post I have a few tidbits to share with you...

Visa renewal process

Eva Stone photo, Crowds,Visa Section, Dept of Immigration and Emigration
I was pleasantly surprised on a recent visit to the Department of Immigration and Emigration ("DIE") to renew my residence visa.  In past years I've always had a sinking feeling of dread at the necessity to visit DIE. Yes, the acronym I've given the Department might have something to do with it lol

The other reasons have been mainly due to my past experiences of bureaucracy and time wasting. But, there have been some significant changes since my last visit. These include: improvements to the physical layout of the Visa Section; better staffing (e.g. an increase in the number of Assistant Controllers to check and sign off documents); optimization of processes and procedures; and the use of technology to manage applications and shorten waiting times.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Turning Lankan" - a checklist to help you figure out if you're going native!

A rather startling, but somewhat happy, thought came to me as I was travelling outside of Sri Lanka recently. And this particular thought was about turning into a local Sri Lankan i.e. going native! I know I know… you're thinking, "What the heck is she talking about?" Well, although it sounds a little strange, I think I'm going native and turning more Sri Lankan as my expat life in Sri Lanka heads towards its seventh year.

I'm sure there are expats around the world who have succumbed to what I'm describing in their respective countries of choice. If I were to guess, it primarily happens to those who enjoy where they're living and what they're doing; wish to continue their expat life there; and can't help but adopt the place and culture as their own. More often than not, I suspect it's an unconscious thing that creeps in.

Having experienced this startling but happy thought, I decided to put together a little checklist of things, which we could also call symptoms (if we were diagnosing an affliction), that might indicate you were becoming more like a local Sri Lankan.

Initially, I pondered whether to call it "Lanka-fluenza" or "Turning Lankan". The former sounds too much like an illness or affliction and a little negative, so that doesn't work for me. The latter is probably closer to going native in Sri Lanka, so I've stuck with that.