Introduce yourself: My name is Deb. I’m from the Philippines and I have been living in Suriname since 2013.1. Why did you move abroad?
2. How do you make a living?
I work as a nurse in the Emergency Room. I consider it a really tough and hectic job because there are times that I can’t even sit or eat for eight hours straight. It is the ONLY ER in the country, so everyone goes there.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I communicate with my family using Messenger or Skype almost every day.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Suriname?
Suriname is a country of cultural diversity where I get to discover and learn the customs and traditions of people in different ethnic groups. It is also a relax country where people mind their own business and I like the laidback lifestyle.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Suriname?
Most of the establishments (offices, malls and stores) close early. The center looks like a ghost town on Sundays and Holidays. If you want to go somewhere, you need to check their websites or FB pages first to make sure they’re open.
6. What do you miss most?
I miss celebrating Christmas and New Year with my family at home. I also miss all Filipino food especially isaw, Lapaz batchoy and lechon.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
One of the best things about Suriname is that the people are really friendly and hospitable. Despite their different ethnic backgrounds, they unite as one group and celebrate special events together, so it is really not that hard to meet people and make friends.
I have local friends both from work and outside work.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
They believe in curses and voodoo magic. For example: Don’t pick up a coin from the ground because someone could have put a hex on it or don’t let anyone touch your pregnant belly because you don’t know if they are wishing the baby good or bad luck. These things are not new to me since I grew up in a country with hundreds of superstitious beliefs, too.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
My family and friends don’t have any idea about Suriname or where it is located before I came here. I did a lot of research in 2013 and Google showed me pictures of jungles and rivers with a population of only 500,000, so there’s not really a lot of information regarding it.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
It’s quite a bit lower in the Philippines as long as you don’t convert everything that you spend here to there.
The food and other expenses in Suriname are affordable and can compensate even with the minimum wage. Buying a car and paying rent are expensive though.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Learn how to speak Dutch, the locals will really appreciate it. Don’t try to compare the things from where you came from to here. Suriname people are humble and they live a simple life. Be open-minded and enjoy the new experiences with the country’s different cultures.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started blogging in 2010, but it is more about my personal thoughts and writings. Then in 2014, I discovered Wordpress and enjoyed how the bloggers/ writers interact with each other. I have two blogs: one about my writings at A Real Messy Beautiful Twisted Sunshine and my travel/ expat life blog at The Gypsy Soul Diaries.
Deb's blog, The Gypsy Soul Diaries
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