Diane Lemieux is a Canadian/Dutch writer and journalist currently based in the Netherlands. Born in Quebec, she travelled the world with her diplomat parents. She began her career in international development, working in Canada, China and Mozambique. Her writing career began during her travels with her Dutch husband and two children while in the Congo, Vietnam and the Netherlands.
In Lagos, Nigeria she wrote Culture Smart! Nigeria and The Mobile Life: a new approach to moving anywhere. Diane’s goal is to create bridges between people, to improve communication and empathy between cultures. She writes about cultures and interviews people with inspiring stories and international identities.
You can go to the best party ever, but if you are alone all night, it won’t be all that memorable. Whether you are in Canada or Nigeria, the Netherlands or Brazil, local friends make the experience of living and working in another country extraordinary. Making friends with Canadians may be easier than with Nigerians, but in both places the trick is to find someone you like and ask them about themselves, their family, and what they do on Sundays. Curiosity may just lead to that party invitation.
The time I sat with a local tribe woman in northern Vietnam talking (in sign language) about our two-year-old sons who were playing together with a stick and a stone. Mine was nearly twice as tall hers. Or the drive to the beach in Brazil, five friends crammed into a VW Beetle with surf boards sticking out the windows. Or the time I stayed with the Chinese family in their home dug into the side of mountain. It was Chinese New Year and we made dumplings together.