The darker side of expat life in the Seychelles

Two weeks ago we were burgled.

I’d love to say that it was the first time since we’ve lived here.  Sadly, it isn’t.
It’s taken me all this time to write about it.  This blog is usually reserved for all the nice things in our lives.  A record of our sons growing up and all the beautiful things about living in the Seychelles.  But, I need to write this down, as much as I’d rather forget it, I think that it’s starting to become a worrying part of life here so it would be wrong of me not to record this. The darker side of expat life in the Seychelles

The darker side of expat life in the seychelles

When we moved to Praslin, our little island in the Seychelles, we were naive.

We felt so safe, in a little beautiful, tropical bubble.
The darker side of expat life in the Seychelles
Our house was a little one level two bed place.  We left our doors unlocked, and curtains open a lot of the time.  We forgot that there are bad people all over the world.

Things started small.  Our neighbours and us had some flip flops stolen from the front of our houses, our hammock was stolen from the front of the house while we were away on Mahe, things like that.

It stepped up a notch when there was a pevert at my window while I was at home alone with Arthur one night when he was small.  I was stupid for leaving curtains open I know, but in my defence my bedroom was at the back of the house and there was a big garden behind for a house I knew was empty.  Therefore someone had to come looking to see in which I wouldn’t dream about happening here.
The worst thing about it for me was that he tried to get my attention.  What was he expecting to happen, I’d let him in?!  Anyway I screamed at him and he ran off.  The next morning we discovered that he had moved a gas bottle had been moved so that he could look through the bathroom window which was quite high so he’d watched me in the shower as well.
I honestly felt truly violated and it took me a long time to sleep properly again.  I also don’t think it wasn’t coincidence that it was at this time I got a taste for rum!!

We decided to move house after our neighbours also had incidents along similar lines and our landlord was not prepared to do anything to improve security.  We were pretty certain it was just one disgusting guy targeting us all so moving away from the area would help!

So, we moved into our lovely new house, it was fenced in and we felt so safe all over again.

A couple months later my bike was stolen from the garden.  We were annoyed and upset, but had left it unlocked so had to accept that it was sort of out on display asking to be taken!   However, this was the most valuable thing we’d had stolen, before that, as I mentioned it was minor things.

Then nothing happened to us for another few months.  Our new landlords also own the house next to ours and they had been renovating it, they went away one weekend and came back and the TV had been stolen, they had broken in through the patio doors.  We have two sets of patio doors in our house, our landlords put extra bolts on one set but the others worked differently so they left those while they decided the best way to deal with those ones.
We had no problems until we went away to Mahe to have Freddie.  We were gone for two weeks.  Fortunately for us, as long as we’ve lived in the Seychelles we have locked our real valuables away in a safe place away from our house whenever we’ve gone away.  We were recommended to do this because we have been told petty theft is a problem here although originally we’d never seen it as an issue ourselves.  I’m so pleased we took that advice now!
Anyway, someone broke in through our patio doors.  They raided our alcohol cupboard and took about £200 worth of spirits and wine.  (We aren’t big drinkers by the way but we do like nice bottles of spirits!!)
They were even brazen enough to drink a whole bottle of Whisky while they were here and put the empty bottle back into the box!!  Randomly they also took 4 pairs of Marks shorts, but like old ones he would only wear round the house!!
Again, we were really upset with this.  We did know however that the patio doors were a weak spot on the house.  Annoyingly our landlord had put deadbolts on one set of our patio doors before we’d gone to Mahe but not another.
The whole thing was a surreal experience, it was the day we were bringing Freddie home from hospital and all of a sudden we were dealing with police and security.  Such a shame to have to deal with that on what should have been such a special day.  The good thing was that the police did get fingerprints from the bottle of whisky that was put back in the box and so hopefully something will come out of that – although that hasn’t happened yet!

Even at this point we didn’t feel too concerned for our security, we figured that these people had been watching the house, the same as what had happened next door, and knew that it was empty.  We also knew it could have been a lot more costly for us had we not locked things other items away!!

Then last week while we were all asleep someone came into our house.
Freddie woke up around 1 so I got up to feed him.  I reached for my iPad like I do every night to check the time and it wasn’t there.  I was sure I’d put it on charge on my bedside table but figured I must have left it downstairs.
After being annoyed that I couldn’t use my iPad while I was feeding I woke up more and realised that I was really sure I’d had it when I went to bed.  I then went downstairs to have a look around, I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I went back up to bed and tried to see if I’d accidently left it in the bed before I went to sleep, this woke Mark up.  He confirmed that I had definitely had it upstairs, we looked around the room and realised that a few other things were also missing.  We had definitely been burgled.
They had came upstairs into our bedroom, they took my iPad and a portable speaker and emptied our wallets (luckily there wasn’t much in them) they also took our external hard drive which had all our movies on.
We discovered that they had come in through the back door which was unlocked.  We never use this door, ever.  It could have been unlocked for ages, we know it was locked when we came back from Mahe as we checked all the doors then.  We don’t know who unlocked it, it really could have been anyone.
The thing is, is that someone came into our garden with the intention of breaking in.  As I mentioned, our garden is fenced so you don’t just stumble upon the back door.  This person would have had to come up to the door to test it, you don’t do that in the middle of the night unless your intention is to break in, it just so happened that their job was made a little easier by our negligence.

That night, after the realisation sunk in that someone had been in the house while we were there, my heart broke and I burst into tears.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what would have happened if one of us had woken up, would they have ran away, would it have got violent, did they have a weapon with them in case that happened?  I feel physically sick at the idea of it.

It’s been two weeks now and I can’t get over it.
Every time I wake up to feed Freddie I can’t get back off to sleep, I hear noises that sound like someone is in the house, I swear I see movement out of the corner of my eye.
I know that eventually, this will get better, but I wonder if it should get better.  Should I always be this alert now, just in case?

We now have a puppy, Koopa, who sleeps outside.
The darker side of expat life in the seychelles
He is here not only as our family pet, but also as our alarm, to bark if someone comes onto the property.  Right now he’s not really a force to be reckoned with but any noise is a deterrent to thieves.

Last week, we found out that our friends living near by were burgled.  They broke in through a window while they were out.
Another of our friends has just moved house to the other side of the island after being broken into on numerous occasions and having hundred of pounds worth of stuff taken.

It is becoming increasingly clear that expats are being targeted.   There is a growing drug problem here.  Unfortunately that results in an increase in petty crime to fund drug habits.
Aside from the drug problem though, we have been told on numerous occasions that there are many who feel no stigma in regards to theft here.  That it’s ok to steal from those who have more than you.

We are stepping up security in our home to help protect us from people getting in. We know that, in reality if someone really wants to break in, they will always find a way but we want do make it as difficult for them as possible.
We are also seriously considering moving house as for some reason, there seems to be dramatically fewer problems with crime on the other side of the island.  However, we don’t just want to rush and move anywhere, it’s obviously a big deal to move house with two small children and a puppy, and we have to ensure we move into a place that can meet our needs.
I don’t want to feel like I’m running away, like these people judge won but our family’s safety must come first!

I want to add that by no means had this made me feel that we should leave the Seychelles. Theft and other similar crimes are unfortunately a side effect of living somewhere where there is a large economical divide. This is something that we have now experienced first hand and through our friends. It’s a sad thing, however we do still love living here and there are so many wonderful things about living here.
We are using it all as a lesson to never be sloppy with security, wherever we are in the world, and to remember that as much as we don’t like it, there are ‘bad’ people wherever you go, including a tropical paradise!

 

***update 10/05/2017 I have written a post reflecting on this and about crime in the Seychelles, take a read**

 

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Hospital Diary part 1

I wrote a little diary while I was in hospital having Freddie, so I thought I’d share it on the blog!!

I’ll start off with part one, my admission into hospital the day before my Caesarian.
Seychellesmama hospital diary part 1
Hospital Diary part 1:
10/08/15
This morning at 10am I came to hospital for admission.
The maternity ward has been moved up a floor since when I had Arthur.  It’s not perfect by any means but it’s a lot better.  There is air con, and the walls are A LOT fresher.

I was taken to a little room with Mark and had the monitor strapped to me for around half an hour.   The view from the window was lovely, we were looking right out onto the botanical gardens!
Mahe botanical gardens, view from admission room Victoria hospital
The nurse didn’t really look at the graph when it was finished, anyway it was pretty unreadable as the machine was pretty much just chewing up the paper!!
I was asked a few questions about my health and then came the question on religion!  I said I had none, the nurse seemed ok with this but then pointed at me and said “but you believe in God right!?”  Cue me feeling very awkward “ummmm no……sorry”  He didn’t say anything.  We’ve been here before, everyone is religious in the Seychelles, mostly catholic, and no one can understand that we are not.
The nurse disappeared off for a little while and I was then taken to what I can only describe as a waiting room for women waiting to have their babies.
I remember how bored I was last time on this day when I had Arthur.
I’m sure it’s dragged even more this time, I passed the time by doing a cross stitch I’ve been meaning to do forever!  My plan was that I would really make the most of this time alone and prep lots of blog posts (no internet!!) as its a rarity and soon it will be even more so, but I’m feeling nervous and anxious and not very motivated to do anything.  Writing this is helping my nerves though!

Last time I was in a room by myself all day, this time the room has been full on and off all day.  There’s three other women who have been here since I have and two other women have come and gone, not sure where they certainly weren’t in final stages of labour and weren’t prepped for surgery or anything!
I remember that it was hot in the room last time but I am so relieved there is air con now!!   There’s no nice view in this room, we are looking out on the back of the building and onto another hospital building, the space between the two frankly looks like a bit of a dumping ground!
I’ve been told I can eat and drink until midnight.  I’ve also been told that the anaesthetist will be round to see me at some point this evening.
Mark, his Mum and Arthur came to visit for a couple hours this afternoon.  Apparently Arthur had been as good as gold all day but it was lovely to see how excited he was to see me when he got here!   We gave him his Pirate Pete I’m a new big brother
book to read while I’m in hospital! He read it at bed time with daddy and loved it.
The rest of the day was very dull!  I was told the  anaesthetist would come and see me at some point, that never happened!
Midwives came to do their last checks at about 11 so got to sleep sometime after that.  My sleep, unsurprisingly was very broken after all the next day I’d be having our second baby!!!

I’ve had a lot of pregnancy ‘guilt’ this time around, fueled entirely by my worry for how Arthur would cope, firstly being away from me for a few days which he never has been before and secondly how he would deal with the huge change becoming a brother would entail.

I realise that it sounds sort of ridiculous to worry so much about how Arthur will ‘cope’ without me. I’ll be honest, I think it’s just as much a sadness for me to be away from him!!

Soon I’ll share my hospital diary part 2 aka Freddie’s birth story!!

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38 weeks pregnant

I had written this post while we were on Mahe getting ready to have Freddie!  Thought I’d publish this so I can look back on it and have the complete bump update set!!   Better late than never right!?  Oh, and I rather rubbishly didn’t take a bump selfie, oops! But anyway, here it is!

38 weeks pregnant

I’m 38 weeks pregnant!!  I’m on Mahe as I write this and the Internet where we are staying is appalling so in all likeliness this won’t actually be published until after I’ve had our little boy bump!!

Weight: 66.6kg (apparently!!)

I had my final midwife appointment this week, near to where we are staying on Mahe.  The health clinic was much bigger, newer and generally seemed a lot more organised than my little one on Praslin!
Of course there was a slight problem-what’s a trip to the midwife for me without one!?  I had nothin in my notes confirming I was actually having a Caesarian!! The midwife rang my midwife on Praslin, clearly she didn’t give the right info as the midwife then had to call the surgeon directly!  He knew (off the top of his head, which I was pretty impressed with!) that I was booked in with him on Tuesday the 11th and that I’d had a previous Caesarian! So, minor panic over!!

The scales said I weighed 66.6kg!  The midwife laughed and I was not concerned, different scales after all, and I know there’s no way I’ve lost a kg!!

This week I’ve been up and down quite a lot emotionally!  I’m obviously getting really excited now but nerves and anxiety are bubbling close to the surface too!
I’m sure that it’s not helped that we’ve not been sleeping well either.  On top of the usual multiple wakings for being a big pregnant mama, being on Mahe, we’ve had Arthur in with us and he’s been in a cot as opposed to his big boy bed he’s now used to.  On his best day he woke up at 5:30 but it’s been more like 4:30-5:00 most days.  We’ve even had a 2:45am wake up….not cool!!!

We are trying to make this time a bit of a holiday and getting out and about as much as we can, obviously this is wearing me out lots but it’s nice having the time together, we’ve got Mark’s mum here too which is really nice!

I’ve still not got my hospital bag 100% packed!!  Everything for the baby is in there which is the most important I guess!  I’ve thrown in a couple of maternity tops for myself, and that is it, whoops!!
As I’m writing I’ve got lots of the things for me drying after they were washed this morning so I’m not completely unorganised!!
I do also have some books for Arthur packed in there!

I actually have all my notes from when I had Arthur here with me, I need to take pics of them and I’ll write a comparison post- one day! That will be nice for me to do as I wasn’t blogging when I was pregnant with Arthur and don’t have any written record for myself!!

While I’m in hospital I’m going to do my best to write as much of it all down as possible as it all so quickly becomes a blur!

So, this is officially my last weekly bump update!  Looking back, all of a sudden the last 9 months feel like they’ve flown by!
I’ve loved writing these little posts week by week and I know it will be nice to look back on at a later date!!

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26 months!

26 months!

Arthur is 26 months old!

This boy has been truly truly amazing this month!  I couldn’t be prouder of him!

His little life has really been turned upside down and I can’t believe how he’s just taken it all in his stride!

We went to Mahe at the start of the month and he had lots of fun while we were there.

Something that really surprised me was that Arthur has seemingly developed a fear of flying! We took a flight to Mahe and back and Arthur was truly terrified. He was really excited watching them in the airport and is always excited when we see them at home. He was a little uncertain when we were sat in our seats but then the engine came on – which to be fair is very loud on the little prop planes. He was then really scared. When we took off I thought he’d be ok but when he looked out the window he was terrified. I felt so sad for him. I don’t know where this fear has come from, perhaps it was because it was the first time he truly understood what was going on? Anyway, I hope it’s not a permanent thing, it would be horrible for him to be scared of flying!

We met Mark’s mum on arrival and it had been a year since she had seen Arthur.  He definitely lapped up all the attention from his Gran!

For a week we all had lots of time at the pool and beach.

After a week I went into hospital to have Freddie.  I was in for a total of 4 days which is the longest Arthur and I have ever been apart.  I had been so worried about how Arthur would be for this but by all accounts, he was a very good boy!!
He, Daddy and Gran all were very busy with trips to the pool and to the beach. Sounds like they had a wonderful time!

When they came to visit me in hospital Arthur was also really well behaved.  He seemed to understand that I was not able to move around very well (or at all the day of c-sec)

He also took to Freddie straight away!!  There has been no jealousy at all.
If we don’t bring Freddie down at the same time as Arthur in the morning he’s asking after him and is so happy when he sees him.
Arthur just can not get enough of his baby brother.  He just wants to be near him all the time.

We wondered if we perhaps would get any problems once we got back home to Praslin but he just keeps getting more and more affectionate to Freddie!  We really couldn’t be more proud!

When we got back to Praslin marks dad joined us so he’s got gran and grandad fussing over him here!

Arthur now knows lots of colours.  He can say and identify:
Blue
Green
Red
Pink
Purple
He also has Yellow and Orange but they aren’t totally pronounced right yet!!
He loves pointing out the colours of everything!

At the moment he’s really into playing in the car.  We have two here at the moment, with Marks parents being here we borrowed a Moke and Arthur thinks it’s so much fun to crawl around in!

I’m aware I’m probably about to ruin everything by saying this, but, we’ve had more nap times again this month!  We’ve still had some fails too don’t get me wrong! But it hasn’t happened as frequently!!

We had Arthur’s two year check up with the midwife.  He had to make a tower with little blocks (which he aced since that’s his favourite thing to do!) he also very proudly told the lady what colours they all were!
She gave him a little doll which he had to “feed” with a bottle and point out eyes nose etc all of which he did fine!
He was then given a bit of paper with some really rubbishy drawings of a bird a dog a cat and a horse. She asked him which one flies, which I knew he wouldn’t be able to answer.  By this point he had lost interest anyway and wouldn’t tell us anything about them.  I know he’d be able to tell her what all the animals were but whether or not she believed me is another thing!!!

His weight was 12.7kg
His height was 92cm
I also measured his feet the other day which were 14cm

So I’m not sure if Arthur “passed” his check up but I thought he did very well!!

Mark is back at school next week so it will be very interesting to see how that goes! Arthur has become very close with his Daddy and gets sad if he ever goes anywhere without him so we might have some issues with that!!
I hope that Arthur will continue to love his little brother, I am excited to see how their relationship continues to grow!

My parents arrive in a week and Arthur will love all the attention he will get!

I’ll be back next month for another Arthur update!

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Freddie Ocean

Meet Freddie Ocean!

Freddie Ocean

He arrived safe and sound at 3.1kg on 11th August 2015 by Caesarian Section, all went as planned!  I’ll write another post about our experience in hospital another time!

This teeny boy has made a big change to our little family.
Freddie Ocean
We are now officially a family of 4 and it feels amazing!

Mummy Daddy Arthur and Freddie Ocean

We were discharged from hospital on Friday 14th and we took a flight back to Praslin the same day, so Freddie had his first flight at just 3 days old!

Right from the start Arthur has been absolutely besotted with him.
Brothers Arthur and Freddie Ocean

He is constantly giving him kisses!  He’s starting to say Freddie quite clearly but I still think it’s a bit more “shreddie” then Freddie!!
I think they are going to be the best of friends!
Arthur and Freddie! Brothers and best friends!

We are now settling in back home and loving figuring out new routines and adjusting old ones!
Arthur helps us with Freddie’s bath before having his shower and the four of us all cuddle up in Arthur’s room for bed time stories!

Brothers Arthur and Freddie Ocean bed time stories

Arthur always makes sure that he kisses Freddie goodnight before he goes to sleep!

Yesterday Freddie turned 1 week old (already!!) and so we took him to the beach for the first time, just like we did with Arthur!  As we were back on Praslin we got to take him to our favourite beach, Anse Lazio!  It quickly became clear that we would not get the ‘perfect’ posed family photo but I love these ones so much all the same!!
Freddie's first trip to the beach 1 week old Anse Lazio family photo

Freddie Ocean first trip to the beach 1 week old Anse Lazio

Freddie Ocean 1 week old Anse Lazio family beach shot

 

I was so so worried about how Arthur would be affected by Freddie’s arrival, wondered if he would be jealous, if he would accept his little brother, if he would be upset by the change.  I could not be prouder of how amazing he has been.  How accepting.  How much he has absolutely embraced Freddie into our family!  This morning we came downstairs and Freddie was still asleep so we left him for a little while before getting him up.  Arthur was looking everywhere for him saying “Bwana Bwana” (his word for brother!!!) and was so happy when we brought him downstairs!

It already feels like Freddie has always been with us!  I can’t believe how much I worried about how we would adjust as a family of 4!  Freddie has fit right in and we all love him so so much!!

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36 weeks pregnant

I’m 36 weeks pregnant!  If you missed last week take a look at my 35 week update

 

Measurements

Weight: 66kg (eeek well and truly over the 10 stone mark now!!)

Fundal measurement: ooops forgot this one!
Estimated baby weight from scan: 2.4kg

Here’s me this week

36 weeks pregnant bump shot
Hurrah, Mark has finished work!!!  It has been amazing having him home!  We have made big progress in getting organised for the arrival of our little man.
We are getting so excited now, and seeing all the little clothes washed and ready for him to wear has really made it all feel real (about time!)

As you can see from my measurements I’m now over 10 stone so I’ve put about 2 stone on in total so far.  I’m not worried about it, I’m not going to do any reading about whether this is “normal” or “too much” I don’t care right now.  I can worry about it afterwards!

My hands are really swollen now and are pretty hideous, think baseball mits!  The last couple of nights my feet have been swollen by the end of the day too, we went to a friends for dinner and I couldn’t get my shoes back on when we left!!
The midwife didn’t seem concerned as my blood pressure was fine, so again, I’ll not worry about it!

I’m struggling with sleep, I fall asleep very very fast but I’m waking lots trying to get comfortable.

I had a scan this week and we were told that little guy is weighing about 2.4kg right now and will be on track to weigh right about the same as Arthur did, small but perfectly formed!  Most importantly though he is very healthy in there!!  It was amazing to see him!  We got to see his face and we reckon he’s going to look just like Arthur!

So now there is only

36 weeks pregnant!  Countdown to Caesarian section.  Three weeks

Until we meet our Little guy (well actually it’s 2 weeks and 4 days as of today!!)
It’s also only 9 days until we go to Mahe so all very exciting!!

I have another midwife appointment next Thursday, my last one in Praslin! By next week we should be all ready, eeek still quite a lot to do!!
I’ll be back next week!

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Getting organised for baby 2

In my attempt to calm my pre-trip panic that sets in every time we go away anywhere I’m writing this post about getting organised for baby 2!!

Getting organised for baby 2

So, on the 2nd August we leave our little island of Praslin to head to the “bright lights” of the main island of Mahe.
My Caesarian is scheduled for the 11th.

Now Mark has finished work for summer it feels like we can finally get things sorted!!

I have a growth scan on Thursday 23rd so assuming all goes well there the above dates should be pretty secure now, unless of course I go into labour before that….basically, I’m just not considering that as an option or my brain might explode!  (Burying my head in the sand, who, me?  No way!)

What we’ve done so far

    • We have got out the suitcase with Arthur’s old clothes in to check out what we’ve got -surprisingly a lot so that’s great news!  We also got to take a lovely trip down memory lane looking at all the outfits, bonus!
    • Bought some baby detergent/softener to wash baby clothes.
    • Ordered baby blankets to Mark’s parents
    • Checked baby bottles and steriliser.  Planning on breastfeeding like I did with Arthur but good to have back ups.  Also, fingers crossed this time baby will accept a bottle of expressed milk for a night feed!)
    • Bought a couple packs of little nappies (we will be using cloth nappies but not in the hospital!)
    • Moved the changing table out of Arthur’s room and into ours
    • Rearranged furniture in our room to accommodate cot, changing table and feeding chair.
    • Dug out bags to pack to go go Mahe
    • Booked accomodation on Mahe
    • Booked hire car on Mahe
    • Ordered (and recieved) two books; The Very Hungry Caterpillar [Board Book]
      and I’m a New Big Brother: A Pirate Pete book (Pirate Pete & Princess Polly) for Arthur as presents from the baby

Still to do

  • Wash baby clothes.  Possibly order more clothes to Mark’s mum and dad depending how they come up after being washed! – They will be out with us when we have the baby and there’s no way we can get anything delivered directly here on time
  • Wash baby bedding
  • Buy toiletries for myself and the baby when we are in hospital – This we will probably do on Mahe
  • Get out my gorgeous yet very practical Vanchi NU Leather Doctor Bag (Nougat/ Cocoa)
  • Pack hospital bag for myself and baby – be good and not overpack like I did last time!!!
  • Pack for time on Mahe before I go into hospital.
  • Buy a few more cloth nappies, no urgent rush for this as we have some already, particularly as Arthur is well on the way to being potty trained, and they won’t fit baby straight away anyway!  However, ideally will do before Mark’s parents come so they can bring for us.
  • Book flights to Mahe.  Residents can’t do this until very close to the date so we will have to leave this a little longer, kind of annoying but we will see!
  • Wrap presents from the baby to Arthur.

I am sure I have missed lots of things off this list but, I must say I feel better for writing this down.  It’s made me realise we’ve done more than I thought!

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