The Expat Tag: UK to Seychelles

There has been a lovely tag going around recently called ‘The Expat Tag’ where expat bloggers around the world are sharing their answers to the same 10 questions.  Its a great way to share a real insight into what expat life is like all around the world!

Ive been tagged by Adventures Of A Jersey Girl and by Wandermustfamily thanks ladies for the tag!  I have to say, that normally, I am terrible at keeping up with tags and things.  But, I really liked the idea of this one, plus I’m on a ‘be a super organised blogger’ mission right now!

So, here are my answers to the 10 expat tag questions!  Hope you enjoy 🙂

The Expat Tag

1. Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I was born in Wales, UK.  I lived there until I was about 6 and then moved to Plymouth in the South West of England and stayed there until I was 17.  At 17 I moved to San Diego California with my Mum, Dad and Brother for a military posting for around 2 and a half years.  After that I went back to Plymouth for University, that’s where I met Mark.  We moved to Seychelles together in 2012 and have been here for almost 5 years now!

2. What made you leave your home country?

Having lived abroad for a couple years already, I knew that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life living in the UK.  Mark is a teacher and was working just ridiculous hours.  He definitely needed a better work/life balance.  We also knew we wanted to start a family at some point, and that we wanted to raise our kids somewhere abroad.  We started to look for teaching jobs abroad for Mark as that seemed like the best, and most straightforward way for us to be able to move.

3. What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?

When we tell people we live in Seychelles there tends to be one of these reactions:

  • You live in Paradise! You are so lucky!
  • Where is that? (I’ll admit, I didn’t know where it was until Mark got the interview for the job!!)

4. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?

The hardest part was how terrible the internet was!  Coming from the UK and having unlimited internet at home and pretty much free wifi everywhere, it was so tough to get used to having only 9GB a month!  It was really expensive too!  Thankfully, it has improved in the 5 years we have been here but its still no where near unlimited and we would love to be able to call home more often than we can.

The easiest part for us was that we came out with a group of other people.  There were 4 other new teachers starting at the school the same time as Mark.So, we had each other to lean on for support, and to bounce excitement, frustrations, fears and everything else that comes with moving to a new country off each other!  Of course, moving to a beautiful country didn’t hurt in making the transition easy too!

expat tag: beautiful beaches

5. Images, words, or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far

5 years have gone by in a blur, i feel like we arrived, had kids and are now a family all in 5 minutes!!  So here is our first glimpse of our new island home Praslin, arriving on the inter island flight from Mahe island,the expat tag: arriving at our new home

Me just before my c-section with Arthur!

expat tag

Finally, here is us pretty much as we are now….This was taken on Christmas day 2016 on the beach near our house!

Expat Tag: being out with the family

6. Your favourite food or drink item in your new country?

My favourite local food is without doubt grilled fish, especially Red Snapper.  Always super fresh and locally caught, you really can’t beat it!  People that know me, know how weird it is for me to say that.  I never ate fish before we moved to Seychelles.  When we moved here, we really didn’t get much information about the place at all.  We genuinely bought fishing rod out thinking we were going to be having to go fishing for our dinner every night! We were over the moon when we went to the shop and found some frozen chicken and minced beef!!!

 

7. What is the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to back home?

Aside from eating fish, seriously that was a big deal for me!!  I guess

8. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you can not stand?

The thing that annoys me the most, is also something that I really love about Seychelles.  I know, that’s weird!  But it is that EVERYTHING closes at midday on Saturday and all day on Sunday!   Even on weekdays the banks close at 2pm!  It can be frustrating getting things done here, there are no direct debits or online payments for things.  But, as I said, I do also love that about Seychelles.  It means that there’s no waiting on the phone for hours to speak to a call centre. If you have a problem with something, you go to the right people and get it sorted.  That of course, becomes easier the longer you are here and the more people you know!

9. What do you most enjoy doing in your new country?

Without doubt my favourite thing is being out as a family.  It always reaffirms why we moved here!  To have a great outdoors life with our children!

 

10. Do you think you will ever move home for good?

Honestly, as much as it will upset my parents and mark’s to read this, I can’t see it.  I would be foolish to say that we will definitely not go back, because who knows what the future holds.  Right now, the Seychelles feels like home to us.  Its a lovely place to raise kids in a relaxed outdoors lifestyle, that is exactly what we wanted when we had kids. I don’t think we will necessarily be in Seychelles forever, but again who knows!?

 

So that’s it for my expat tag!  I hope you enjoyed!  Because i’ve been a little slow on the uptake of this, I tag any expats that want to join in that haven’t already!!!

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Crime In The Seychelles – A reflection on being the victim of theft.

Crime in the Seychelles

It’s been about a year and a half since I wrote the post The Darker Side of Expat Life In The Seychelles and it’s still the most viewed page on my blog.  I read it again the other day. It made me reflect on how I felt about being broken in to, and about crime in the Seychelles in general.

I thought I’d start writing those feelings down. I know that many of the people reading that post are researching if it’s safe to live in Seychelles and about crime in the Seychelles in general. Hopefully this post will give a bit more of a rational insight into how safe it feels to live here.

The original post was written a couple weeks after our house was broken in to while we were all asleep. Despite waiting those couple of weeks, I was still feeling very raw and vulnerable about it all.

At the time of writing I was wrestling with wanting to move from the house we were in. We have now moved. I must stress that the main reason was that Mark was promoted and we needed to be nearer to school. I was happy to move though, despite the house being made a lot more secure. When something like that happens it’s difficult to forget it. I was not sleeping properly and was paranoid about any person around. That would be the case wherever in the world it happened, of course!

crime in the seychelles

 

Is it safe to live on Praslin?

I feel safe here. If I didn’t feel safe we would have moved on by now, without a doubt. No matter how much we love it here, or how well Mark’s career is going, our family safety will always come first.

We are all living safer though, which is important. By that, I mean we are all more aware of keeping ourselves and our valuables safe. That seems a bit ridiculous to read. I don’t mean that we ever felt like we weren’t looking after ourselves properly, but we have certainly been guilty of living naively of the fact that crime existed.

At night I still wake up thinking I can hear someone in the house, I hate that. I don’t know if that will ever go away. Maybe it’s best if it doesn’t though. Perhaps living with that fear will help to keep us safe. I hope so.

Do I think expats are targeted for crime? In short, yes.  Someone did comment on the post saying that I was arrogant to think that (I chose not to publish that one!!!) I don’t think that all expats are targeted, it is a generalisation, and of course Seychellois are also victims of robberies too.

Crime in the Seychelles

Is there a safer side of the island?

We have been in our new house for over a year now and I do feel pretty safe here. There was a feeling at the time that the side we are living now is safer. Honestly, I don’t think that is the case. I know of break ins all over the island.
Sadly a house very near to ours was recently broken into. It was a reality check and a reminder that it can happen anywhere.

crime in the seychelles

What type of crime happens here?

I’m pleased to say that on Praslin (I don’t want to say for Mahe as I really don’t know!) I have not heard of any violent crime towards expats. There is very little violent crime at all. This definitely helps in feeling safer.

The main type of crime undoubtedly is theft. Mostly it will be for small easy to sell items such as hard drives, tablets, smart phones and jewellery.  Perhaps the saddest thing is that things stolen are mostly sold for drug money.

Drugs are undoubtedly, a growing problem here.  I’m told its worse on Mahe than Praslin.  I will say that it is, by no means, at the point where you can feel or sense that when you’re out and about.  I don’t ever feel unsafe when I’m out.  Of course, you wouldn’t want to leave valuables lying around anywhere, but that is no different to anywhere else in the world.

Will it happen again?

I spoke to Mark about this and if he felt it would ever happen again. Sadly, we agreed, the answer to that is almost certainly, yes.  The house we are living in is a lot more secure, and as I mentioned we live a lot more aware of the possibility of theft and act accordingly.  But, no house is perfect and we are not perfect.

We don’t live in fear of it happening again, we lead normal daily lives.  Now we just live with our eyes more open to the fact that theft happens.  We keep our valuables secure and have a bit of a routine to ensure that no doors or windows are left unlocked while we are out, or at night.  Nothing major, just normal sensible security.  We should have done it from the start, but I don’t mind admitting that I did love that little safe bubble we felt like we lived in for the first couple of years here!

 

 

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Freddie’s first walk

We recently went for a walk in the Vallee De Mai.  Not an unusual event for us, we go at least once a month!  It is without doubt our favourite place to go for a walk.

If you don’t know, the Vallee De Mai, is famous for being the home of the Coco De Mer, the largest seed in the world!  It really is huge, apparently weighing up to 30KG at full size!!

Freddie’s first walk

This visit to the Vallee De Mai though, things were a little different!  This time we ALL went walking!  It was Freddie’s first walk, as opposed to being in the baby carrier!  This kinda blows my mind, It seems like just a minute ago it was Arthur’s first time walking around there!!

We had such a great time.  With Freddie walking around too, the whole dynamic changed so much, but only in a good way!

Arthur was absolutely delighted to get to run around with Freddie in there and Freddie was so excited to finally be able to get down and really explore the place as opposed to just being in the carrier!   It was amazing to see them exploring together!

Walking amongst giants, my boys look tiny in there.  Perhaps thats why I love going so much! This is one of my new favourite pictures!

 

Arthur took great pleasure in being Freddie’s personal tour guide.

 

They both are becoming so confident and independent, it’s amazing to see them running around without a care or fear.

freddie's first walk

dsc_0127

As always, we stopped at our favourite spot, to look at the river, of course throw a few sticks and stones in, and to look for crabs!

It was also a big trip for another reason as it was the first time Arthur walked round the whole way without needing to be carried.  As you can see, he was very proud!!

 

I have blogged about coming here before, and I am certain I will blog about it again!  So, apologies if it seems a bit repetitive, but it really is such a special place to go.  If you are visiting Seychelles it is an absolute must (with or without kids!)

I am so happy to have such an amazing place for our kids to explore.  We are so lucky to have so many amazing memories (and pictures) of the boys having the best time here.  They are true explorers, and I hope that they will forever love the outdoors as much as they do now!

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Splish Splash Splosh

You may have seen on my Instagram that we’ve had a fair bit of rain here recently!  I thought it was only right that I wrote a little post about it!

Rain babies

Arthur has always loved the rain!  He absolutely loves to be out in it.  He’s been like that since he was so small.

As soon as it starts to rain, he runs out and splashes in the puddles.   Now he’s even started to know that it might rain when it goes all dark and cloudy, so the excitement begins even before the drops start to fall!

In the last month or so, Freddie has started to show lots of interest in the rain too.  He is ALWAYS outside anyway but he’s starting to figure out that the rain is lots of fun!

We definitely do have two little rain babies!

Splish Splash Splosh

Last week was half term so Arthur was home from school.  We had quite a lot of rain, it started the afternoon that school finished!!

Arthur being a true nature boy, generally likes to take all his clothes off to be out in the rain but this time I managed to persuade him to keep his T-Shirt on!  Freddie, totally not fussed went out as is!!

splish splash splosh

This was the first time Arthur had actually used his umbrella in the rain.  Usually he likes to take it out and about when its dry, but not when it’s raining.  You know, because it was stopping him getting wet and what’s the point of going out in the rain if you’re going to be dry right?

splish splash splosh

On days like this, even with an umbrella you’re going to get soaking wet!

This was the first time that the boys had really had the chance to be out in the rain together!  It was so much fun to watch!

Splish Splash Splosh! Rain in Seychelles

You can definitely see that they were enjoying each others company out there and it really did add to the fun for them both! It was so amazing to watch them both having so much fun together.   Arthur was teaching Freddie to go “splish splash splosh” in the puddles!!

Splish Splash Splosh! Rain babies, loving the rain

Freddie discovered an extra bonus, the rain drops are even bigger running off the roof!
splish splash splosh

We are so lucky that it is so warm here because we don’t have to worry about them being cold in the rain!  If we lived somewhere else it would be a nightmare trying to get them to get dressed before they ran out the door!!

 

All together now!

Arthur was not going to let me off just sat taking pictures.   Yep, Mama had to go out in the rain too!  We all ran around like crazy and got soaking wet, Daddy had to join too of course! Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately!) we were all too busy having fun at this point to take photos so you’ll just have to take my word that we really did all get out there!

This was repeated several times over the half term!  I hope that it continues to be something that they love to do together, and with us for a long long time!!

 

Do you have little rain babies too?

splish splash splosh

 

 

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Our first crop!!

It’s taken almost 4 years but we finally have had our first crop of Bananas!!
We have attempted to grow bananas once before but it failed….which is pretty impressive considering they grow wild here!

When we moved into this house there were already banana plants growing here so I don’t think we can take too much credit for these, but hey we didn’t kill them so I think we will take that for now!

About three months ago we noticed that one of our plants had flowered and there were teeny tiny little bananas growing.
After a quick search online we discovered we would be waiting for around 3 months until they would be ready to eat. It seemed like a really like time, and a lot of time for something to go wrong!

This Friday, Mark came home from school and very excitedly proclaimed that there was a yellow banana so it was time to chop them down!
We had learned that you just have to wait for one banana to be yellow to chop them down, not all of them!

Our first crop of bananas

So we got the machete and the camera and we headed out to the garden- yep it’s totally normal to have a machete here!

Our first crop of bananas
The bananas here are about half the size of ones you get in the UK but with twice the flavour!! They are so so delicious and are a perfect size for baby led weaning! The boys absolutely love them!

Our first crop of bananas

Arthur has been giving a running commentary on the bananas pretty much every day since we first spotted them and loved to tell us about the “green bananas” so it was cool to show him that they had now started turning yellow!
Our first crop of bananas

After they had been chopped down, we showered off the bananas to make sure there weren’t any beasties living in and amongst them – luckily there weren’t!   Arthur had the honour of having the first banana from our first crop.  We have all since had one and they are so good!

Bananas are super cheap to buy here so it’s not like having them will be saving us lots of money but it’s definitely satisfying to know that these have grown in our garden!  It’s been fun to show Arthur how they grow (and for us to learn about it too)

There is already another lot of bananas growing in the garden, we think they will be ready just in time for us coming back after the summer!!

 

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Arthur has started school

The time is here, Arthur has started school.

Arthur has started school

We are so proud of how our little man has got on.

I have taken Arthur in to school to play at get used to it for a while now, but it has only ever been for an hour or so and never on his own.

So I’ve said before but the international school here on Praslin starts in reception 1 (3yrs old) right up to 6th form where they do A-levels (18yrs old).  Reception 1 is essentially nursery.  The school follows the British curriculum so kids are doing as they would be in the UK.

To help get the little ones settled they are allowed to start in Reception 1 in the half term that they turn 3 years old.  So Arthur is starting this last half term of the school year
We agreed with his teacher that Arthur would just come in for the mornings for now.  He will go full time in September.

So, on the 30th May Arthur got his little school uniform on and off we went to school.  I tried to get lots of obligatory first day of school pictures, Arthur was not all that interested in that though!!

Arthur has started school

 

Arthur has started school

It is a moment I’ve been trying to prepare myself for for what feels like ages now.  I won’t lie, I’ve got myself upset many times just thinking about it all!!

arthur has started school

arthur has started school

We walked into school and his teacher met us outside, she took Arthur to the classroom and off he went.  He gave me a kiss and said “bye bye mummy!”  I was so proud at how he took it all in his stride!

I managed to hold back my tears until I got to the car where I allowed myself to have a couple minutes before telling myself to get a grip!!!

We are in the amazing situation that we know everyone at school really well and everyone has known Arthur since he was born so I knew that there were so many people there looking out for him…..including of course Mark, being the headteacher!  I think he found a few extra reasons to pop down and have a little peek in the class for Arthur’s first day!!

I had lots of texts from different people, updating me through the morning letting me know what Arthur was up to which I loved!

Freddie and I had a nice quiet morning together, we had lots of stories and cuddles before his nap.  I then had a couple hours to myself for the first time in AGES!!  I didn’t really know what to do with myself and as a result wasn’t all that productive!!

When I went to pick Arthur up he was really happy to see me and Freddie but didn’t want to go home, a good sign for sure!!  We managed to get him in the car and then we had a lovely quiet and cuddley afternoon at home.

That evening, we got an email with lots of photos from Arthur’s first day by his teacher, it made my day to get a peek into what he had been up to that day!

Arthur has started school

Arthur has started school

P1010838

Arthur has started school

After a couple of days we’ve got into the swing of it  now those couple of hours when Freddie is napping flies by as I get as much done as I possibly can – I had visions of being able to spend more time blogging, that REALLY hasn’t happened!!

It’s now been 2 weeks of school for Arthur and he’s absolutely loving it.  He is settling in so well, we really couldn’t be more proud of him.

His teacher tells us that he’s joining in with activities more and more every day which makes me really happy to hear.  Arthur comes home and sings songs he’s learned at school, it amazes us how quickly he’s picked things up!!

Arthur has been napping again in the afternoon most days after school, he comes home so happy but tired.

I know that starting school has been so good for him in so many ways but particularly for getting to socialise with other kids his own age!

For me its really nice to see him coming out of his shell with other people, he has always been quite shy around people he doesn’t know. I can see his confidence growing in even this short time.

I felt really sad at the ‘end of an era’ of having my now not so little guy at home with me every day, but seeing how happy he is and how good it has been for him has really helped me to get over that. We are now celebrating the start of the school era for Arthur!

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A peek at our new house!

Mark has been made head teacher (proud wife alert!)  The current headteacher is retiring at the end of this term and Mark will be taking over from then!

As part of his new job we got to move to a new house.  It feels like no time since we moved into our last place, it was in fact less than a year!  Regular readers of my blog will know some of the negative things we experienced since living there, but also we have some truly wonderful memories from that house.  It is the first house we brought Freddie home to, Arthur started sleeping in his big boy bed here and potty trained too!  I also will have lovely memories from our great garden there.

We are very excited about our new house.  It’s 4 bedroom 2 (amazing) bathrooms, a big wrap around veranda and a beautiful garden!

Arthur and Freddie are settling in here beautifully, Arthur loves it and keeps proudly proclaiming “new house” with a big grin on his face!

Koopa is beside himself happy, as the house is so open we’ve decided to give up on trying to keep him outside and as I write this he’s lying by my feet next to the sofa!
I’ve shared a few pictures on Instagram, but here’s a few more!  Take a peek at our new house!

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

A peek at our new house

These are some of my favourite bits, but there’s still lots to get sorted so I’ll share more pictures when we are fully settled in!   I love that there are a few quirks in this house, it’s not new and I love that!  There’s lots we can do to make it our own.

The kitchen sink might just be my favourite thing of all, the kitchen in general has a real industrial feel to it!

The house is huge and it’s definitely going to be a lot to keep on top of.  Our cleaner has stopped working for us as she got pregnant and it was too much for her to do (understandably, I struggled cleaning my own house when I was pregnant let alone someone else’s!) so we are in the look out for someone new to help us out!!  In the meantime I’ll tie mops to the kids feet, I’m kidding….I think!

 

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