Living abroad


It’s the middle of August, and I think It’s fair to say that the British summer is well and truly over. I could be wrong here, but I do not have high hopes. But hey, we had a couple of weeks of glorious sunshine in June with some record-breaking temperatures. Can’t complain, right? Still, talking to my family in Slovakia and hearing about their heat waves of 30°C+, lasting more than just a few days, in fact throughout all July, I can’t help it but feel a bit jealous. After these much talked about British heat waves, loved and hated at the same time, we are lucky if we get over 20°C for the rest of the summer. But even when it rains and it’s cloudy quite often during summer months, the great summer in Britain also has some unexpected perks. Here’s what you need to know about the great British…

We live in a global world where travel, relocation and multicultural families are common occurrences. People generally adapt to new environments, new cultures, a new way of life but they should not forget where they come from. When you become a parent and raise your children abroad, teaching them about your country of origin should be part of their upbringing and education. There are three different nationalities in our household, Slovak, Albanian and the little one is British. Each of these three cultures has their own traditions, values, food, language, celebrations and more. Although our little one is only a year old, it’s never too early to start connecting her to her roots. Why is it important to encourage your child to learn about your family history and how can you do it? The WHY Growing up in the UK, there is no doubt in my mind that our baby…

Few people who decide to move abroad can really anticipate what a huge transition lies ahead of them. You leave the comfort of your home and suddenly you are on your own and in a foreign country. That’s when the reality kicks in. Your idealised new home isn’t so idyllic after all. So, a little bit of planning and preparation can go a long way to make sure your move isn’t too stressful. Something I wish I gave more thought before coming to the UK. I made my fair share of mistakes when moving abroad (totally avoidable), so hopefully, you can learn a lesson or two from my missteps. When I decided to move abroad, working as an au pair seemed to be the best option. You can easily find an au pair position abroad through lots of different agencies. Everything is arranged for you before you go. Starting with…

Starting a family abroad? What lies ahead of this big adventure? Life in a foreign country is not without its fair share of challenges. Add a baby to the equation, and it’s even more interesting. Many people decide to head back home when the time comes to start a family. And who can blame them? Having a baby is a wonderful milestone for every parent, but it’s tough, no doubt about it. Any extra set of hands, as well as the emotional support you get from your family, is priceless at this special but difficult time.

I knew all along that I wouldn’t be following the crowd by going back to Slovakia when I became pregnant. Over the years, I’ve settled here with my other half who is Albanian. Of course, I had my worries and doubts about the decision to have a baby abroad and how will I cope without the family around. But we’ve done it anyway, and now that my baby is over one year old, I think it’s a good time to look back at the whole experience and share some thoughts with you about what to expect.

I’ve been learning English since I was eight years old and I thought I’m pretty fluent when I came to live in the UK at the age of twenty. Turned out, I wasn’t. Twelve years later, I’m still learning new words and phrases every day. Some expressions and phrases you would never learn at school. You need to be immersed in a culture and interact with locals. Only then you can learn and understand the slang language of the community.

If you are new to the UK, you may find some expressions listed below helpful, so you don’t look too puzzled when you come across them during your stay in the UK. Here’s a selection of best British phrases I’ve learned that come to mind with examples to give you an idea how to use them. Happy reading.

When I first arrived in the UK, there were was definitely many things I missed about my home country. Slovak food, especially my mum’s cooking, was only one of them.

Embarking on this new adventure meant that I had to adapt to a new cuisine. Even if you want to cook traditional food of your home country, it’s inevitable that sooner or later, you will have to taste a local cuisine.

When you live here, it’s not just British cuisine you will come into contact with. Over the past decades, immigrants from all over the world have settled here which means new tastes and dishes have also emerged with the arrival of various cultures. Plenty to sample, that’s for sure.

Living in a city or a countryside when you have a baby? Few decisions in life are as important as deciding on a place to live. Everyone will have to face this dilemma at least once in their lifetime. Whether you choose a city or a countryside, each option has its benefits as well drawbacks. While growing up, I used to live in a beautiful little mountain resort town, with a population of 1,000 people and a lot of greenery, forest and open spaces. Oh, and not to mention a variety of wildlife right outside our front door. I love my home town; I have only the best memories of my childhood there. However, since I came to the UK, I’ve always lived in cities, small or big, I’ve experienced life in both. And I have to say, I enjoy life in a city too. I love the convenience of having easy…

Before we get into that funny part of being bilingual, let me just say that I’ve never really considered myself as being bilingual. Yes, I’m quite fluent in my second language, English, but nowhere near as fluent as in my mother tongue, Slovak. I always thought that bilingual means speaking two languages at the same native language level. It turns out that bilingualism doesn’t always have a straightforward definition. Bilingual can also be referred to a person who speaks two languages, which I do. No mention of proficiency. So, could I really call myself a bilingual person? Maybe yes, maybe not, but for the purpose of this blog, I’ll stick with bilingualism, as it’s easier than to call myself someone who can speak two languages. Now, let’s get back to the point.

It’s been eleven months since my baby was born. It’s been an emotional roller coaster, but it’s been an incredible journey at the same time. Life has been pretty busy and hectic, so it’s no wonder I’ve been craving some me time for quite some time.

My pre-baby carefree life seems like a distant memory now that I’ve become a mum. Do you remember those days off when you could do absolutely nothing? If that’s your way of relaxation. Those trips to the cinema, shopping trips, those date nights you used to have with your partner, it’s all fast forgotten when you become a first time mum.

There is suddenly someone else who has higher priorities than your own needs. Your focus and responsibility shift in a whole new direction. It’s so easy for us mums to forget about ourselves. We don’t have time to take a shower sometimes, never mind having time for the perfect mum retreat.

Since I left Slovakia twelve years ago, I was only home for Easter once. This year it’s going to be my second time. While I’m looking forward to experiencing the Easter traditions all over again, not all customs are very enjoyable, especially if you are a girl.

There are things like traditional Easter food I love, yummy home made cakes, the family atmosphere I miss so much and then there is ….Easter Monday.

But let’s start from the beginning. We’ll get back to Easter Monday in just a short while. So how do we celebrate Easter? What are Easter traditions in Slovakia?