I am Ekaterina (Belorussian) and my husband is Balders (English), we have two kids – Milana (born in UK) and Kaydon (born in Bulgaria). We are very proud to be a super international and happy family/ ☺We are “experienced” expats, because we moved countries not only once… ☺
We met on the internet 14 years ago and got married in Belarus, lived in the UK for four years, then sold our house and business and moved to Bulgaria. After seven years we again sold everything and moved to the Czech Republic, where we are now.
I will not say it was easy. We did it with children, pets and even no proper jobs and money at some times. But it was really worth it!
Why we moved? England was great, but life there felt a bit boring, restricted and expensive.
Bulgaria was cheap, the sun was shining, the sea was beautiful. But there are some problems that do not seem to be dealt with – bad roads, street dogs, rubbish everywhere. And because we have two kids we also thought that there is hardly anything for them to do in the sense of activities, sports and some sort of future development.
So, after some research and thinking we have chosen the Czech Republic.
It has very developed air transportation, which is important for us to be able to see both sides of the family, and my husband works away from home so he also needed ease of travelling.
The nature and architecture is beautiful and right at your doorstep!
The amount and availability of activities and sports for children (and adults) has totally amazed us! Plus a lot of free events everywhere.
People are friendly! At least friendlier than in Lancashire… I don’t want to hurt anybody, I am only talking in general and in comparison to other nations and only based on my experience.
So, after two years being here, I don’t see many minuses. Maybe the only thing is that property prices are high and other expenses are higher, then in Belarus or Bulgaria.
There are some very important things that I have learned after living away from my own country.
If you want to do something, you can do it! Yes, there are a lot of troubles and tough things, but anything is possible… if you don’t give up!
If you smile at people, they smile back! Most of the time. If you are nice to people, they are nice back to you. If you make an effort to communicate and make friends – you will make friends. Sure there are grumpy people everywhere, but just be nice all the time, it goes a long way.
Bureaucracy is everywhere. This is the way the world is. Just accept it and smile to the that girl at the government desk. 😉
Do learn the language.
Children adapt to any community and language very easily.
Locals complain that their life is hard in every country! (I think it’s something to do with humans in general ☺) But once you are able to compare, you realize there is good and bad in any country.
Keep in mind that if you don’t understand the language, some locals might take advantage of it in the interest of tricking you. This especially happens in the poorer countries.
It is better to adopt the lifestyle of people around you, take it as it is. Don’t think that they should live as you used to live. It’s rather the other way around!
Choosing to live in another country is much easier if you have a distant job, or work from home or work online, and so on. This is how it goes in our family.
Balders is now a rope-access technician (diving instructor, lorry driver and many more in the past) and he works away from home. He has been in many many countries and unfortunately spends weeks and even months away.
I graduated university as a literature editor in my home country, but my hobby always was creating, especially sewing, so over the years I have developed it into a business from home. So my job now is to give second life to used jeans ☺) Yeah, I make handbags and other accessories out of unwanted jeans. I know it might sound like nothing special, but please take a look and see if they actually are different to what you are used to seeing? All parts of jeans get used, one way or another. This is actually the best fun of it!
So, this is how our story goes. Kids are happy, we are happy. At the moment we think we are going to stay here… even though moving countries can get addictive and there is this little voice inside you that starts winging, pushing you to get off your nest and go through all this trouble again, to explore, to gain the priceless experience of being not a tourist, but an expat!
Wishing you all a lot of sunshine,
Kat and Balders
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