I’ve come to realise that when you relocate to a new city or country you can divide the whole experience into 2 phases. The “setting up your basic needs” phase like finding a home, getting the kids into school, daycare, etc. and hopefully getting food in the fridge on a consistent basis. Then there is the “time to find our community” phase which actually is of equal importance.
“The inspiration for The Little Voyager came when my son was a toddler and we went on our first holiday as a family. We booked a self-catering apartment that looked beautiful on the website… but when we arrived the reality was nothing like the photos. The bed was too small to co-sleep and the staircase was a constant danger to my son, who was just about to walk.” Ilonka Schaefer, Founder, The Little Voyager
Vanessa moved with her husband and 2 children to Nice in January 2016. She quickly found herself searching for activities for herself and the kids. But when dissatisfied with what she found she decided to join forces with 3 other mums and they founded LIFT French Riviera offering activities for kids including dance, theatre, sports, arts & crafts, cooking and language classes.
Steve Rogenstein talks to MumAbroad Life about BCN Honey Fest and Apicultura Urbana who is seeking partner schools to develop and implement its learning-about-bees program in English, Spanish, and Catalan.
“Having left my job in Brussels and with several small children it seemed to be my opportunity to escape office life and do something I really wanted to do so I looked for a course in furniture restoration in Barcelona and after a couple of years at the school of restoration I started out on my own.”
Diane Serra is a designer and creative director from San Diego, California now living in Olivella, Catalunya with her Catalan husband, daughter, Estel and white boxer, Ona.
“Whatever the age of your child, there are things that you can do to alleviate the strain of moving on your children and replace it with enthusiasm.”
“The weather is great – we wake up to the sun most mornings and that alone has a very positive effect. And we are all comfortable in a multicultural and multilingual society – hopefully our children will find it easy to adapt wherever they chose to live in the future.”
“Most of us don’t live close to friends and families as our grandparents and parents once did. You may be the first of your friends or acquaintances to experience parenthood. Let’s face it, the more supported we feel, the better we feel. So start by building your system of support.”
“They did have a special bond, when they shared a cot they would suck on each others head, once they were in their own room, they would stand up and chat and laugh at each other, it was funny and cute.”
“We focus on ACTIVE learning versus passive learning. Spaniards have been learning languages passively since school began, with a big focus on grammar, memorization, worksheets and test preparation, which has led to generations of people who have studied English their whole lives but still don’t feel comfortable communicating in English in social or professional contexts.”
“Key to a successful renovation, is finding a reliable and skilled team of workers, and getting expert advice on negotiating the local bureaucracy, which can be time-consuming and tricky to work out for newcomers.” Graham Collins, Interior Designer
MumAbroad was founded by Rebecca Laidlaw, an Internet Marketing consultant & Carrie Frais, a Journalist and PR executive. Carrie lives in Barcelona and is Mum to Poppy (7) and Bertie (5) and Rebecca lives in Oxfordshire (UK) and has 3 children, Ollie (7), Sophie (5) and Theo (1).
“In 2007, we were both living in the beautiful city of Barcelona, having each just given birth to our first child. With no extended family to help with childcare, we looked for other resources to help guide us through this challenging period of our lives. We were surprised at how difficult it was to find easily accessible information about activities and services for parents. It soon became apparent that there was a growing niche for an English language website which would offer parents from the International Community valuable information such as child-related services, schools, family activities, shops, family holidays and restaurants. After extensive research and the help of scores of mothers, Barcelona Mum was born, offering a comprehensive and personalized guide to family life in Barcelona. Within a few months MumAbroad Spain was launched, incorporating the whole of Catalunya and subsequently Madrid, Andalucia, the Costa Blanca and the Balearics. As the site gained momentum, MumAbroad France, MumAbroad Italy and MumAbroad Germany were established and in 2014 the four sites were amalgamated under one roof.
We believe that, in the majority of cases, parents are the best judge of anything child-related, so that is why our site is based purely on recommendation. Every service, group or activity on our website has been recommended by at least one Mum or Dad. In our interview section, you can read about other mums’ experiences of living abroad as well as interviews with a host of childhood experts. In our Women in Business section, we’ve discovered some inspirational ladies, who have established successful businesses in and created a life for themselves, many of whom have had to juggle work and family life. Our forum allows parents to share concerns, offer advice, advertise services, buy & sell items and virtually meet others in an online community.”
Carrie & Rebecca