My First Year in Mauritius
Taking the decision to leave all I had ever known and move countries was one of the biggest decisions I have ever had to make. Actually taking the plunge and crossing over 6000 miles of land and sea to set up home in a brand new country is among one of the scariest things I have ever done. It’s now been just over a year since I moved from Manchester to Mauritius with my little family and it’s definitely been one heck of a journey so far! Let me tell you a little bit about it…
We arrived to start our new life in Mauritius on the last day of August 2016; excited, a little apprehensive and as well as being 6 months pregnant, I also had a belly full of butterflies. Friends and family back home were sad to see us go, while at the same time thinking I was crazy for taking such a big step while being so pregnant – and now I look back, if it was someone else, I would probably have said the same thing.
The first couple of months were a bit manic, as you can imagine. Settling in to the house; unpacking; taking care of our then two-year-old son; finding a good gynecologist to see me through my pregnancy; finding an appropriate school for our son and beginning to get our business and finances in check. Despite all that, I remember feeling happy and hopeful in those first few months, although at times things were very stressful. However, it was during our third month in Mauritius that I began to realise what a big step we had taken and just how different things can be in Mauritius, compared to back home in the UK.
The first shock came to me when through our social media management business we began working with a Mauritian client in the hospitality sector. We had an absolutely horrendous experience and although I do not care to go into much detail, I know that what happened with this client would never happen in the UK. At this point, I realised just how competitive people are conditioned to be and unfortunately how that conditioning can pan out negatively in later life.
The next shock came to me after giving birth to our daughter, when I experienced just how differently midwives and doctors handled labour and birth in Mauritius. Don’t get me wrong, they still do their job and do it well – however, attitudes are just so different in comparison to what I’ve experienced in the past. Additionally, I don’t think reputation really means much (although it seems to be a big deal among Mauritians) as through my experience, people that were handling my care were not all they were cracked up to be despite having such a ‘glowing’ reputation.
After having our daughter mid-December, this is when I began to find things extremely difficult; especially emotionally and mentally. Suddenly, everything began to annoy me and all I wanted to do was to go back home, back to comfort and familiarity. The heat, the mosquitoes, the attitudes, the stares… everything was becoming just too much and it felt like the high and excitement that I had arrived with had completely disappeared. December, January and maybe even part of February were horribly uncomfortable for me – I felt isolated, trapped and a little suffocated being here in Mauritius. Looking back, I have to accept that I had just had a baby and a lot of my emotions were probably post-natal hormones wreaking havoc on my life and exacerbating feelings that were just slightly there already.
Things got better…
I don’t mean to complain, as Mauritius really is a truly wonderful country with so much good and so much to offer. But I guess you can only really understand the way I was feeling back then when you have been through something similar. Moving to another country is not a small deal! Anyway, when you’re feeling low the only way forward is up and thankfully post-February, life in Mauritius started to feel good again.
As much as I still do miss some things about the UK (family and friends, Starbucks, Autumn, public transport and city life to name but a few) in the past months I’ve really begun to realise what a blessing living in one of the most beautiful and one of the most peaceful countries in the world really is.
I love waking up to a symphony of birds singing every morning, while blue skies peep out from the corner of my curtain. I love the fact that different religions live so peacefully and respectfully side by side. I love driving to the beach, running on its soft sands and drinking coconut water fresh from the coconut. I love watching my son overjoyed as he splashes in the sea, and my daughter staring in awe at the sea of green leaves of the trees up above. I love the opportunities available here that would take years to reach back in the UK. I love the fact that other expats love their lives here too; having come from worlds even more far removed than mine. I love being part of this little community that makes up one big family, living together on a speck in the middle of the Indian Ocean. But let me tell you what I love most of all…
Most of all I love how much I have learnt about myself and how much I have grown in this past year. I have learned strength, resilience, gratitude and patience in a way that I never could have, had I not made the decision to move country. George Addair once said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted, is on the other side of fear” and this I am learning more and more each day. In this past year, I have fought battles within myself so often and so many, and come out a winner every time. For all of that and even more, Mauritius, I thank you. Here’s looking forward to the years ahead on this glorious little island.