Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Would you move abroad with a child?

I did move abroad. Six years ago. For good. But I didn't have a job then. I didn't have a child. Would we move abroad, now that we're a family, with jobs and a mortgage? Honestly, we probably would.

We don't have any good reason yet to move for good -like that dream job offer, for example, in some place warm by the sea. But there are some shorter terms options, like secondment my husband might someday get, or longer-term research I might have to do for my study in some other country. Sounds exciting, right? You get to live for some period in a new environment you're not familiar with, take your child to new parks -maybe even find a new daycare, explore the new city in a new country, visit everything, eat everything along the way?

Or not? Would it be too scary? New language, cultural and climate shock for a child?

This week, though, we began an adventure in some sort of a new home for the next three months. My husband got some kind of fellowship -more similar to short term secondment, to work in the same office but in different city and country: Ljubljana, Slovenia. Babygirl and I joined him now for a couple of weeks, then we'll be back in Zagreb because I need to go to work for some more weeks, then we'll be joining him again in here.

Enjoying Tivoli Park (with ducks and squirrels) in the heart of Ljubljana
Before coming here, we told babygirl all the time that we'd be moving into a new apartment in a completely new city. She didn't seem to care. She didn't seem to listen. Until one day in the last week in Zagreb, she got upset for some reason, and got into a fight with me. In her frustration, she actually yelled "I want to go to Slovenia right now!" :)

Slovenia might not sound "abroad" to most Croats. Ljubljana is literally two hour drive from Zagreb. But I can tell you that the experience for babygirl is priceless. She realizes that the people here speak different language -which she doesn't understand. The easy part is, most Slovenes understand our language (Croatian), but we don't understand theirs. Everyone is too kind and would speak back to us in Croatian. She notices small things which she figured out by herself, like when she pointed out how the buses in Ljubljana are white (they're blue in Zagreb), how the garbage trucks are white (green in Zagreb), how there are squirrels everywhere (she's never seen them before so that's super exciting), how the police officers are on horses, how the banknotes look different, and plenty of other things. It might sounds silly but these are actually amazing facts when a 2-year old actually made an observation and conclusion by herself.

Exploring Ljubljana, while waiting for daddy to come home from work
We spent our first day home adjusting (although we could tell babygirl is settled in the new apartment from the first hour we got in), then I took her to Tivoli Park on the second day. When we found one of the many playgrounds in Tivoli, she excitedly asked "is this my new daycare?" I had to explain to her that we'll be here only for a short period of time and that she won't have to go to a daycare, but I could see that she took the idea of "living in other country" very well.

One of the playgrounds in Ljubljana zoo
I decided to take her to the zoo on our third day, which turned out to be a great experience. Ljubljana zoo is smaller than Zagreb zoo, with less number of species, but I've got to say I like it better. There's no cemented area, no asphalt, no industrial cages. Everything is built in line with the natural habitats, trekking paths are just like in the real woods, animals have plenty of open space and children playground are all built with natural materials and colors.

We saw leopards, tigers, different kind of apes, giraffes, camels, zebras, elephants, brown bears and many other animals, and her favorite were: the seals! We had to go back to the seal pond at least three times, and she made me buy her a stuffed seal in the souvenir shop.

At this point I don't know yet what we're doing tomorrow -I'm thinking maybe the castle (funicular ride!) or botanical garden. Whatever it would be, I'm sure we'll enjoy our stay here. So babygirl, welcome home for the next three months! And you, we'll keep you posted of our adventures :)

No comments:

Post a Comment