"Mummy, Where Do We Live?"


Mummy, where do we live?

Children ask questions all the time. I love that. I love kids’ curiosity. Sometimes, it looks like an endless inquisition but I never get bored. I always answer my son’s questions because I know this is the way he learns about the world. It is OK even when he begins a long ‘why’ examination. I admit, I have no clue why he asks ‘why’ at least a hundred times a day.

No problem at all, my boy. I will keep replying to you patiently doing my best to find meaningful answers.

But some questions are more difficult to answer. The questions a child of immigrants could ask their parents. My son has been asking me where we live for over a year, or with other words since we moved to the United Kingdom.

An ordinary, innocent question that just comes out of his mouth, nothing disturbing. Kids never ask in order to be mean or hurt adults’ feelings wittingly; their nature is too pure for that. I’m sure my son’s only intention is to make it clear. And this is what actually worries me. Because every time he asks where we live, I see a confused little boy standing before me.

Not a question to help him understand the world, but one to help him understand our world. Where do we belong? Why don’t we live in Sofia, Bulgaria anymore? Not only did we leave, but we went to another city for a few months before we leave again and fly away to London. How come? Why? Now we are back to Bulgaria. How long is it going to be this time? Mummy says it is just a holiday but what does this mean? Where are we going to afterwards? Sofia? London? Where is our home now?

So many things have happened in the last year or so, too many for a child’s mind to take in. Too abrupt a shift, too many new things. Everything is different, even his birthday party was. All those huge changes had been thrown upon him, and he was supposed to adapt.

He is adapting. Actually, I can see him happy in the UK. I can see him enjoy being there already. He often asks me when we are going back to London. Maybe, now it feels like home…

Children are brave and resilient. I believe, they could adjust to anything far easier than we do. They don’t suffer the burden of adulthood, they don’t take the challenges the way we do. And moving to another country is a terrific challenge.

Moving to another country is traumatic. Oh, how stressful the whole thing was for my poor child! I will never forget how scared and bewildered he was in the very beginning. How bad the language barrier at nursery. How confusing the new situation we had got into… In our homeland, he rarely cried without reason; in the UK we have experienced the most unpleasant tantrums ever.

‘Mummy, where do we live?’ I’m not afraid of answering this. On the contrary, every time I am ready to explain it in detail – why we no longer live where he was born; what has happened to our Bulgarian home, car, etc.; why he is starting school at the age of 4, whereas his friends in Bulgaria will continue going to nursery until they turn 6 or 7; if we are moving to another house…

Mummy, where do we live?

I will be answering these questions over and over again and this is perfectly fine. If you ask me about guilt, yes, it is there, somewhere deep in my soul. Sometimes, it hurts. Sometimes, it’s too overwhelming to bear. Sometimes, it makes me have doubts. Why have we done all this to our little boy? Is it worth it? Why is he the one to suffer most because of a decision his parents have made without asking about his opinion? Aren’t we stealing pieces of his childhood because of a dream? Our dream, not his!

But despite all the questions, despite the doubt and uncertainty, and all the things our child had to overcome, despite all the forthcoming challenges, I still believe we have done the right thing. I think we moved to the UK at the right moment. Because the younger the children, the less traumatic the experience. At least, this is what my inner voice has whispered to me. I am sure every parent whose family lives an expat life will understand.

I hope my son will understand too. One day… For the time being, his mother will be here answering kindly all his questions. And I thank him with all my heart for being my brave little hero!

Check out a mother’s open letter to her expat boy written by one of my most favourite bloggers, Laura from Life with Baby Kicks.

Marina xxx



Cuddle Fairy
Mouse Moo and Me Too

32 thoughts on “"Mummy, Where Do We Live?"

  1. The Culinary Jumble says:

    Aw. He’s little and he will adapt wherever he is, as long as you are with him. I guess we were lucky with ours – they are bilingual and felt just as comfortable living in both countries. You have to do what feels right for your family and his curiosity, as you say, is normal.

  2. Mummy Muckups (Anna) says:

    We have moved interstate here in Australia. My two have constantly been asking about our ‘yellow (old) house’, It has been 5 tricky months, but I think they have made some friends and finally feeling settled. Have had to have many talks about home not being 4 walls; rather in our hearts. Moving overseas is much bigger; I wish you all the best!! #TwinklyTuesday

    • marinailieva says:

      Oh, it sure is. Moving overseas has always sounded like an exciting thing to me but really scary when one has a child/children. All the best to you, too. 🙂 x

  3. charlotte says:

    Children are more resilient than us adults, they have an ability to adapt quicker than an adult. The move was right for you as a family and he is still very young he will adapt well as time goes on #TwinklyTuesdays

  4. funkymrsknutts says:

    Bless you. As many have said before, home is where his mummy and daddy are. You’ll be fine and I wish you all the best Marina. Kids adapt so fast.xx

  5. Mouse, Moo and Me Too says:

    Oh this is a lovely post, thank you for linking to #effitfriday. About a year ago, a little girl joined my daughter’s pre-school, having moved over from Poland 6 months previously and then having a Polish nanny for her first few months in the UK. Her spoken English was non-existent and she used to be quite upset at drop off and pick up. Now though, her English and speaking skills are as good as my own daughter’s and her parents say that their English has improved as a result of her being exposed to new phrases and conversations. He will adapt quicker than you, which will in turn help you, as it must be very difficult for you also. Wishing you all the best and I hope you don’t have to move for a while yet 🙂 xx

  6. Mummascribbles (@mummascribbles) says:

    Completely different situation but after we replaced our car with a new one, Zach was constantly asking where our other car was, that he preferred that one and didn’t like the new one! So I can totally understand why your little one would be asking so many questions about moving. I am sure in time he will move onto a different question but it sound like you are dealing with it wonderfully. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • marinailieva says:

      Thank you so much! I guess, we mothers are left with no other choice but anwering any questions that might turn up, at any stage of our kids’ development. 😀 xx

  7. threedifferentdinners says:

    I think you’re right, you’ve moved while he’s still young and this should mean the attachments he forms now will be even stronger than those he made back home when he was little. x

  8. Someone's Mum says:

    Ahhh that must be really tough for him but it sounds like you are doing all you can to help him cope with it and he will be so resilent and have such helpful experiences of different cultures and places as a result. That’s such a gift – remember that when you feel guilty! There are always pros and cons to everything and you are doing exactly what you need to for him. 🙂 #BloggerClubUk

    • marinailieva says:

      Thank you so much for these kind words. I couldn’t agree more, “there are always pros and cons to everything”. And yes, exploring different cultures is a real gift. Hope my son will feel the same about it once he’s old enough. 🙂 xxx

  9. Viv says:

    I REALLY enjoyed this! I can relate so much.. Growing up I had lived in 4 different countries and adapted everytime -kids are resilient!! But I have only recently at the age of 26 found myself actually asking ‘what nationality am I?’ Because I really don’t feel anything at all! Really touching article!!

    • marinailieva says:

      Ah, bless you! Your nice comment made me feel so much better. 🙂 When I don’t feel the guilt of an expar parent, I believe my child would probably like his situation one day. I would because I’ve always wanted to be an expat myself. 🙂

  10. alinabarac says:

    He will adapt. Kids do. My baby is born in the UK. she is five months old now and my parents only met her through skype. I try and speak our language as well hoping she will pick it up and feel comfortable when we will go visit. it will be so painful for my mum not to be able to communicate with their niece. My dad speaks english so it won’t be difficult but still. Home is where the heart is and I believe your little one will grow a fine young man with proper values. I enjoyed your post

    • marinailieva says:

      Thank you for these kind words. I know he will, he feels much better already. But the beginning was really stressful for all of us. I admire kids’ inner strength; apparently, they’re so much stronger then their parents. 🙂 x

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