You guys, it’s finally happening! We’re moving! Oli and I have been talking about moving since we got married in 2013. Oh, we’ve moved since then—from a townhouse, to a teeny tiny studio apartment, to a 4-bedroom single-family home—but all within a 20-mile radius. What I mean is, we are moving, moving. Internationally. To the other side of the globe.
The United States was never going to be a permanent home for us. Being international transplants in the U.S., we knew we would one day make our way back to either one of our home countries. We just didn’t know which one (New Zealand or Mauritius?) and we didn’t know when. The timing never seemed quite right. Back in 2015, we seriously entertained the idea of moving to New Zealand. We got rid of furniture and downsized from a townhouse to a one-studio apartment, all in preparation for the move. On a brief visit to New Zealand that year, we scoped out a quarantine kennel for our newly-adopted dog, Milou. And we told family and close friends that we intended on making the move by year’s end. Well, it never happened. Long story short, we were convinced into buying a house in the Bay Area (“a great investment!”) and I fell pregnant with our first child. Well, we did move—into our current home, a four-bedroom, 3-bathroom house in East Palo Alto. The very same house that we are now packing up and prepping for sale (but more on that in a separate post!).
So, why Mauritius? I hear you ask. Trust me, Oli and I have spent countless hours asking ourselves this very same question. It was a really, really difficult choice to make—New Zealand or Mauritius? Two equally picturesque, peaceful, diverse island nations. Mauritius has the advantage of also being exotic (at least to me!) but that’s not why we chose it. Ultimately, it came down to family relations. My first year as a stay-at-home first-time mom taught me that what I wanted, nay needed, more than anything else was to have family nearby that I could lean on for support (both practical and emotional) as I navigated that rewarding but oft-times challenging and demanding role of motherhood. My husband, bless him, is an amazing partner and father. But he is also our family’s sole financial provider with a host of other responsibilities, and so I found myself doing the lion’s share of childrearing with little assistance. Isn’t this every mother’s story? Or at least the vast majority of us, particularly those who settle down far from their home countries and extended family networks.
When Oli and I weighed our options against this need of having more family support, we realized that Mauritius would be the better option. Not only does Oli have a large extended family in Mauritius, but his family are close-knit, involved and invested in each other’s lives. By comparison, my own family are distant (geographically and, to some extent, emotionally) and unavailable. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of love in my family, but we’re not really the “lean on each other” types. For starters, my parents, and my mom in particular, are busy people with already-full lives. I can’t rely on them in the same way, and to the same extent, that I can rely on my in-laws. So, Mauritius it is.
But, why now? Over the years I’ve hashed this question out with family, colleagues, and friends—when is the right time to go? And I kept hearing the same response over and over again, that old cliché, there is no “right time”. But I politely disagree. The right time for us was probably three years ago, back in 2015, when we didn’t have a mortgage, or a dog, or a child. The longer we stay in the U.S., the more entrenched we become, the harder it is to move. That has become our motto as we psych ourselves up for the big move. But unless someone invents a time-traveling machine stat, the best answer to the question—when is the right time to go?—is “now!“. Or at least before we have (God-willing) a second child.
I know, I know—had we moved away three years ago we would’ve missed out on some of the wonderful things that have happened to us these last few years in the Bay Area. For starters, we would not have met our amazing birth community and midwives. Truthfully, we may not have had the incredible home birth experience we had with our son, André-Maurice. This was one of the harder decisions for us to make: do we want to let go of all of that (our birth community and the loving relationships we have built with our midwives); or do we want to stay and have child #2 here and then move? We have chosen to leave, rather than delay the leaving. We’ll have to start over in Mauritius, navigate an unfamiliar birth culture and healthcare system and seek (or create!) a new birth and parenting community. And as we investigate, I’ll write and share about that process right here on Mommy In Mauritius!
There are so many other reasons why we chose Mauritius at this point in time—from the exciting things happening in the local tech scene, to the allure of island life (oh, the white sand beaches!), to the amazing food, and the fascinating Mauritians we have met (and the Mauritians we are yet to meet!). In fact, that is what this blog is about—documenting all these things, and many more.
Like this? Read “Mauri…where??”