Home Malta Life Where Exactly is Home Now?

Where Exactly is Home Now?

by Prabs
Published: Last Updated on

I’ve been tagged by Laura of Life With Baby Kicks in the What Home Means to Me an expat life series. It certainly is a timely question as October 9th was exactly 10 years since the day I arrived in MaltaYes, let’s think about that for a second!

TEN YEARS since we moved to this teeny tiny island to take up what is known as expat life. We only came for two!

If you want to know how come we ended up staying so long, this should help. I can remember so much of that initial time like it was yesterday. Hubster came first to start his new venture, source accommodation and begin setting up our life here. I stayed back a few more weeks in the UK to pack up our apartment and organise our removal shipment. It had been a hard slog organising and getting everything done, handling the aftermath of cleaning etc, closing down our UK life, saying goodbye to the home that we had lived in as first time parents with our baby.
A home we’d been so happy in…
I recall before I took Hubster to the airport, I suggested he briefly pause (amidst the anxious checking of travel documents and eagerness to leave on time) and walk around the apartment a few minutes to ‘take in the place’, storing away memories before he left it forever.

It’s funny the things that get imprinted in your memory and stuck in your heart…

I’ll never forget watching the container, carrying our worldly goods, making its way towards the gates of the leafy surroundings of our Harrow on the Hill residence, the chilly October evening darkening around me as I fought back tears and swallowed the lump in my throat. [It’s October as I write this now …sitting in a Summer dress and flipflops. Expat life in a hot country…very different!] I can still see the tail lights blinking at me one last time before the back of the huge vehicle finally disappeared round the corner, carrying our life on it. I say ‘finally’ but in truth I remember how quickly it seemed to vanish…

I will always be a nomad at heart til they finally put me in my own container and ship me out one last time.

Yet I still wanted to run after that lorry and say

Hang on, there’s been a mistake…please unload it all and put it back again…we’ve been SO happy here you see…

I think the only thing stopping me was the fact that I was trying to hang onto a 14 month-old not-yet-walking Musical M as she wrestled in my arms, miserable from yet another teething cold. I stood there a good long while thinking Well that’s it. We’re really doing this. Even though this was not the first time I was moving countries (I had left my job, Hampstead lodgings and said goodbye to family, friends and London life to go and live solo in Paris thirteen years before), this felt more daunting and emotional. Parenthood does that I think. Age does that. You’re less gung ho about things (or maybe even braver because of the experiences you’ve already had?) At least this time, I had the reassurance of doing it with my life partner.

But of course this time, I was ‘taking a child away from her grandparents’…

It was definitely different from being the young, free, I-just-wanna-have-fun singleton who headed off to work at the launch of Eurodisney (as it was then called) with nothing more than a large rucksack. Way different!
Anyway, before I empty this Kleenex box reminiscing over old pictures and memories, I had better describe what home has come to mean to me (I’ve changed the title a bit to make it fit more what I was trying to say):

  1. Home is where I can let my kids run off to play at the end of our road or venture over rocks out of sight to go crab hunting by the sea, without me worrying they won’t ever come back home because of another human being’s wickedness #CarefreeChildhood
  2. Home is where I don’t drive around the supermarket carpark for fifteen minutes because 8 drivers have managed to take up 16 spaces.
  3. Home is where we are not surrounded by identikit high streets and built up areas but have nature on our doorstep, can swim in blue waters during the summer and go hiking during the winter.
  4. Home is where I don’t jump out of my skin in my own home because of cockroaches suddenly scampering out of somewhere unexpected #UnwantedGuests
  5. Home is where ‘weather permitting’ means “if it’s not too insanely hot” rather than “if it’s not pouring down’. #NeedTheSun
  6. Home is where I don’t have to say my prayers just to get a drinkable cappuccino or even get served at all #StillLooking
  7. Home is where an evening out can be a simple meal or an ice cream without the fear of bankruptcy.
  8. Home is a place that exposes my kids to a cosmopolitan life and teaches them that there is more to life than this tiny island, no matter how nice it may be.
  9. Home is where there is a vibrant city offering hustle and bustle but quiet residential areas by the sea.
  10. Home is where you can go on an actual road trip lasting more than an hour…where putting your foot on the accelerator and letting the engine rip doesn’t mean you end up in the sea.
  11. Home is where there are TREES….oh how I miss trees and huge luscious fields but:
  12. Home is where there is a beach just minutes from our house for us to stop off at after school and where I have amazing scenery where I go out exercising:
  13. and where this is my backdrop as I go out walking/running:
  14. Home is where I don’t have to wait forty minutes for the menu before just getting one myself and then waiting another thirty before anyone takes my order and the same before the order arrives etc
  15. Home is where my kids are happy in a nurturing school with a relaxed environment and a low/no pressure homework policy. (And where I’m happy that there is no class system, bitchy atmosphere or fashion war between mums trying to trump each other at the school gates.)
  16. Home is where I don’t have to find slugs and slime trails all over my kitchen in the morning and tiny bugs in food packets. #Eeewww
  17. Home is where we live in swimwear and flipflops half the year and it’s being able to just get in the car in a sarong and bikini in the summer because nobody bats an eye and everyone understands it just gets Too. Hot. For. Clothes. (Now you get why I used that swimsuit pic right?)
  18. Home is where we finally have a garden, you know, with real grass…and a pool, oh and no damp inside the house…ooh and air conditioning pretty please.  #IDontAskForMuch
  19. Home is where I don’t risk my life every time I get in my car because of the shocking behaviour of other drivers. No point doing a hashtag for this as I would just swear.
  20. Home is where ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, eye contact and a smile…and just being nice are common behaviour. #SomewhereOverTheRainbow
  21. Home is where if you haven’t got money on you, you can just come back and pay later and not be regarded as a criminal. #ReasonToNeverLeaveMalta
  22. Home is where food, clothes, books, toy etc shopping doesn’t cost the earth because of import costs. #PainInMyPocket
  23. Home is the warm feeling I get in my tummy seeing Hubster and MDK chill on the sofa on a weekend evening – after a long week of school runs, homework etc – watching TV or reading while relaxing music plays and V&T o’clock gets close.
  24. Home is where it doesn’t cost a fortune just to leave the house because you can actually park for free a lot of the time and don’t have crazy travel costs. #ThankYouMalta
  25. Home is where my eyes and heart don’t hurt over the lack of regard for the environment on pretty much a daily basis. #HowIsThisHappeningIn2015

They say home is where the heart is. I left a part of my heart in Paris, a part in that first apartment we lived in as parents in London… There’s a piece left at the villa we lived in when we first moved to Malta (Doe-eyed D’s first home) and I’m sure, much as I complain about our present home, there’s a part here as this is Cheeky K’s first home.
Ultimately, clichéd as it may be, home is where my family is. I’m not sure I can find a place that meets all of the above anyway. But I’ll keep on looking…because like I said, I’m a nomad at heart…
I now tag:
UK bloggers Doctomum and Bewildered Dad 
Aussie blogger Agent Spitback
US blogger Dads Going Home

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68 comments

20 Crazy Things About Malta I Thought I'd Never Get used To! - AbsolutelyPrabulous October 10, 2016 - 7:51 pm

[…] I have written about previously from different angles in Should I Stay and Home is Where).  A time of year when my disbelief at still living on ‘the rock’, is at its greatest. […]

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Sharon January 2, 2016 - 9:42 pm

Loved this post. I complety understand where you are coming from and I think the ideal home is somewhere between the pros of Malta and UK. My husband and I moved to north London in 2005 where we still live with our daughters. All the best for 2016 from dark and cold London 😉 Malta def wins in the weather comparisons! Living for 10 years in a country always call for a big review of whether one has done d right decision. In our case London has cast a spell on us, well for the time being…. X

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prabs January 3, 2016 - 12:09 pm

Ah that is lovely. London is after all one of the greatest cities on earth and always will be. I just can’t imagine raising my kids there for now. Thanks for popping by!

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Jenny October 21, 2015 - 8:51 am

Ahh you really have made a lovely life there and it really is home where the heart is. I know that one all too well. I have been here 8 years now. Can’t believe it. Lovely post Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again this week for another great round of #sharewithme

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prabs October 21, 2015 - 9:07 am

Thanks for reading Jenny.

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Beth October 16, 2015 - 9:49 pm

Such a lovely post along with lovely photos too.
Home is where the heart is! Totally true.
Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

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prabs October 19, 2015 - 5:22 pm

Thanks Beth.

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Something Crunchy Mummy October 16, 2015 - 7:39 pm

Kirsty Constable
Such a lovely post. I think we make our house where we reside as we make it ours. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

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prabs October 19, 2015 - 5:23 pm

Pleasure. Thanks for hosting. And for reading!

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Helena October 15, 2015 - 11:52 am

To me you sound very brave in making a home far away especially as you’d grown to love the life you had here. I’m not sure I could do what you have done. #sharewithme

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prabs October 15, 2015 - 8:59 pm

Thank you. Horses for courses. I’m looking for the next adventure!

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Mudpie Fridays October 15, 2015 - 8:18 am

You are very brave I am not sure I could have moved at that point in my life!! Agreed that home is where the heart is though 🙂 four walls seem to have a special meaning when they are a child’s first home. Thank you for hosting #babybrainmondays xx

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prabs October 15, 2015 - 8:36 am

Looking back, not sure how we did it. But you just do… Thanks for reading. #BabyBrainMonday

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Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks October 15, 2015 - 4:36 am

I don’t think we will ever settle – I’m sure it’s the expat curse that no matter how long you stay somewhere there will be a time for you to move on and you’re always looking for the next opportunity!
Love the pic 🙂 xx

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prabs October 15, 2015 - 6:54 am

Ha I think the pic is the bit I’m the proudest of with this post, lol. Thanks for reading.

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Tracey Abrahams (The Anxious Dragon) October 14, 2015 - 9:08 pm

Malta sounds like such an idylic place, not because of the weather (Imnot a fan of too much heat) but the manners, safety and beautiful beaches are perfect.
Home for me is where im safe. Where my loved ones are. Where there are not too many people. Where I can see green living things and for the hubster where there is a decent pub!!
Thanks for linking up #abitofeverything

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prabs October 14, 2015 - 9:35 pm

Oh crap I forgot pubs! This is so funny. Lots of people misunderstood this post. There’s a lot of subtext there. Lovely place to live…but the manners thing…no…

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Adrian October 14, 2015 - 6:49 pm

I’ve never been to Malta but you make it sound very enticing! I think we’re happy in the UK but I will never say never to jumping ship and moving somewhere else in the world one day. Glad you all found your perfect family home 🙂

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prabs October 14, 2015 - 9:34 pm

Oooh seems I wasn’t clear with this post, ha ha. Thanks for stopping by.

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El October 14, 2015 - 9:28 am

Haha, there are some compelling and some funny points! #4-The cockroaches, sorry I had to laugh because it is so true! Wait a minute, I live in a country with the world’s most dangerous snakes and spiders. Time to move?
Lovely to take a peek at your life (sarongs! that would be my dream as well- do not even have to iron or hang) and it makes me think—mmm, there’s more to Prabs and coffee than meets the eye! Looking forward to reading more of your nomad adventures and reading your older posts. I need to take a day off to catch up!
Thanks for tagging me…I think? 🙂 Also for hosting #BabyBrainMonday.

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prabs October 14, 2015 - 5:07 pm

But of course there are many layers to me. How do you not know this? 🙂 Thanks for reading and yes can’t wait to read yours. (No pressure though!)

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John Adams October 13, 2015 - 9:16 pm

Funny, I can think of places I’ve lived that weren’t home and some that I adored. Very detailed and insightful list! Thanks for hosting #BabyBrainMonday

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 10:09 pm

Oooh would love to know where those places are. Yes it’s an impossible to satisfy list! Thanks for reading. #BAbyBrainMonday

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The Housewife October 13, 2015 - 8:20 pm

I am torn as to where I would consider my “home” to be. I grew up in one place then spent over 20 years building a life in another place trying to start over yet again. For me to complete the sentence would be “home is where my kids are” I hope to always live close to my kids even when they have flown the coupe. Thanks for hostessing #BabyBrainMonday.

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 10:08 pm

Thanks for commenting again my dear. Much appreciated.

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The Housewife October 13, 2015 - 6:14 pm

I don’t think I could ever get used to cock roaches…EVER. I had a friend who recently visited Japan and she said they are the size of leaves over there. LEAVES!!! Love the rest of your post too but that has just seemed to stick in my head. Thanks for hosting #BabyBrainMonday and the thought of cock roaches 😉

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:41 pm

Ha ha I’ve traumatised you now haven’t I? Honestly, it’s shocking how you eventually get ‘used’ to them. Shudder.

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Helen - Mess Stress and Fancy Dress October 13, 2015 - 7:47 pm

You are so glamorous and cosmopolitan. Other than University which really is just getting drunk somewhere new for 3 years, I have never left the horrendous Buckinghamshire armpit which is High Wycombe. My sister lives 3 doors away and my mum a 5 minute walk. It’s grubby but it is indeed home. As you so beautifully summarise, home is where your family are. I just love reading your writing. xx

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 8:01 pm

Oh you’re such a sweetheart. Ha ha, cosmopolitan (it’s all smoke and mirrors you know hee hee). Yes quite a few people have commented saying they’ve never left their home town. I just can’t imagine it. The opposite of what I’d want. Horses for courses isn’t it? Thanks for reading and for the lovely comments.

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Stacey October 13, 2015 - 7:28 pm

What a beautiful post. Sounds like you have lived in some amazing places, I couldn’t agree more, home is where your family is. #BabyBrainMonday

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 7:34 pm

Thank you. So many more beautiful ones to try! #BabyBrainMonday

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alan herbert October 13, 2015 - 1:15 pm

Ever since my adopted parents returned to the USA 22 years ago I’ve wandered.
Mostly around the UK, but I did have a wonderful summer in Corfu.
10 years ago I moved to Ireland, Herself and I are considering moving abroad.
I’d never thought of Malta, but you make it sound idyllic. I’ll have to get in touch with a friend of mine in Portomaso see of he knows of any jobs.
Must be wonderful to let kids out to play without worry. Constant sun sounds good too.

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:40 pm

Ha ha well I think people may have missed the subtext in this post but yes of course, there are many things about Malta that are really fab. Portomaso eh? Central! Thanks for reading.

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becca farrelly October 13, 2015 - 12:25 pm

Ahh this is a great, positive post! I have moved a lot but within the UK and now we have a toddler and about to move closer to our chosen school for her, I must say we are starting to get really fed up of living here and I think we are ready for our 1st family ‘adventure’! I admire your courage to move so far and I can see all the benefits from it!
#BabyBrainMonday

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:39 pm

Yes it’s such a pity. The UK has so much to offer but sadly, it’s not the place it once was (there again…is anywhere?) Thanks for reading. #babybrainmonday

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Doctomum October 13, 2015 - 9:47 am

This is a lovely post. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever thought about this for myself so thanks for tagging me and I’ll have a think. Cripes I’ve moved so much with my job you’d think I’d have this down by now!
I love people to be nice and polite too…you’d think you’d get more if it in England, the home of manners, but instead we are just angsty about everyone else’s manners or lack of. And I wish too it were a bit safer just to let the kids out to run free…plus I’d get slot done whilst the were running free!

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:38 pm

That is such a good point about people getting angsty about other peoples’ manners (although…erm I think I just did that very British in this post mentioning please and thank you!). Get thinking about yours, ha ha. Thanks for reading.

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Seychellesmama October 13, 2015 - 9:02 am

Love this!! I can relate to so much of this being an island mama myself, one of my fav things is also being able to pay later in a shop haha!!
The first part of this post is really beautiful, in a sad way…I can’t imagine moving again (countries that is) now we have kids but I imagine that it will happen at some point and that’s scary!!!
Thanks for sharing with #myexpatfamily

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:37 pm

Ha ha yes I love the term island Mama. We probably have very similar lives! Thanks for hosting #myexpatfamily

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Pen October 13, 2015 - 7:28 am

Really thoughtful post as always. Home is where the heart is and that heart is never entirely in one place. #babybrainmonday

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:36 pm

Awwww beautiful comment as always! #babybrainmonday

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Michelle October 13, 2015 - 3:47 am

I still remember making the decision to move from my hometown of Baltimore, MD to Massachusetts. It was a big step for me. I’ve lived here in my town for the past 12 1/2 years. It seems like my old home I grew up in was a lifetime ago and at the same time, it seems like it was yesterday. This made me think of some old memories of my hometown. Thanks for sharing! Visiting from #babybrainmondays

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:36 pm

Awwww yes it’s a big move but to be honest, once you’ve done it once, it just gets easier. #babybrainmonday

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Rosie @ Little Fish October 12, 2015 - 11:49 pm

You are so right – home is where your family is. I have come to realise that too. This is definitely a topic that is fitting for us expats. So lovely to have an insight into your life in Malta – it sounds wonderful! Glad to have found you at #MyExpatFamily x

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 12:21 am

Thanks so much! Just tweeted you re another linky and thanks for reading!

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Min October 12, 2015 - 9:46 pm

Love the Harrow on the Hill shout out! My old stomping ground (well, OK, I wasn’t on the hill. The hill was too posh for me).

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:35 pm

Amazing how many people know Harrow on the Hill including loads here in Malta! Ha ha, the Hill is a bit posh. Still lovely.

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Harps October 12, 2015 - 9:07 pm

HARROW ON THE HILL! We would’ve almost been neighbours!! Come back already!! Just joking, I can see what a gorgeous life you guys are living out there and it seems like you have time to enjoy life’s beauty like the sun sea and sand! Time = a rare bloody commodity here when you have a gazillion relatives and friends to constantly catch up with! I wish I could move away and enjoy the simple things. As you say, home is where
your family is. Xx

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:34 pm

Ha ha really?! Damn! Yes I’m selfish about my time (always have been) precisely because I just want to enjoy my time. Definitely a more relaxed life here but the people aren’t relaxed. We’ll have to go to Cafe Cafe Harrow on the Hill next time I’m over!

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Becky, Cuddle Fairy October 12, 2015 - 8:58 pm

Yes, home definitely is where your family is! You have had so many amazing experiences living in different countries – that’s worth a lot!! thank you for hosting #babybrainmonday x

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:32 pm

It’s true Cuddles. Thanks for reading #babybrainmonday

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Silly Mummy October 12, 2015 - 10:27 pm

As long as you’re not looking for much…! I agree though that home tends to be where your family is. Or maybe I would even say where you make it. I’ve always believed that – I think there will be places you particularly like, but actually you get used to where ever you are if it has something that holds you there. #babybrainmonday

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prabs October 13, 2015 - 6:35 pm

Yes you do get used to wherever you are. And no I’m not asking for much am I?!! Thanks for reading. #babybrainmonday

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Talya October 12, 2015 - 7:00 pm

Wow your home sounds lovely? Please can I move in wifey? #BabyBrainMonday

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prabs October 12, 2015 - 8:29 pm

lol sure I’ll leave the keys under the barbecue. Thanks for reading #BabyBrainMonday

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mummuddlingthrough October 12, 2015 - 6:33 pm

Stopping by from #babybrainmondays. I’m so intrigued by the nomad lifestyle, having always lived in my ‘home’town. Surrounded, still, by my school pals I grew up with; Our kids now becoming the next generation. I am probably the polar opposite to you! One thing in common though – home is definitely where my family is (including my Mum who my hubby swears may as well move in with us!) x MMT

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prabs October 12, 2015 - 8:29 pm

Ha ha yes definitely opposites. It really is horses for courses isn’t it? I just can’t imagine living in the same place my entire life. That would end me. And I’ve never been tied to my family in that way (although perhaps I’m missing out on something lovely in the long run) as I just find it hard work, love them as I do. And I’m still in touch with friends via social media and see them when I come back so I guess that’s covered! Thanks for reading.

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Kat @ Eat.Love.Live October 12, 2015 - 6:03 pm

I love this post! I understand exactly how you fee being a nomad. I made the move to London from Australia as a single party girl and somehow settled down and started a family here. I feel such a sense of belonging in the UK yet it’s so difficult to be away from my family. Malta sounds lovely x #babybrainmonday

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prabs October 12, 2015 - 8:20 pm

If you have found where you belong, then that’s amazing. Thanks for reading. #babybrainmonday

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Gemma @ Confessions of a Nagging Mother October 12, 2015 - 6:33 pm

Awww, so many lovely points… it sounds and looks like you live surrounded by such beautiful sights 🙂
#babybrainmonday
Gemma xx

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prabs October 12, 2015 - 8:20 pm

Thanks Gemma. It’s not bad… #babybrainmonday

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Ella @ Breaking up with contraception October 12, 2015 - 3:55 pm

Loved this post Prabs. Know exactly how you feel – I left part of my heart in Moscow years ago. Even though at the time the lack of humous killed me (it’s the little things!). Edinburgh stole a chunk more recently. But despite my ever itchy feet, it’s the coming back to certain people that makes it coming ‘home’.
Ella xx | http://www.breakingupwithcontraception.com

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prabs October 12, 2015 - 8:18 pm

The hummus. You crack me up. I started making my own when I arrived in Malta because they didn’t have any either!!

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Diana Elle October 12, 2015 - 2:17 pm

I arrived in Germany for the first time on Oct 9th too! But in 2012, so i’ haven’t been here as long as you there. & I agree that “Home is where the family is” definitely fits.
#MyExpatFamily

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prabs October 12, 2015 - 8:12 pm

Ah thanks for reading Diane. Ha must be a lucky date!

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Mummy Tries October 11, 2015 - 6:58 pm

I have to say it’s a rather tall order, but you’ve got to set your sights high right?! Home is most definitely where my little family are, although the house we currently live in is the only proper home we’ve ever had… I’m feeling a little sad after reading the post about Malta breaking your heart 🙁

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prabs October 11, 2015 - 7:12 pm

It’s a bit over demanding I admit ha ha. Thanks for reading.

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Notting Hill Daddy October 11, 2015 - 9:46 am

Sunday morning, coffee in hand, and reading another post from Prabs. What more can anyone ask for ? Her writing is heart felt, smooth and humorous with non of the toxic negativity that journalists feel necessary to interject in their article to grab attention. In fact Camilla long ( Sunday Times columnist ) should take a few hints from Prabs and improve her writing style.
I’ve moved countries once in my life and understand how powerful it can be. I tend to look at it as an adventure and adventures are good for the soul.
Thank you for sharing your adventure and great poster by the way !

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