Memorable journey – Kingston-Miami-London-Bangkok-Phuket…..

It’s been a while since I had a memorable journey post on my blog so I thought I would write about one trip that I will certainly never forget. For many reasons. Read on…..

I was living in Kingston, Jamaica when the awful Asian Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 struck. I am sure many of us recall watching the news unfold on our television screens, a long, long way away. It was the way the numbers went up so rapidly…..tens dead, hundreds dead, thousands dead… around that point I think the brain shuts down a bit. And being so far away, pretty well on the other side of the world, it all felt very distant and very unreal.

A few days later, my now husband and I went away for the new year’s holiday. We stayed, as we often used to in those days, at an All-Inclusive hotel in Negril – one of the nicest beach spots in Jamaica. We relaxed, swam, dived and saw in the new year at a table that included (amongst others) a prospective Liberal Democrat candidate for the upcoming elections. I wonder what happened to her! (for the non-Brits amongst you, the Lib Dems were all but wiped out at our last set of elections, earlier this year).

So refreshed and relaxed we returned to Kingston – and a message in my in-box from London that called for assistance in Thailand. It seemed that our embassy there couldn’t cope with the sheer numbers involved in the tsunami – Thailand (and the other involved Asian and Indian Ocean countries) is a very popular tourist destination and untold numbers of British nationals might or might not be caught up in the tragedy. Hundreds of bodies were lying in morturaries, unidentified, and a huge number of people had been reported missing. So anyone who could be spared was asked if they could come to do temporary duty in Thailand – either at the embassy in Bangkok or at the emergency unit that had been set up in Phuket.

Now look on a map or, more usefully, a globe, and you will see quite how far apart Kingston and Bangkok are. So although I put forward my name – in particular because I had good experience of press office work in exactly this sort of emergency – I didn’t think for a moment that I would be called.

So imagine my surprise when the next day I received an email saying yes please, could I come? Perhaps the woman who was organising the extra help hadn’t actually looked at the map. Maybe she was too busy. But yes I would need to fly to the other side of the world and yes it was going to take quite a long time.

memorable journey kingston to thailand

I packed my bags and within a couple of days my flights were booked and I was ready to go. But because it was a busy time of the year in the Caribbean (if you remember, the tsunami was on boxing day so we were still in January and the holiday period) the only flight to the UK I could get on was via Miami. So off I went on step one of my journey: Kingston – Miami.

I arrived in Miami and due to the timings of the flights I had pretty well an entire day to fill. I have spent a lot of time at Miami airport and it is safe to say it is not my favourite airport in the world. I have been delayed there overnight after missing a flight from Dominican Republic, I have spent the day there waiting for luggage that was checked in and needed to be checked out again as our flight was cancelled. I have lost bags there, I have had a camera stolen from checked-through luggage there. There are other reasons not to like this airport – including the particularly unfriendly and unhelpful TSA staff, the inevitable immigration queues which I think are the worst I have ever encountered and the absolutely totally rubbish shops that only seem to sell stuffed flamingos and salt-water taffy. Oh and chocolate in the shape of crocodiles….


Welcome to Miami!

So having a day to spend there didn’t exactly fill me with joy but at least, due to the fact that I was flying business class (those were the days!) I was able to use the lounge. Where, as I was sitting reading my book, an elderly man walked in with what seemed like family members and a buzz went around the room. People looked and whispered and then a military man in combat uniform asked to have his photo taken with him. I had no idea who he was. After a while, the man and his family left and most of the people in the room stood up and clapped. I was so curious, I had to ask the staff on the reception who he was. Apparently they weren’t allowed to tell me – but he was an ex president. Well he certainly wasn’t Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan….eventually I worked it out.

Apparently it was Jimmy Carter! Who I grew up knowing as Carter Carter the peanut farter! Although now I know him as a good guy who has done a lot to promote human rights around the world. So I was glad to have seen him in the flesh. Even if I didn’t know it was him….

Anyway eventually it was time for the next leg of my flight, from Miami to London. As I checked in I chatted to the woman doing the check in who asked why I was going all the way to Bangkok. I explained that I would be helping out with the UK Foreign Office’s efforts to help distressed British nationals post-tsunami. She said British Airways (the airline I was flying with) was also doing some work in this area as some of their staff and many of their passengers had been affected. I went on my way, thinking nothing of it, until I got on the plane. They looked at the name on my boarding card, they looked at their list and then they took me to the front of the plane. Right to the front. I had been upgraded to first class!

This is (and will probably remain) the only time I have flown first class as an adult. There were only about eight of us in there and we had beds and duvets and pyjamas and amazing freebies. As much champagne as you could want. However, as you can imagine given the circumstances and what I was headed to, champagne was the last thing I wanted. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to celebrate. But the flat bed and duvet was nice and I was at least able to get a bit of sleep.

I arrived in London the next morning and had to whizz around between the office and a travel clinic where I answered questions about my general health and made sure I was up to date with all the needed vaccinations. One of the questions was whether I might be pregnant as there were certain medicatons they wouldn’t give me if I was. Well I guess it was a vague possibility but I doubted it….

Finally that evening I boarded the second overnight flight within a 24 hour period and we were on our way to Bangkok. I wasn’t upgraded this time but we were still flying business class so it was another comfortable flight. But two long-distance flights and a time difference of 12 hours was always going to take its toll – so getting to Bangkok and basically being take straight into the office was hard.


However, it wasn’t as hard as what so many people in that part of the world had been through in the last couple of weeks. As well as having to deal with a lot of very distressed British nationals, staff at our embassy were also going through their own grieving process as one of the staff members had lost their life in that dreadful event. Those of us who had arrived to help put our heads down and tried to get on with it – we wanted to be as supportive as possible.

A few days later, I was moved to Phuket to take over the role of press officer there. This was even more difficult but we did at least feel we could help in a more immediate way. I was able to see first hand some of the terrible, terrible consequences of the tsunami and some of the images from those days will live with me forever.

However, a week or so after I arrived, I found something out. Something that would change my life forever and something that, from a very personal point, shielded me in some ways from the trauma of what we saw and heard about in Phuket. I found out that I was pregnant.

The daughter that was inside me has just turned ten. She is a long-legged. blonde-haired, sports-crazy near-teen. I look at her and can’t believe she was inside me all that time, when I left Jamaica, during my hours in Miami, the flight to Bangkok. Just she and I, we did that together. I bought a little orange elephant in Phuket just after I found out I was pregnant and I have it still, a reminder of those strange, strange days. Although now that I desperately want to add a photo of it to this post I can’t find it – one of the perils of having just moved to a new country and still be in chaos!

I immediately went off anything spicy and had to pretend to not feel very well every time someone invited me to the bar. I think all my colleagues had me down as the most boring or antisocial person in the group. But I decided not to tell more than a couple of people there and started plotting my escape. Another week or two and it was decided my work was done, I could return home. I packed my suitcases again and did the whole journey in reverse. Only, this time, I knew I wasn’t alone.

To read about other memorable journey’s in this series please click on the tag below. And if you have a memorable journey you would like to share please let me know – I am always after interesting tales!

Photo credits: Miami skyline Bryan Sereny Bangkok sunset: Mike Behnken

Watching sport as an expat: does your heart expand with every country you live in?

When I was pregnant for the second time, I went through that thought process that I suspect every parent goes through: how am I going to love this one as much as my first? How will I find room in my heart for another? And of course, when the new baby comes along you do – because, as the saying goes, your heart expands.

For me, it’s like this with the countries that I have lived in. Every time I go somewhere new, my heart grows and I let it in.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have never loved everything about any of the places I have lived. Whether it be the food, the weather, the people, the shops – there is always something that I grouch about. But I know that deep down I still have a huge affection for each place because whenever there is a major sporting event, I find myself cheering on the athletes from Jamaica, Pakistan, the Philippines, St Lucia….and now, South Africa.

As a huge lover of athletics, this tends to be the Olympics or (as it is at the moment), the World Athletics. I am lucky in that, having lived in Jamaica, I get to do quite a lot of cheering. Usain Bolt beating Justin Gaitlin in the 100m last weekend was one of the highlights of my watching career. Almost up there with Mo winning an Olympic gold in London, or seeing Jessica Ennis-Hill finish first in the Heptathalon just one year after having a baby…


But I also enjoy sportsmen and women doing well in the more obscure events: boxing, weightlifting, hockey….it doesn’t matter what it is, I feel pride in my once-adopted countries whatever the sport. Yesterday, for example, I watched the highlights of the World Athletics from the previous day and found myself willing on the South African runners in the 400m hurdles. And these are runners I have previously never even noticed. It doesn’t matter if I have been cursing all things South African moments before (which I actually haven’t been – so far, I have found very little to dislike about this country…), as soon as those athletes hit the track/pitch/pool, I am back in love with my new home.

It probably helps that most of the places we have lived DON’T feature too much in the Olympics: Jamaica really is the only flag we see raised more than a handful of times. But whenever they do, I’m there, cheering them on. If there is a Brit in the race with them I will them into second place, or at least not to come last. And if they finish first, then I feel national pride like all the people of that country. Even the next best thing counts – I have been enjoying the Caribbean nations doing particularly well in these games. And when they don’t do so well, especially if they are expected to, I feel the pain of the nation. And I will them to get up and try again.

Just like a proud mum!

Do you cheer for your adopted home in sporting events? What about countries you used to live in – do they still have a place in your heart? Or are you loyal to your home country?

Usain Bolt picture courtesy of Richard Giles via Wikimedia Commons

Delicious recipes from around the world: Banana bread from Jamaica

Today I baked banana bread. Well, by the time you read this is will actually be last week I baked banana bread as I am about to schedule this post for next Wednesday. So by now I am sure the banana bread that is this moment still baking in the oven will have been wholly consumed and pretty well forgotten about. But anyway, you get the gist.

As I was mixing, I got to thinking about the recipe, which is from a Jamaican cookbook we brought back from our time there. It sits on the shelf alongside a book from Pakistan (Cuisine Along the Great Trunk Road), a Malaysian cookbook, Caribbean barbecue recipes, scraps of paper with curries from our helper in Islamabad scrawled on, cut out recipes from St Lucian newspapers….as well as our Jamie Olivers and our Delia Smiths.

I don’t cook many of the Jamaican recipes – to be honest, although my husband adores the food from Jamaica, I was never the biggest fan of curried goat or jerk chicken, bones and all (although I would pay good money to go back to Boston Bay for some jerk pork and roasted breadfruit). Sorry any Jamaicans reading this! Anyway, although we don’t do a lot of home Jamaican cooking, there is one recipe that gets baked over and over from the book – banana bread. Not only is the recipe very, very easy – it is, apparently, totally foolproof. For some reason, it always seems to come out well – which is saying something for me and my baking attempts! It is also – of course – delicious and, considering it contains bananas, reasonably healthy. Well apart from all the sugar and butter….

So without further ado, because I know you want it, here is the recipe:

(This apparently produces 6 portions: they are quite big portions!)

Quarter lb butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, beaten

3 large, ripe bananas, crushed

2 cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

Quarter tsp nutmeg

Pinch salt

Half cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

Quarter cup raisins

1, Cream butter and sugar

2. Add egg to butter and sugar

3. Add crushed bananas and mix well


4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt

5. Add flour mixture to butter, sugar and egg mixture, along with the milk and the vanilla

6. Add raisins

7. Pour into greased and lined loaf tin and bake at 350 degrees F for one hour or until done.

8. Lick bowl.


So for today’s recipe it’s all about using up ingredients and I have used caster sugar instead of granulated, and strong white baking flour instead of normal plain flour. Also, I have no raisisns – and I am trying to avoid buying anything new at the moment so the bread shall remain raisinless.

And now for the results! Here it is, straight from the oven:


And the first slice, perfect with a cup of morning coffee (as I am about to do).


Delicious! Although it could do with some raisins…..

Do you have any favourite recipes collected on your travels? Tell me about them below – and if you’ve written about them on your blog please leave a link!

When Foreign Aid Can Work

It’s polling day here in the UK, and so many of us will be off to put our x’s in the boxes (I would like to say most of us but the number of people who actually bother to go out to vote have been woefully low in recent years; personally I think it should be compulsory to vote – even if you just spoil your ballot paper in protest at the non-inspiring choices). This has been an interesting election for one reason only – no-one knows what the outcome will be. It’s too close to call between the Conservatives and Labour to win the larger percentage of the vote, and whoever does win will almost certainly then need to form some sort of coalition if they are going to get anything done.

So, it’s been fascinating for that reason – but the campaigns haven’t exactly set the world alight. For the Tories, it’s been “all about the economy, stupid”. Labour have tried to imply that not voting for them would mean the death of the National Health Service. The honest truth is that it’s impossible to KNOW the truth – you can vote for who you THINK will make less of a mess of it, but really it’s anyone’s guess as to how the next few years will pan out.

In the meantime, one of the things this election hasn’t been about is foreign aid. Well, it has – but perhaps not overtly, in the same way as the economy, health and education have tried to grab our attention.

Foreign aid in this country has been ring-fenced during this parliament and, to be honest, we should be proud of the fact that we do contribute more per GDP than most countries. But, there are many – and at least one main party (UKIP) – who think we should do away with foreign aid altogether, that the money would be better spent back here in the UK on our homeless, our malnourished children, our poorly educated and our destitute. However, I think what people possibly don’t realise is that foreign aid, ultimately, helps not just the people in some far-off land, but themselves as well. I think the problem is that the people who “do” foreign aid just aren’t very good at explaining it properly.

So, as some of you reading this head off to the polls this morning, let me do my best to explain why keeping our foreign aid budget is a good thing. In my very amateur way!

A few nights ago, I watched a programme about the Caribbean. In it, the presenter visited Honduras, a country which quite honestly should be described as a basket case. Crime, particularly violent crime, is through the roof. Gangs have taken over huge swathes of the country – even the prisons are now a gang-stronghold. The presenter walked around the city surrounded by armed guards, all wearing flak jackets.

After Honduras, he changed direction and flew to Jamaica. Ah, we were able to sigh, a beautiful, friendly country – what a relief after the madness of Honduras. But ten years ago, when I lived and worked in Kingston, Jamaica was Honduras. It was a country on a one-way road to collapse. The murder rate was one of the highest in the world. Drug gangs made parts of downtown Kingston into total no-go areas. We weren’t able to drive to certain areas unless in armoured cars. The police and the military were riddled with corruption. The economy was plunging, the IMF had been called in. Despite the beautiful beaches and the friendliness of the people, it was a difficult and depressing place to work.



Except, while we were there, we – the UK – along with allies the US, Canada and the EU, started a co-ordinated aid effort to work with Jamaica to try and rescue it from the abyss it was heading towards. Why would we do this? Well mostly because the drugs that were passing through Jamaica on their way from South America were ending up on the streets of London, New York, Toronto. And so their problems were our problems. And our problems were theirs – the desire for cocaine in the west was fuelling the atrocious criminality in the Caribbean.

It really was a coordinated effort. Not only did we work with our American, Canadian and EU friends (as well as the Jamaicans), but it was also coordinated between the different government departments based in the high commission in Kingston. So people who understood the politics talked to the people who understood the police and the gangs. People who understood aid spoke to the people who understood military operations. And all of us spoke to contacts within the Jamaican government law enforcement agencies and civil society groups.

Now lots of things happened that I can’t write about here, and I am sure lots of things happened that I was never even aware of, but I left at a time when a lot of what we were doing was very much still in the early stages. However, even by this point a great amount had been done – we had paid for police officers from the UK to come to work alongside their Jamaican colleagues, mentoring and supporting them. The Department for International Development (DfID) had started working closely with the local civil service to try and bring their astronomical wage bill down – and encourage more people to pay taxes. Law enforcement did their bit and eventually a number of the major players, the “king pins” of the drug gangs were extradited to face charges in the US.


Headlines like this were commonplace

I moved on and lost touch with what was happening in Jamaica. It’s hard to get a perspective when you’re not living there. But the programme we watched the other night was one of the most encouraging things I have seen for a long time. According to the programme makers, the murder rate is down by 40%. FORTY PER CENT. The country is now apparently known as one of the least corrupt in the region. Parts of Kingston that were no-go area are now relatively safe. Youngsters are finding jobs rather than being forced into gangs.

I realise there is a long, long way to go still, and that things could slide backwards as quickly as they seem to have moved forwards. I also realise that the people who really need to take the credit for what has happened in Jamaica are the Jamaicans themselves. But to me this is a major success story. And what it means for us, the people of the UK, is that when Jamaica heals, the drugs stop flowing our way. Which means we all benefit.

The beautiful beach in Negril, Jamaica.

The beautiful beach in Negril, Jamaica.

This is the story of how foreign aid CAN work, as long as it is targeted and coordinated aid. As long as all the players talk to each other and as long as we work closely with the right people in the host nation.

Whoever wins our election tomorrow, I hope this is one area that doesn’t suffer.

The programme I mention above is Caribbean with Simon Reeve. To watch it please click here.

To read more about the UK’s committment to global development click here.

To read where we stand on Foreign Aid compared to other countries click here

Have you ever dealt with an “extreme weather event”?

My column this month for the Expat Focus website talks about the weather. How very British! We love the weather in this country, I would go so far as to say it’s a national obsession. But actually it’s not something I gave a huge amount of thought to until I moved elsewhere.

In the article, I talk about how it was only when I was living and travelling in New Zealand – an “outdoorsy” place if ever there was one – that I really started to understand why it is important to figure out  the weather. Hiking, diving, even tandem-parachuting: these were all activities undertaken by me without much thought to whether the weather would be in our favour or not. But after a few close calls (we probably really shouldn’t have done that dive – or that freezing cold walk wearing just our shorts…), I started to understand that getting to know a bit about wind direction, precipitation levels and thermals (and no, I don’t mean thermal underwear) wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Fast-forward a few years and I was living in the Caribbean. Now this is one place where you really can’t avoid having at least a passing understanding of what the weather has in store for you. At least, during hurricane season. And boy did I ever learn this the hard way! First, in Jamaica, there was Hurricane Ivan (a force 5 that clipped the coast), then there was Dennis, with Emily close on it’s heels. And later still, living in St Lucia, there was Tomas.

Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Ivan

Now we were in a much better position than a large percentage of the islanders, living as we did in solid homes with proper concrete walls. Sadly, there were a large number of deaths during these storms – Ivan in particular wrecked some of the islands completely. But it was still a terrifying thing to go through. We were stuck indoors for at least 24 hours (in the case of Ivan) and only ventured out when we were sure there wouldn’t be any more tree branches being thrown around in the wind. The devastation was awful, and the clean-up took days.

In St Lucia, our house was flooded by Tomas and the storms that came afterwards. We actually missed this one as we were in Miami at the time, but came home to find the remnants of the 6 inches of mud that had filled our kitchen.

Of course bad weather can happen everywhere – we’ve had tornadoes and terrible flooding in the UK in the last few years. But it’s only since living in the path of hurricanes that I’ve really come to appreciate the importance of understanding what it means when a small swirl on the other side of the Atlantic starts to gain in size, day-on-day, and then gets a name, then a Force number….

I intend to come back to this topic in a future post or posts and would be interested to hear your stories.  Have you lived through any bad weather events while living overseas? How did you deal with it? Have you ever had to be evacuated because of a storm or other weather-related event?


I’ve spent my whole life feeling home-sick for somewhere….

As part of a trailing spouse link-up this month we have been asked to write about home-sickness. At the moment, I am home. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get home-sick. For all my life I have been leaving places – and people – behind. And even now I still get a pang for countries that are so far in my past I can hardly remember what they feel like.

A friend of mine has recently returned from a posting in the Philippines. On her arrival back in the UK, she posted a set of photographs – set to some stirring song or another – of her time in that beautiful country. As I watched the pictures flick across the screen in front of me they not only showed me what a fabulous time my friend had had, it also brought back my own memories. And suddenly I was there again – the smell of Frangipani on a humid tropical evening; the excitement of arriving at our favourite beach resort at the start of the weekend. Diving from the top board at the Army and Navy club – and the agony when the perfect arc turned into a belly flop. Eating pizza at Shakey’s. My first sleepover, at a Korean friend’s house. Birthday parties with the rich children from school at the Country Club. Running barefoot round the corner of our gated village to my best friend’s house….

Maya maya pic

The Philippines in the 1970’s

The feelings are fleeting but they are still there. Another example: I recently met someone who is about to be posted to Venezuela. I spent some very formative years of my life in that country – we were posted there when I was 15 and left when I was 19. I was at boarding school for much of that time but spent most holidays in Caracas and then a year there between leaving school and university.

As we spoke about what Venezuela was like (sadly very different from the country I knew – so safe I was able to go out at night on my own, finding my way home via taxi’s or lifts from strangers I met in bars; now it’s all armoured cars and close protection teams), I remembered trips to the Llanos, swimming at the base of the Angel Falls, endless cinema outings to watch the latest 80’s teen movie. Terrible clothes shops. The blandness of arepas, but the wonderful beef. These memories are deep but they haven’t gone away.

Yes I get homesick all the time – for all of these countries and for more. For verdant New Zealand, with its stunning views and laid-back people. For Jamaica, where I met my husband and we spent the weekends underwater. For St Lucia, with its beaches and its pools. Even for Pakistan, a strange three-month interlude in my life where I barely touched on getting to know the country but nevertheless gained so much.

Jamaica wedding

Jamaica wedding

But all of those will still pale into insignificance when I move abroad again this summer as I know the one place I will always miss more than any other is this one.

I wasn’t born here – that honour goes to Cuba – but I have always known the UK is home. Maybe not even the UK, maybe more significantly England, or perhaps even west England, where I live now. We always had a house in this country and family. We returned here between postings and I went first to school and later to University here. I have lived and worked here – in Kent, Hertfordshire, Essex, the Midlands, the west, and of course London. I know the people, I know the humour. There is no other country that does better television. We have our radio and our music. Our culture and our history. The NHS. Marks and Spencers. Cheese rolling and Morris dancing. We have the diversity of Birmingham. We have the beauty of the Cotswolds. In my opinion, having travelled and lived in all four corners of the globe, there is no better country in the world.

The view from our kitchen window

The view from our kitchen window

So why do I keep leaving it? This is a good question – but maybe one of the reasons I love it so much is because I do keep going away. This gives me a different perspective on this place, I can see it from a different angle. And while others might see ambulance queues and GP waiting lists, I see free and universal healthcare open to all. Where others complain that our politicians are corrupt, I see freedom of speech, freedom to wear (almost) whatever we want, freedom to complain openly and voraciously about those politicians. And where others moan about immigration and foreigners taking our jobs, I see an open and generous country.

But of course I won’t just be homesick for the country as a whole, I will be homesick for the little things, the meaningful things, the things that really mean OUR home. The autumn blackberry picking. Chats with other mums on the school run. The girls running outside to play with their friends in front of our house. Being able to walk into town and buying sausages from the local butcher. Reading the Times on Saturday afternoon with a coffee. Looking out of my window at the oh-so-familiar view of the road, trees, houses and play park in front of our home.

All of these things are what I miss. All of these things are what home means to me. And all of these things will be what I most look forward to when it’s time to return.


Read more about other trailing spouses’ experiences with homesickness:

• Elizabeth of Secrets of a Trailing Spouse shares how homesickness wasn’t what she expected
Tala Ocampo writes about the Life that Was in the Philippines and how she would still say yes to the trailing spouse life
• Yuliya of Tiny Expats relives the sensory experience of being back home
• Jenny of My Mommyology explains why we become homesick in the first place
• Didi of D for Delicious talks about her love-hate relationship with her home country

Breastfeeding and the Expat

This month, my blog post for Expat Focus reflected on how I found my experiences of living in Jamaica when I was pregnant with my first daughter affected the decisions I made around breastfeeding.

It can be a controversial subject in this country – having been an antenatal teacher for the past few years I am well aware of some of the sensititivites of this topic. But an early task when I started my training with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) was to carry out a reflection on our “feeding experiences” and I realised then how influenced we are by the environment we find ourselves in when pregnant and/or we have a newborn.

As expats, we may be pregnant in a country with a birth culture totally different to our own. In some countries, highly medicalised birth is the norm, and cesearean rates are high. In other places, home births are encouraged and postnatal care is prioritised. During our first pregnancies in particular, when we are often more vulnerable than in subsequent pregnancies, we may go along with something that perhaps doesn’t feel right with us simply because that is what everyone else seems to be doing. Or conversely, we may be introduced to new ideas or new ways of doing something because that is what the local maternity services offer.

You can read my full post here but in the meantime I would love to hear how others have been affected by the country they found themselves pregant in when it came to giving birth or to feeding. Do you think it made you do anything differently? Did you regret any decisions you made? Or was it a positive difference? Let me know, I’m always interested in a good birth story 😉