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About

I’m Blades, he’s Wilson and we have two glorious boys who are in Primary School here in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK – where we all live!

I’m a 40-something actress, improviser, voice artist, writer, office manager, PA, sometime Sybil Fawlty impressionist and, er, what was it?  Oh yes, mother! We’re working towards our best life together, which means multiple income streams, creative freelancing, a focus on brilliant parenting (how?) and living a simpler life connected to nature and our beautiful world.

Join me as I blog about the ups and downs of family life and my impressions of our new home.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2011 12:03 pm

    Hi there,
    first of all I must congratulate you on a great blog. Despite the hardship, you seem to keep a very nice outlook on your life in Burma.
    I am a Canadian single guy who adopted 2 boys in Vietnam – 1 is 8 and the other is 4. I have worked in development for many years now, in Vietnam, Nepal and Burkina Faso. We are now in Hanoi at the end of my contract, and a job opening has come up in Burma. If I was single and 25, I would not hesitate and accept the job. But as a SINGLE PARENT, my life (as yours is I think) first centres on my 2 boys. I may sound awful here but I need electricity, water, internet, mobile phone, decent schools, decent supermarkets. The harder life is, the more work it is for me as a single working parent. So far I have read many blogs and all point me to – “no, don’t go to Burma”. Not because it does not have charm and wonders, but because it is hard work. Your blog also confirms this to me. In Hanoi we are lucky because life is easy here on all counts – visas, shopping, internet, phone, schools, etc. And still I am so busy trying to keep it all together every single day. If everything was a hassle, then I don’t think I could make it. Comments? You can check out our web site if you have time at http://www.voirlemonde.org, and let me know how you think it is as a family. At this point I really worry most about the functional stuff like getting a nanny, housekeeper, electricity, water, Internet, phone, visas, house, money, etc.
    Thanks.
    Benoit

    Like

    • October 10, 2011 2:04 pm

      Hi Benoit and thanks for your comment. Your website looks great and I look forward to exploring it further!
      I’m surprised you’ve been put off Burma; most people we spoke to before we left England couldn’t wait to get back here and certainly it is considered a great family posting. The number one consideration for me was that it is super safe and number two, as I found out when we arrived, is that the Burmese adore children. Unlike the UK, where I wouldn’t let Alfie out of my sight for a second, here I feel much safer if he runs off, for example. (We just had dinner in a restaurant and the entire staff whisked him off and entertained him throughout, letting him climb all over the pool table. I don’t know where else that would happen.)
      Yes, the slow internet connection can be frustrating and back up electricity is a must but the schools are great. There is a huge French community (second only to the US) with French nurseries and schools plus your usual international schools with International School Yangon (ISY) being the best known (also check out YIS, ISM and Network; all have websites). Although the expat community is small there are plenty of NGO families here and I think you would have no problem finding a nanny and a housekeeper/cook.
      Of course I find some aspects of life here hard work but I think that can apply wherever you are. It is an exciting time to be here as there are so many changes going on; there is a real sense of the country opening up and certainly getting easier with regard to communication and transport, for example.
      Before you write Burma off completely I recommend that you join our googlegroup, Yangon Expat Connection (link on my blog page and below) which has almost 400 members, most of whom will happily answer any questions you might have. (You can easily unsubscribe if you want to and do set your notifications to digest or abridged emails or your inbox might get a bit full!)
      Hats off to you for bringing up two boys, that is hard work in any circumstances and by the look of it you are making a great go of it. I can see that wherever you go it is going to be a tough decision (aren’t all parenting decisions though? We live with constant doubt!) I must say I’m a bit jealous as Hanoi is top of my list for a long weekend visit – it’s only a 2 hour direct flight and I’m told it is quite lovely.
      If you decide to come to Yangon for a recce then do please get in touch as we’d be happy to help and of course if there is anything else you’d like to know, drop me a line at my gmail address.
      Good luck!
      Vicky
      http://groups.google.com/group/yangon-expat-connection

      Like

      • Rica Malik Warendorph permalink
        October 9, 2013 3:09 am

        Hello!

        So nice to read your blog. We are spanking new in Yangon. We’ve moved here from Jakarta, after being ther for 4 years. We’ve arrived here late last Sunday with a super active 10 month old baby.

        For the life of me I can’t seem to join the google group. Would you pretty please let me know how to join the group.

        Thanks a bunch!

        Rica

        Like

  2. October 10, 2011 2:30 pm

    Hello Vicky,
    Wow, thanks for being soooo generous with your time and answering my questions. It is a huge relief to hear you be so positive. I actually go for a face to face interview next week in Chiang Mai, so keeping my fingers crossed. Yes, children in Asia (also in VN) as so well looked after and welcomed it is great. And VN is also super safe which is a must with a family. Great to hear that there is a great French community as we are French Canadians so I can go either English or French no problem. Same with the boys with school. I still have a few questions which you can if you like answer directly to my email if you have time – voirlemonde@hotmail.com:
    1. can you get sim cards now for mobile phones (I read that it was quite hard)?
    2. can you get internet wifi at home and use Skype?
    3. was it hard finding a nice place/house?
    4. what about the supermarkets – can you find most of what you need?
    Yes Hanoi is quite nice and life here is super easy. The country is developing at a fast and furious pace and sometime people complain that old Hanoi is disappearing. The political situation is very easy and stable despite the fact it is communist, internet is fast and cheap, same with phones, electricity/water all the time, great restaurants. If you ever decide to come, please let me know and I would be happy to assist you in any way I can and show you around. Halong Bay is very nice and only 5 hours from Hanoi.
    Thanks for your time.
    Cheers.
    Benoit

    Like

  3. November 17, 2011 12:57 pm

    Hello!

    I’m Ave from Spain. I collect map and flag postcards from all over the
    world. At the moment I’m trying to complete my Asia collection.

    I’m looking for postcards written and stamped sent from Myanmar.

    I was wondering if you could help me with my collection of postcards.
    I would be really happy to add a new territory to my list. As a thank
    you, I can add a link of your webpage to my blog.

    Here is my postcard blog:
    http://tite-roy-gatra-pc.blogspot.com/

    Please let me know if you can help me!

    Saludos,

    Ave

    Like

  4. Mae Dewsbery permalink
    April 26, 2012 8:46 pm

    Hello
    Thanks for writing such an interesting blog.. I just stumbled across it and got completely sucked in! And congratulations on the birth of Oscar Jack, how amazing to have gone through your pregnancy and childbirth while being so far abroad.

    I spent a month in Burma in January this year with my husband and two young boys (3 1/2 yrs and 20 months). We all loved our time there and also have family in Rangoon.
    Since returning to England we have been thinking more and more whether it would be possible for us to spend longer (6-12 months) in Burma while the kids are young.
    We don’t have any work lined up so would have to think about whether we could make it work but I wondered if you could answer a few questions for me…

    One of my main concerns would be how well the boys would cope with the heat at the hottest time – do your little ones manage ok?
    Also do you worry about their health or does it all seem to be ok? We were all fine during our trip but obviously staying there for longer increases any health risks.

    Can you give me a very rough idea of what amount of rent we could expect to pay for a 2 bed apartment?

    Also do you know whether it is possible for foreigners to live on the coast (ie. Ngapali) rather than in Rangoon?

    And finally, do you enjoy living there?!

    We really want an interesting year abroad and we fell in love with Burma. I just want to make sure that we would also love it for a long term base and wouldn’t find it too difficult.

    Any advice would be really appreciated.. thank you.

    Mae

    Like

  5. March 26, 2013 9:17 pm

    Hi. I am sorry to leave this here, but I’d like to unsubscribe from the expat connection, for we never made it to Yangon last year (my wife changed her mind at the last minute!). How do we unsubscribe? A google search got me close, but I just can’t find the right link!

    Thanks,
    Mike

    Like

  6. April 29, 2013 3:31 pm

    Hello, I have lived in Myanamar and travelled all around the country taking pictures and now I’m doing a photoblog I would like to share with you and everybody.

    Enjoy your time in Myanmar. It’s my favourite country!

    Cheers,
    Juan

    http://www.myanmartravelessentials.com
    http://www.facebook.com/myanmartravelessentials

    Like

  7. Gabrielle permalink
    June 13, 2013 3:22 pm

    Hi Blades,

    I stumbled across your blog when doing some research to prepare for my upcoming move to Yangon. I wonder if you might be able to give some guidance on a specific related issue?

    I will be moving in a couple of months from the U.S. to work for an international organization in Yangon. The organization will be sponsoring my visa, however, I am trying to figure out how my partner can also get a visa. He is self-employed and therefore unlikely to get a sponsorship from another company; to further complicate things, we are not legally married (but are committed). Do you have any knowledge of visa provisions for partners of foreigners working in Myanmar?

    Any information you could provide would be extremely helpful! Thanks so very much,

    Gabrielle

    Like

    • August 20, 2013 10:56 am

      Hi Gabrielle

      I hope you don’t mind but I just sent you an invitation to the Yangon Expat Connection (googlegroup). I suggest you join and search for Visa information and failing that, just post and ask that question. I really wouldn’t want to give you the wrong info and visa stuff changes ALL the time around here! I’m sure one of our members will be able to point you in the right direction.

      Good luck!
      Vicky

      Like

  8. Priscilla Mariani permalink
    August 27, 2013 11:24 am

    Hello Blades,
    My name is Priscilla. My husband, my little three months old daughter and I live in Cambodia, but will soon be transferred to Myanmar!!!! My husband works for an international company that distribute skincare and perfumes. Apart from being very excited to start this new adventure, I am trying to have an idea of houses, apartments, to rent etc. I heard about your group on google, but I am not able to ask a request for participation….
    Thanks in advance for your help…
    Priscilla

    Like

    • September 9, 2013 6:10 am

      Hi Priscilla
      I’d be glad to send you an invite to the group but I need your email. You can send me a message on vickyblades@gmail.com and I’ll do what I can.

      Look forward to meeting you when you arrive!

      Vicky

      Like

  9. September 7, 2013 6:23 am

    saihu

    Like

  10. Cheryl permalink
    September 19, 2013 9:50 am

    Hi Vicky,

    I stumbled upon your blog and when I saw your family photo, I told my husband, “hey, I recognize this lady! It’s that family with the really adorable boy we saw at Union Bar!” Haha!

    Thanks for your wonderful blog…and well, hope to see you soon again!

    Cheryl

    Like

  11. Marcia permalink
    October 11, 2013 12:56 am

    Hello… My husband has a possible job to be taken in Yangon and I really would like to get your “feeling” of living there so I can support (or not) him on this new assignment. Could you tell me a little about houses, apartments, safety, things to do in the city, supermarket, shopping in general….Really….Really appreciate anything you can give me.

    Like

  12. rosemary permalink
    October 28, 2013 6:29 am

    I am miss rosemary,a local interpreter. I got to know Yangon expat through an expatriat foreigner.
    I’d like to have web page to advertise my interpretation & translation services availability.
    Please write to me regarding this.
    Thanks
    Rosemary

    Like

  13. geraldine permalink
    February 14, 2014 5:40 pm

    Hi, I go by Geri and I will be traveling to Yangon but have some urgent concerns with the visa could you please email me at montesig@umich.edu ASAP if you think you could advise or help. thanks-Geraldine

    Like

  14. Clara permalink
    May 4, 2014 8:38 pm

    Hi Blades, I have a job interview this week for a position in Myanmar! Very excited and happy to come across your blog. I’m wondering if I’ll hear from you as I see many comments above and I’m afraid mine will be very similar. I would move with my partner and 2 children; 1 and almost 3. It would be wonderful if you could tell us your opinion/experience on a few things. Of course the children are our main concern, I would like to make sure there is good medical care and day care that the older can attend and we would need a nanny for the younger. I would work full time including lots of travel around Chin State, and my husband would work from home. (Do you know anyone in a similar family situation?) What has been your experience with nannies? day cares? creches? Also, we are living in Holland now, and would come back here after, is there any type of Dutch community there?(I am Colombian/American btw, he is Dutch) I have no idea how we would choose an international school, but that’s another issue.

    I’ve already heard there is weak internet service, but as long as it is available I don’t have a problem with that. Also, I saw other people asked about finding decent homes, I would love to hear your answer on that as well.

    Thank you Blades and I hope to hear from you!
    Clara

    Like

    • May 5, 2014 2:24 pm

      Congratulations Clara, I am sure you and your family will be very happy here! That’s a lot of questions to answer and I can only point you in the direction of the YEC – Yangon Expat Connection, where you can find most of the answers from residents. Yes, there are good international schools, varying prices and waiting lists so I would urge you to get on with that asap. Yes, there are plenty of Dutch people here and I know a Colombian, plus lots of Americans of course. See my posts on Finding a Nanny Parts I and II. Things are changing rapidly here and the rents are super crazy – make sure your package covers accommodation (and of course full health insurance). Good clinics exist, 2 which are used by expats though others are emerging. You still have to be medevac’d to Bangkok for major stuff and investigations/diagnosis though. Google the YEC and ask to join for more info. Good luck! Vicky

      Like

  15. May 8, 2014 11:50 am

    Great blog and discussion… Thanks for sharing us Brainworks-Total Yangon International School…….

    Like

  16. September 9, 2014 7:34 am

    Hello,

    My name is Amanda Roberts and I am the author of the blog Two Americans in China. I found your blog and contact information through Expats Blog. I am the author of Crazy Dumplings, a fun food fusion cookbook that was funded throughKickstarter. My dream, though, is to write a cookbook written specifically for expats about how to cook foods and dishes from their home country in their new adopted country using ingredients that can be found locally. However, my only experiences cooking abroad are in China, so I thought it would be a good idea to get information from the worldwide expat audience. I would love to hear about your experiences cooking abroad. Please click the following link to take my survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3DKT52R (Works best if using Google Chrome.) I will include a link to the blog of everyone who responds and helps me out in the book.

    Thank you so much for your assistance, and I look forward to hearing from you!

    Like

  17. Joe Pinzone permalink
    May 8, 2015 4:46 pm

    Dear Blades,

    My name is Joe Pinzone and I’m casting an international travel show about expats moving abroad. We’d love to film in Myanmar and wanted to know if you could help us find expats who have moved there within the last 15 months or have been there for 3-4 years, but recently moved into a new home. The show documents their move to a new country and will place the country in fabulous light. The contributors on the show would also receive monetary compensation if they are filmed. If you’d like more information, please give me a call at 212-231-7716 or skype me at joefromnyc. You can also email me at joepinzone@leopardusa.com. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Joe Pinzone
    Casting Producer
    P: 212-231-7716
    Skype: Joefromnyc

    Like

  18. August 2, 2016 6:54 am

    hi,mum this is Aileen,if your looking for the baby nanny please contact me when your in yangon myanmar,I have experience nanny and have recommenditions,thanks mom.my mobile 09253410945

    Like

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