In Cuba, family is family.

We got a call tonight from my husband’s middle daughter. Her mother, who lives on the other side of Havana from us, has been taken to hospital with stomach cramps and fainting. The next call was from his daughter’s stepdad, the man who moved in after my husband moved out…


Top tips and a cautionary tale

Just over a week ago, my husband, 3-year-old and I arrived in Vitoria, northern Spain, planning on a new life. …

Personal Development

Five tips from a guru on not giving up on your dreams

It was a Friday afternoon. The next day, the training course for the job I had wanted so badly was due to start.

I wouldn’t be on it because the company hiring had rejected me after the interview.

I knew I could do this job.

For the last five years, I had been doing the same job…

10 brilliant reasons to raise your child bilingual

Over half the world’s population — estimates vary from 60 to 75 percent — speak at least two languages. Many countries have more than one official national language — South Africa has 11. …


Get off your phone and help me raise our child!

Dear Darling Husband (otherwise known as Mi Amooooor),

When we met, I had a romantic notion that we were two kindred spirits who discovered each other from afar, that love knew no borders. I didn’t count on how difficult it would be.

For too long, I have been putting your…

Making change — if not now, then when?

When we left Cuba a month ago, we left with a vague plan of what we would do next. It’s not the way I would have liked to have moved.

I know ex-pats who move country with the security of a new well-paid job, a place to move into, a…

Life Lessons

Letting go of a commitment to a broken dream

It’s 3 weeks since we left Cuba in a hurry as Covid cases were rising and the UK was about to put the island on its Covid red list. Sometimes the hardest decisions you make are best made with no time to reflect. …


Sex and parenting..can they both be good?

I didn’t get married until my late 40s and if I could live my life again, I’d marry in my 20s and have as much relationship sex as I could while I still had the energy and before our kid came along.

Single life sex was fun, unpredictable, on occasions…

I really think this is a question all women face at a certain age.

I had children late and had a lot of fun in my 20s and 30s. What you missed out on also is the constant worry if you would meet someone and eventually have children. …

At least for us, as Cuba is moved to European ‘red’ travel lists.

We are leaving Cuba tomorrow, and despite all the discussions and plans we have been making, my husband and I, I am just not ready. This has been my home for nearly 10 years, and I have loved it.

Two days ago we had to scramble to buy last-minute flights…

Julie van Maanen

Lifelong multi-lingual traveller, writer, learner, teacher. Raising my little girl in Cuba and Europe and cannot wait to show her the world.

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