It’s that time of the year again… ‘Moving Season’

Hi guys,

As the school year draws to a close, and the summer holidays are getting nearer, I for one am super excited! But for any expatriates, it ushers in this dreaded time of year, the moving season. For anyone who lives abroad, or goes to an international school, the end of the school year means saying goodbye to some people but also meeting a lot of new people in September.

I for one really dislike this ‘season’, it will always be really hard to see friends leave, and any expatriate will know the struggle. Especially in a place like Dubai where a lot of people only stay for around 2 years before they move onto their next home. And for someone who’s used to being the one leaving, it’s hard to be the one staying behind and saying goodbye.

Last year one of my really good friends moved to Paris, I still miss seeing her every day, but I’ve been lucky enough to visit her. I thought it might be interesting to get her input on this topic and ask her a few questions about what it felt like when she moved. Here they are!

What did you find the hardest thing about moving?

Honestly, the hardest thing about moving was adapting to a new city. Since I moved to Paris, at first, it was really difficult for me to speak French when ordering coffee, or shopping around. My mom or friends would have to order food for me! Eventually, I had to start speaking French and doing things myself. I just needed the confidence! Another thing was socializing with new people. I found it really awkward to start conversations with new people (despite being very talkative) because I was scared that they would judge me. But don’t hesitate to start a conversation with someone! They might end up being one of your really close friends.

How did you feel in your first few days in your new home?

I don’t think I’ve ever been more stressed actually! When our boxes arrived, we had 168 of them! Everything was all over the place! I felt the most stressed with my own stuff because I had to find my school supplies, arrange my room (which was a complete disaster), and figure out where to place everything. A few days later, all the boxes were gone and we could finally enjoy our new home! I really love our apartment now and feel completely relaxed when I come into my room.

Looking back now, are you happy where you are now and that you moved?

I am really happy that I moved. However, it did take me a few months to actually realize that I wasn’t going to move back to Dubai. I was really sad and down at the beginning of our move (despite being in Paris!), but I knew that I was going to visit Dubai and keep in touch with my friends 24/7. I’ve learned so many things about this city, and have had so many new and fun experiences! Paris is a really amazing place to live in, and I am beyond lucky to call it my home.

What’s one thing you will always miss about Dubai?

This sounds super cheesy but my friends! I’ve known some of my friends there since I was in 4th grade, so it was really hard to leave them. I had the best memories ever there and I am so so lucky and grateful that I get to keep all of those souvenirs with them.

Is there one piece of advice you would give to someone moving?

Get out and about! When I first moved, everyone kept inviting me to go places with them, but I was so nervous because I didn’t know the city. Looking back, now I regret not going out with those friends because I’m sure we would have been much closer now. Some tips: download some apps for your city! Apps such as CityMapper: tells you when the next train, bus, or metro arrives. Dojo: a great app to show you all the new restaurants, and activities to go to in multiple cities! Bandsintown: tells you all the artists playing in your choice of city! These apps are essential especially when you don’t know what to do or where to go!

A huge thank you to my friend for answering all of these questions! And I hope her advice is useful to anyone moving abroad this summer! As the friend who was not the one moving, I also wanted to give you guys a bit of advice, as I know it can be really hard.

One thing that’s really important to remember is that you’re not just going to completely fall out of touch with your friend. Sure, you won’t see them in person as much as you used to, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk with them any less. You can still call, facetime, message, snapchat each other weird photos, or send each other funny memes on Instagram. Just because a friend is moving away it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. It just means the friendship will take a new form. I still talk to my friend all the time, and we were even lucky enough to visit each other. (some of you might remember my Paris blog post, that’s when I visited her)

Overall, I think it’s just super important to remember that life is what you make of it, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control the way that you deal with it and what you make of the situation. People moving away is one of those situations which is sad, but also exciting as it’s the start of a new adventure for the person moving. And as the friend staying behind, you also have to support your friend with this new chapter in their life. Don’t view moving as something bad, shift your focus, and see it as the start of something exciting and different.

I hope this advice helped some of you! And let me know if you liked this format of this post with the interview. Another massive thank you to my friend and all her advice in this post, I really hope you guys enjoyed it!

Little Miss Expat

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The Most Important Life Lesson I’ve Learned

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to sit down and write a really important post for you guys this week. I feel like I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to really share my thoughts with you in a while, but I finally have a little bit of time to talk about this. Today I want to share a lesson I’ve learned through experience and a lesson that I think everyone needs to know. And that is the lesson of staying true to yourself and your values.

This week I’ve experienced the power of this lesson once again, and I feel like it’s something that affects your life no matter how old you are.

In this world which is constantly changing, where your popularity seems to be based on your follower count, where people no longer have the connection to talk to each other anymore, and where everyone seems to be ‘following the crowd’, and doing what’s ‘trendy’ instead of what they believe in. It’s hard to stay true to yourself. It’s hard to say ‘no’. It’s hard to catch hold of what you really believe in without being influenced in a negative way. But I’m here today to tell you, you aren’t alone, I for one will always do my best to stay true to myself and my values.

It’s a daily struggle of mine, and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one doing it. But as I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, the best decision I’ve ever made was to stay true to myself and let my own values guide me. What do I mean by this? I’m a High School student, and every day I see people being influenced and changing what they believe in to fit in with others or to fit in with the ‘right’ crowd. And it sucks. Because that is not what I believe in. And it’s hard, don’t get me wrong. It is hard to stand up for what you believe in, and sometimes it means saying goodbye to people, but being true to yourself is honouring yourself and your thoughts. In 20 years time, we will regret changing ourselves just to fit in with the popular crowd in High School, your own values will be so trampled upon that they will no longer be able to guide you.

Your values, your beliefs, and who you are, are the most important gifts you have, and you should treasure them. They are what makes us unique, allow us to move forward, and enjoy what we do. And that’s why it makes me sad when I see people tossing away their values every day. Because I believe in all of us. Every single one of you that reads my blog. I believe that you are all special in your own unique way, and I think that you should just keep being you, no matter what everyone else is doing. I believe that every single one of you should do what makes you happy, not what ‘looks’ best to the crowd. Let your own values guide you, and don’t do something you wouldn’t do if others weren’t there watching you. Because in the end, that’s the true way to finding happiness.

For me, over the years I’ve had the opportunity to change myself so many times, to do things I don’t believe in. And looking back I am so happy I never did them. Instead, I did what really makes me happy: I watched more sunsets, I ate good food, I went for long runs, I helped others, I spent time with my family, I made great friends, and I couldn’t be a happier person now. Sure I have those days as well where I feel left out or like I don’t fit in, but don’t we all get them? I’m just content with being who I really am, and it’s refreshing not to have to pretend to be someone I’m not.

So to all you High School students out there, this is my message to you. Do not change yourself for anyone. Do what makes you happy. And let your values guide you down the path you were meant to take. I believe in all of you, your own unique personalities, you’re all special.

What are your thoughts on this?

Lots of Love

Little Miss Expat

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Being The New Kid – How to deal with moving

Hi Guys,

When I first started this blog my mission was to support as many expats as possible with their moves, and give them some guidance and support to get them through this huge event in their lives. Only a couple of days ago when I was talking to a friend of mine who recently moved from Dubai to Paris, did I realise that I hadn’t addressed a very important subject that related to moving and being an expat. And that is how to make new friends, and deal with just being the ‘new girl/boy’.

Even for people who haven’t moved home from one country to another, we’ve all experienced being the ‘new kid’ at some point in our lives. And let’s be honest, for most of us, it was not fun. Being an expat, adding on top of being a new kid, you’re having to come to terms with a new home, a new city, and knowing no one in this new place. It’s pretty bewildering. I remember before I moved from London to Dubai I had never experienced being a new kid, and my first school here certainly did not make it easy to settle in. People ignored the new kids, made no effort to get to know them, and I was just completely lost and lonely. Over the course of the year, I made friends and learned my way around, but I would never want to re-live those first days of school.

And I realise that everyone stories may not be as bad as mine, or they may be even worse, but there’s still some advice that I can hopefully share with you. The first piece being, don’t forget who you are. I know this is the cheesy quote you always hear in different variations such as, ‘be true to yourself’ ‘be who you want to be’ but there’s a reason it’s so famous. These are truly words to follow. Moving is tough, I know it is. And sometimes all you want to do is fit in and seem normal. Sometimes that means letting your guard down and doing things you usually wouldn’t, or doing something completely against your morals just to fit in. But DON’T. Trust me on this, you don’t need to change who you are for anyone, or to fit in with anyone. And if you’re changing yourself then you’re probably not with the right crowd.

I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and through experience, staying true to myself and my morals has been the best decision I could have made. In the end, life will lead you in the right path. Make the decisions that you believe in, and everything else will work itself out. Another thing to keep in mind is that settling in takes time. You can’t just move and wake up the next morning expecting to feel like you’re at home. It takes time to get used to your new surroundings, but also for people to get to know you. When I was talking to my friend I remember saying that my second year, coming back after summer break felt amazing not to be new, and to see people I was friendly with in the halls which just made me feel like I belonged there, that’s only something that comes with time and patience.

When moving it’s also important to remember that people don’t define you, don’t worry too much about what people think. It’s practically impossible to make everyone in the world happy, and you’re better off just being yourself. Even though we shouldn’t do it, everyone is still guilty of making judgments without really knowing all the information. When you meet someone new, most people jump to conclusions before they even speak to them. First judgments don’t usually last, and if there’s someone who really has a problem with you, remember, there’s probably something they’re upset about, if they need to find something wrong with you.  (I wrote about it a lot in this post)

Overall, I know moving can be really hard, especially with fitting in at a new school or workplace. Just remember it takes time, but you should just be true to yourself, and not worry about what others think. In the end, your life is for you to live, not for other people to determine. In the wise words of Bob Marley ‘Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing gonna be alright’. I really hoped that this managed to help some of you who have recently moved, and please share your thoughts in the comment section for others to also read! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions 🙂

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat 

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24 hours in Paris with a local – Winter Edition

Heya Guys!

I visited Paris a couple of days ago and it was AMAZING. I’ve been to Paris a few times before, but this time I think I can safely say I’ve fallen in love with the city!! From the sugar coma, I was in because of all the macarons, cakes, hot chocolates and pastries I ate,  to walking down small cobbled streets in St Germain, I loved every moment of it. One of the reasons the trip was so fun was because I got to spend time with a friend of mine that recently moved to Paris. (hence the ‘local’ part of this post) She showed me some of her favorite places to visit in Paris, and we got to chat and catch up over cups of hot chocolate and huge salads.

I wanted to share what I did and where I went with you guys in this post, but bear in mind that we didn’t visit many tourist spots, so if you’re going to Paris for the first time it might be wise to save another day to visit spots like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, and then you can try this ‘off the beaten track’ guide and visit the places I went to.

  1. Explore Paris on foot first – One of the first things I like to do when I visit a city is to take a walk and get a ‘feel’ for the place. You get to scout out some places you might want to visit later, and might come across some very cool sights. We walked down the Champs-Élysées and got to see a beautiful view of the Arc de Triomphe.DSC_0878
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    Isn’t this view of the Arc de Triomphe amazing?

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    We stumbled across this view of the Eiffel Tower covered in the morning mist.

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  2. Lunch at La Carette – I wanted to let my friend decide most of where we went because after all, she is the ‘local’ and she certainly picked out the perfect places. Out of all the times, I’ve visited Paris, I can’t believe I’d never eaten at Parisian Cafe until we went to La Carette. La Carette is exactly what a Parisian Cafe should be like, bursting with people and filled with pastries and macarons. It also has a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower as soon as you step outside! I had a salmon salad (my attempt to be healthy) and we had a mille-feuille and a traditional French Christmas cake called Buche de Noel after, which were AMAZING (I’m drooling right now, just thinking about those desserts)
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    The salmon salad I ate

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    A box of macarons I brought back to London with me.

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    By far the best macarons I’ve ever eaten…

  3. Take touristy pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower – I mean… of course, you have to do this. My friend and I enjoyed a good few minutes trying to perfect the picture where it looks like you’re holding the Eiffel Tower (cringe, I know) But how can you go to Paris and not take embarrassing photos?img_5198.jpg
  4. Visit the St. Germain area – One of the things I really wanted to do on this trip, was to visit some smaller ’boutique style’ French shops because I think you can find nicer items in little local stores. I also had to buy a few Christmas gifts, so I wanted to see if there were more unique gifts I could buy in the boutiques. And, I was not disappointed! We visited the St. Germain area which was full of little-cobbled streets with small boutiques and shops. We saw some of the cutest shops in this area, as well as most of the big branded stores. For anyone who wants to do a bit of shopping in Paris, I would recommend St. Germain.IMG_5246IMG_5242 2IMG_5251IMG_5254
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    I absolutely loved this boutique, you can take a look at it here.

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    We came across this cute little florist

  5. Hot Chocolate at Cafe de Flore – You can’t come back from Paris without having a hot chocolate! There’s something about the French hot chocolate that’s so special, it’s super creamy and chocolatey and the atmosphere of a Parisian cafe adds to the whole effect. My friend said that Cafe de Flore was her favourite hot chocolate in Paris, so of course she took me to try it! It was soooo good. Wow. Parisian cafes are so simple in their layout and decorations, but it’s the food and people that make them so special. I think laughing and sharing stories over cups of hot chocolate had to be one of the best parts of the trip.IMG_5262IMG_5273 (1)IMG_5267

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    It tasted sooooooo good

Those are the highlights of my trip, and things that I that think you need to try if you’re visiting Paris soon. Honestly, I had such a great time in Paris and I got to experience the more unique side of the city which I loved! What’s your favourite city?

Little Miss Expat

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Ohhh Heyyy… : Breaking the ice with old friends

Hi Guys!

So as you know I’m back in London for the summer, and for me, that means one thing. Socializing with old friends. Now don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends all the time, but I know better than anyone that after three years of not seeing each other, meeting up can be a little awkward.

I met up with two of my old school friends yesterday, and I loved spending time with them, but it’s not always that easy. It can sometimes be awkward to spend time with someone you haven’t seen for a while. So this post will give you some ideas on how to break the ice with your old friends.

Firstly stick to what you know: Catch up with your friend, tell them what’s happening with you and listen to whats going on in their life too. This is a good opportunity to get to know them again and to have a normal friendly conversation.

Ask about their family and friends: Talking about your old school and what’s new in the community is always a good idea because it keeps you updated on your old life. It’s also nice to check in with your friend and ask them how their family is doing, let them know you remember the small things.

Reminisce about old times: If all else fails this is the way to go. It’s always fun to laugh at old memories or to cringe over old pictures of you guys. It will bring you closer together as well as make your meeting less awkward.

All in all, these are just some ideas on what you can do with old friends to catch up. Because being an expat means that you have to maintain friendships with people even when there’s an ocean between you. I hope these tips help you when you see your old friends. What are some of your tips for breaking the ice?

Little Miss Expat