Our today’s interview with Tavus from Turkmenistan, living in Moldova.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Turkmenistan; a former Soviet Union part of the world. I grew up in a small town surrounded by dessert.
In which country and city are you living now?
In Chisinau, Moldova. This is also a former Soviet Union country.
How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I have been living here for 19 months now, and with my family, we are planning to stay here for another year, at least. There is a possibility for 2 more years after.
Why did you move and what do you do?
We were living in Brussels, Belgium before here. My husband works in an international NGO, which is why we moved to Chisinau as well. As for myself, I am a teacher and a blogger. I do small educational projects with little kids.
Did you bring family with you?
Yes, my husband and our two children.
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
We have been an international family from the start. This is our second foreign country to live in and we find it very exciting. But, with two little kids it can be really though at times. Chisinau, has been a joy so far because it is very child friendly – lots of playground in parks, restaurants and cafes. Also, my husband and I speak Russian, which is one of the spoken languages here. Speaking the language that is known locally makes a huge difference in the overall experience, of course.
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
There is a huge friendly expat crowd in Chisinau, which is a great start. There is a big international women’s club here, with which I got in contact right away. And that was a small step into the entire net. With my Russian fluency, I can communicate fairly easily with the local Moldovans living in Chisinau as well. I never feel like I can’t go somewhere because I can’t communicate here. That’s really big! In Brussels, although they spoke some English, you had to know French or Flemish. I knew neither and it was very tough especially with little children.
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There is so much to do in Chisinau! But, the restaurants are the best first thing to getting to know in Chisinau. Moldovan’s are well known for their wine, so pretty much any restaurant will have a good collection of wine. The food is also cozy and good. The second best thing is visiting the famous wineries outside of Chisinau. You get to see where they store wine and also get a little buzz with some tasting. 🙂
What do you enjoy most about living here?
The fact that I can speak a language I know! This gives me an enjoyment without hesitation. But, besides the language, the fact that it is so child friendly – with cafes that have little areas for children to play in – is the real treasure for families with small children, like us.
How does the cost of living compare to home?
Well, I have two homes. One in Turkmenistan and one in the US (my husband’s side), so the prices there already are incomparable. But, for expats in general, the prices here are very reasonable for food and service. However, the real estate in Chisinau rivals those in Brussels, Belgium! I can say the same for electricity and gas.
What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
So far, I have encountered some disappointment in the mailing system. I hope that’s the only one!
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Learn Romanian, which is the main language here.
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Finding a good circle of friends and finding good doctors.
When you finally return home, how do you think you’ll cope with repatriation?
I have no clue yet. Any advice? (Editor: please comment below if you have some advice for ~T~!)
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
1. Learn the local language.
2. Plan ahead (how you will settle and start finding friends and start learning the language).
3. Look into ways to find other expats right away, and always talk to them about your experience.
4. Find other necessary resources, such as: schools, a nanny for children, grocery stores, quality health care system, etc.
5. Blog about it! This is one of the best ways to really explore the new area and appreciate it. plus any new comer finding your blog would be very thankful!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I have been doing blogs on and off before coming to Chisinau, so as soon as I moved here I just wanted to start a new blog for the new adventures. I like to share what I discover, likes and dislike. This gives me a motivation to see more of the country and sharing it is a great satisfaction, because i think other expats – old or new- appreciate it. My blog is mostly positive. I feel like I can always find positive things here so that really shows through the blog. And if it makes anyone else feel positive about expat living and about living in Moldova, then I’m even more happy! I also like taking pictures of everything so I have a lot of pictures of the places I visit. I think this is really helpful for expats, because, most of the time, a new country is so mysterious. So, pictures bring things to light a bit.