The way things were
I was born and grew up in very rural upstate New York and then moved to Dublin right before secondary school. It’s funny because people hear “New York” and think big city but New York State is actually massive and I grew up in the middle of the country – farms, corn fields, woods. We had 20 apple trees and a pond and there was a ski hill five minutes away. My sister and I used to make up crazy games that usually involved getting into unlikely spots – roof of the shed, up a tree, in the stream. It was perfect, idyllic. I definitely overly-idealise it now but it was a pretty unparalleled place to be a kid.

Describe where you live now
The total opposite to that! I live in downtown Yangon – Rangoon – in Burma (or Myanmar) and it’s definitely neither idyllic nor easy. Just buying a loaf of bread involves ridiculous logistics negotiating traffic across town to the one place with decent bread. The city is so poorly run – electricity and water are often patchy, especially in the hot season when temperatures push up to 45 degrees. And, believe it or not, in the heat and the chaos, the city council have decided to rip up sidewalks all around my neighbourhood – and why? To make them smaller! With a six-week old, there’s no chance of using any kind of pram, I’m all about my carrier.

How and why?
I took a job working with an NGO in Thailand five years ago and that was the first time I lived anywhere outside the US or Europe. Then I moved to Myanmar with a new job two years ago and met my husband. He’s a videojournalist with Associated Press (AP) and we just had our first baby – a boy – six weeks ago. He was born in Ireland where my parents live and, because my husband had to get back to Burma for work, we returned when our son was just about four weeks old.

The way we live now
I have a good friend with a 14-month old who lives near me so sometimes we walk with the babies to the coffee shop – or leave them with respective daddies for an hour to get a massage! I think there are some more expat mum groups but I’m only just starting to explore, and I’m still too sleep-deprived to venture far from the apartment. At the moment, my mum is visiting to help take care of the baby so we took ourselves off to the beach with him – so much fun!

Highs and lows
The best things about where we are is the fresh fruit! And all the different languages and cultures on our doorstep. Breastfeeding in public is no problem at all here either. I’ve been getting them out and nobody bats an eyelid. You’ll often see Burmese women working at shops just whip it out and feed the kid without skipping a beat or stopping work! The worst thing is the insane heat, noise and pollution. And slooooooow internet… Whether or not we stay is up for debate at the moment…… Watch this space.

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