I’m Andel. I’m an illustrator and artist. I recently moved to Nicosia, Cyprus with my husband Pieter. We love to travel and experience new places. I am currently expecting our first child, a boy, and we couldn’t be more excited! I spend most of my days drawing, listening to mystery podcasts and reggae and exploring my new neighbourhood.
Tell us about your family
At the moment its just the two of us, and I’m so incredibly grateful for this time. Pieter is my entire support structure in one person. Because we live so far from home and don’t know many people in Cyprus yet, we rely so much on each other for support. Pieter knows me better than I know myself and he makes me feel happy all day, every day. And I do the same for him. We are lucky to have each other, because when you are spending this much time alone with only one person, you should really like that person. I truly believe that we could live in a tree in the Amazon, or on a boat in the Arctic and I would not even realize it – because I have everything I need to live a happy life, in him!We’ll see how that changes when baby comes in February!
What excites and makes you most nervous about having your baby in a foreign country?
Having a baby so far removed from your comfort zone, is the scariest. It makes me nervous to think about figuring it all out on our own – from breastfeeding to sleep schedules, to multitasking the household chores as we will have no nanny and no one to help with housework. But as soon as I realize that the world has actually become much smaller than you think, and my mom, friends and family are on my Skype speed dial, I tend to relax a lot. Luckily Cyprus is just a flight away and we are also expecting many visitors in the coming year. The local people are great! They are so helpful and inviting. Similar to South Africans, they are big on family and our neighbors (who are all family) have taken us in, inviting us for dinner and coffee, sharing tips and tricks and introducing us to people. I have started to get involved with some local prenatal classes, including prenatal Yoga, a breastfeeding support group and I’m beginning to meet some like minded girls which really helps my confidence. At first I was quite nervous about the doctors and hospitals because everything is in Greek and most people speak only Greek. I was scared that I might be completely overwhelmed by it all and that the experience will be bad. But we did our research well and found a great private hospital, with a fantastic new Doctor. It also helps that Pieter is very hands-on and asks all the right questions!
What kind of mother would you like to be?
I’ve thought about this a lot recently. My favourite mom ever is Molly Weasley, Ron’s mom from the Harry Potter series. “What would Molly do?” will be my mothering motto. She is the perfect mixture of kind, caring, concerned, strict and crazy. She has the biggest heart. I want to be a kind, fair mom, who listens to my kids. To me the most important thing is to instill confidence in my kids. I realize all kids are different, but all kids have great potential. The trick is to make them feel capable of reaching goals and realizing dreams. I would like to create a safe space for my kids to explore their potential and to feel supported. Id love for my kids to have enough courage to be themselves and find joy in their uniqueness: because all kids deserve to feel special.
What excites you most about having a boy?
Boys are awesome, I had an older brother, and he was always my hero. I grew up climbing trees and catching frogs. Boys can be quite inquisitive and wild and make for great playmates. I’m excited to see Pieter with our son – I’m sure he is going to be a great dad and if he turns out anything like his dad, the world will be a better place!
What do you miss most about South Africa?
It’s so easy to look at South Africa from a distance and get negative, with all the political and crime issues especially at the moment. But i refuse to see it that way, or speak one negative word about SA. I have the warmest feeling whenever I think of home and I can not wait to get back and raise my children there. Cyprus is great and Europe is fantastic, its a great place to explore and have a great adventure, but South Africa is truly remarkable. I miss it all!
Here are the 5 things I miss the most:
- Petrol attendants. Sure, we have them here. But I promise you they aren’t near as happy to help and ready with a big smile as the guys back home, I can’t wait to hug the next Engen dude I see.
- Convenient grocery shopping. Here grocery shopping takes a few hours, because of all the specialty shops. You have to go one shop for prunes, another for cheese, then your milk and other basics from another shop etc etc etc. Im struggling to find a supermarket where everything is good, or even reasonable quality. and forget about buying milk after 6pm, there are no Engen Garages (big fan of Engen here.)
- Gardens. South Africans are extremely lucky to have gardens and a little bit of space. In Europe people live in apartments and rely on parks to keep themselves and their kids active and entertained.
- Friends and Family
- Nature and variety
South Africans should realize that they have something very special and are extremely lucky to live in such a diverse, beautiful and nurturing country!
∇ Andel has featured on Heymamamag before – see her stories here.