Introducing Yuliya

It’s my first guest post for Mojomums and I’m very excited about it as its philosophy is very much in tune with what I feel. I am a stay at home mum, but I feel like this label doesn’t fully describe me, so let me tell you a bit more about myself and what I’m writing about.

I came to the UK when I was 17, just after graduating from school to continue my education. My family is rather strict and conservative, so I was never allowed to go alone on a holiday or a weekend away, but here I was, moving to another country to live by myself all of a sudden. My father used to say ‘If you want to teach a child to swim, throw him in the water; if you want to teach a child to live, send him away’. I guess I should count myself lucky that he didn’t use the same approach when actually teaching me how to swim!

Was I scared? A little. But more than anything I was excited! Ever since I was little, my favourite TV shows were the ones about travel and exploration. Moving to another country, speaking a different language, experiencing a new culture – yes, please! I cannot say that my first years in London were easy. They were confusing, complicated and overwhelming, but they also taught me that, no matter how hard the circumstances, I can deal with a lot and still come out stronger than before. I found friends, I graduated with a degree, I found a job (God, was that difficult for a graduate!) and I found love, with whom we went on an exciting journey that lasts until now, 10 years and counting. My husband was sent by his parents from Moscow to a UK boarding school when he was just 12. When I came to London I could already speak English, but he actually studied German before. To say that he had it harder is putting it mildly, but he also managed to overcome language problems, initial bullying, academical problems and now he has the warmest feelings about his boarding school and a tiny village near it. He’s got a very optimistic attitude, which is one of the things I love about him. But enough of romance – St.Valentines is too far away to justify that for now.

At one point my husband told me that it would be necessary for his career to go to Germany and, although I felt sad about leaving my friends behind and going away from the city where I lived for 7 years already, I supported the idea – another country, another adventure, why not? And so it began – Hamburg, Shanghai, Moscow, Pardubice. We became serial expats and it feels like our wanderlust only grows with time. We had our children along the way – our 5 year old daughter was born in Hamburg and the 2 year old – in Moscow, both of them were around 1.5 year old when they relocated for the first time. On the contrary to what I thought before, having children does not have to stop you from doing what you love, even if it is traveling – in fact, I strongly believe that it teaches them a lot and helps them to become more open minded about the world around.

So how can I define who I am? I am following my husband as a trailing spouse, but I’m satisfying my childhood dreams of travelling at the same time. I am a stay at home mum to young kids, but I’m writing a blog about my two Tiny Expats and putting together a book about adventures of our nomadic family. I sometimes feel like I have difficulties with identifying where my home is, but I’ve got friends all around the world, who would make me feel at home, when I visit. I am a Ukrainian wife of a Russian husband, but we keep love between us withstanding the conflict around. I guess, I’m just a woman who refuses to think in ‘black and white’ and use labels, because all of us are so much more than can be expressed in one sentence.

If you are interested in my stories and would like to follow TinyExpats on our journey, stay tuned – I will be back on MojoMums to tell you another tale 😉

by Yuliya Khilko, blogger at

You can also follow Yuliya on Twitter at @tinyexpats and on Instagram at @tinyexpats

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