In this archive we meet Emma Parker, one of our editorial team at Look Out Libya. She and her husband, with their two-year-old son, relocated from London to Tripoli in September 2008. 

What made you decide to move to Libya?  We had moved from Australia to London four years prior to relocating to Libya.  We had purchased a narrowboat and had been living on it for three and a half years, moored on Regents Canal.  We loved our life in London, however, my husband was offered a job in Tripoli working on an incredible project and the offer was just too good to pass up.  We’ve always had a thirst for adventure but I can safely say that Libya was not one of the places I had ever dreamt I’d travel to let alone live! Now here, I am happy to say I am better off for the experience!

Did you have any reservations?   Yes, it was a difficult decision to make. We researched as much as we could, although there was little information that could give us a realistic idea of what life here would be like.  In many ways it was a blind decision.  We talked it over with friends and family and in the end, decided to take the leap.

Has it been easy?   Actually, yes it has!  We've already moved away from home once before, so that made this move a lot easier.  Significant travels in Europe, Asia and Africa have also helped us prepare for living here.

What were your first impressions of Libya?  Driving in from the airport, I couldn't get over the amount of western clothing in the shop windows and wondered who was wearing it!  When talking with other expat women later, it was a great relief to me to learn that I was able to dress in Western clothing, conservatively.

What are the positives and negatives of bringing up a family in Tripoli?  The positives far outweigh the negatives.  The only negative I see is that there are very few public playgrounds, although I suspect that will change as Tripoli is transformed over the next few years.  Living in London I relied on public parks for my son, for social interaction and fresh air.  Here however, most of the expats have large gardens and there are several indoor play centres for children, which are far more suitable than a park in the heat of summer.  As for the positives, there are many.  Libyans love children. Life both in the home and out seems to be focused on families, so you are never put in a situation where you feel uncomfortable having a noisy toddler around!

What is the one thing you wish you'd packed before you relocated? Healthy snacks for our son.  In London we were able to buy organic, low sugar and low salt snacks but here we seem only to be able to find sweet or salty treats which we'd prefer him to do without.  These days I always return from holidays with a suitcase full of raisins!

> more expat interviews


June 2009

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