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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 01 Apr 2008
MEL MULLINS ON LIFE IN MAURITIUS

Married to Paul Mullins the Head of Personal Financial Services at HSBC, Mel now lives in Mauritius with her three beautiful children.

Mel Mullins grew up in Somerset in England having clearly enjoyed the freedom that came with growing up in the seventies. She evokes her childhood as happy care-free days, cycling with her sisters and cousins and generally enjoying some wonderful holidays simply camping on the coast or going to Scotland.    

Fresh from school, Mel started to work at the local branch of Midland Bank, which subsequently came to be the HSBC. As fate would have it, this is where she met Paul, her husband, now Head of Personal Financial Services at HSBC, Mauritius. They tied the knot in April 1996 over a traditional English wedding at their local village church. Mel recalls the birth of their eldest child Thomas in December 1997 as ‘both an exciting time for us as a couple and also an incredibly challenging one. We had just moved away from all our family and friends, two months previously. So we missed our support network dearly but what a great way to meet new friends.’ Their second son, Archie, was born in 2002 and with the arrival of their daughter Martha in 2006, Mel feels that her family is now complete.

Reminiscent of her own childhood, what Mel enjoys the most is going on holidays with her family. She firmly believes that ‘children feel more secure when they are happy and surrounded by the people who love them…and a family holiday together is a sure way to achieve that. Living in Mauritius means that we can travel to destinations that we might not have considered visiting with young children. Last year we visited South Africa and it was a wonderful experience. I know my children will have lasting memories of that holiday.’

Having settled well on the island, Mel is eager to share with us her experiences and observations.
In her opinion ‘the Mauritian woman seems to be ambitious, confident and striving for independence….to be heard whether it be within a marriage or at the workplace. But above all what strikes me as a newcomer to the island is that Mauritian women are warm, friendly and genuine.  We moved to Mauritius with Paul’s job, and thought it was a great opportunity for us as a family. The perks are obviously the fantastic beaches, the opportunity to discover different cultures and make a whole new set of friends. There is a real mix of many cultures here, which makes Mauritius so attractive.’

Although her sons miss ‘English’ movie theatres and bowling alleys she believes that the beaches and outdoor life more than make up for that. They have adapted surprisingly well to their new school and life in Mauritius.  ‘When I ask them if they want to go home they say no, so maybe that is a good indication of how well they have settled. Hopefully moving here has slowed down the growing up process. There was peer pressure on them to grow up too fast back in the UK.
It is probably too early to say, but growing up here might allow them in time to become more relaxed, tolerant, and open their eyes to a bigger picture.’
 
Since arriving here Mel has also noted that as a couple their social life has improved immensely. ‘We have been able to go out so much more than we would have done in England, for the simple reason that we have someone to baby-sit that we can really trust – it makes all the difference.’
    
Indeed, for Mel and her family, life in Mauritius is a great opportunity to share quality time together and most importantly to have fun. ‘When I eventually return to the UK I will no doubt take many fond memories with me of the paradise island!’




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