What happens to our children when we leave Russia? How do they feel about their new environment? In this interview, nine year old Aubrey Smith, the son of pioneering expat Mark Smith, who now lives both in Germany and Russia, tells us a little of his life in Berlin.
Aubrey, you were born in Moscow, and when you were eight last year, you moved to live in Germany. It must be quite a change? How is it different?
I think Berlin is more of a kidâs place than Moscow. There are lots more things for kids to do here than in Moscow.
Whatâs the weather like?
Itâs usually nice, but it does get cold, of course nowhere near like as cold as in Moscow, because in Moscow thereâs usually a lot of snow, but there isnât so much here.
What are the people you meet in Berlin like?
Some are nice, some are more serious.
What are the things that you really like doing now in Berlin?
I like cycling to school very much. I like cycling to new places and exploring them. You can cycle everywhere in Berlin, its great. In Moscow the school was great but we had to drive there every day, it was a long way out.
Do you speak German a little bit now?
I speak German but Iâm not fluent. Iâm learning at school.
Do you like the school you are going to now?
Yes, I like it very much actually itâs a very good one. Iâve got lots of friends there, itâs a nice school. Lessons are mostly in English. Iâm doing lots of interesting stuff, and right now weâve got these programmes where we go to fun places. Like we have April Foolâs Day today, and we have this very fun place in Berlin called Magic Mountain, which is fantastic for kids. You can climb there, and do all sorts of things, its really fantastic.
Do you miss your friends in Moscow, are you in contact with them at all?
I used to be, but I am a out of touch at the moment, but I hope to getting in contact with them again via Skype. I went to the British International School in Moscow, and I liked it a lot.
If you had the opportunity, would you like to go back and live in Moscow?
Yes, Iâd like that.
More than living in Berlin?
Iâd like living in both countries, when Iâm older and I have some time, Iâd maybe like to live in Moscow.
Would you like to live anywhere else in the world that you know about?
I think I would like to live in Florida. Itâs a lovely hot place, and itâs really beautiful, the weather is really good.
When you were living in Moscow, what were the favourite things you liked to do?
Well we lived at Patriarchs Ponds and I liked to go down and play around the pond, and in winter I would ice skate on it. In Berlin there is no snow, but in Moscow the snow was amazing. Half my family is from Russia, I really miss them actually, but we are organising for my grandma to come sometime, and my cousin and my auntie are visiting us soon.
What advice would you give anybody who wants to go and live in Moscow of your age, of what to take with them?
They should take ice skates, and skis so that they can have fun in the winter.