By Pao Martens
HiExpat: Thank you very much for your time Pao. We have seen your work on social media and we know you are an exemplary mother, which inspires us to be able to share a bit of your life with our readers. HiExpat magazine is a magazine focused on inspiring and informing those North Americans who want to come to invest or retire in Ecuador. As a country, we have a lot to offer such as the climate, the quality of life, and especially the wonderful people. Can you share with us a little bit about how your work life changed after becoming a mother?
Pao: Before my work on social media, I felt as though everything in my life was more private. Once I started posting more about my makeup work and beauty tips, people became a little more interested in my personal life and I started showing that side a little more. People started to see my “mom side”, and realized that I was more than just make-up and beauty. They began to see me as a human and I began to show Naya on social media as well.
HiExpat: Your life is very active, but we see that you include your daughter a lot in your social media activities. You seem to have a beautiful mother-daughter relationship. What is the secret to this kind of relationship?
Pao: Thank you, but I don’t think there is a “secret.” In my experience, and what has worked for me, is learning how to give her space and respect her desires. If she doesn’t want something on social media, doesn't feel like going out, or is not in the mood for pictures and videos I never force her. I always want to do what makes her feel the most comfortable and this comfortability has changed throughout her life. When she was younger she liked to appear in my stories and videos a lot, she even asked me herself to be in them. But now that she has grown a little, she is at a stage where she wants more independence.
HiExpat: We know that your daughter has dual nationality and has been exposed to both Ecuadorian and North American culture. We have many readers who come to Ecuador with their children to give them the experience of another culture and to learn the language. What was Naya’s experience like in regards to this?
Pao: Well… Naya grew up in an environment that was 80% English and 20% Spanish speaking. We always spoke English at home and in kindergarten she learned Spanish, so it was quite easy for her to learn a second language.
HiExpat: The quality of food in Ecuador is recognized worldwide and healthy living is important to many here. From your perspective, are you able to provide your daughter healthy food at a reasonable price here in Ecuador?
Pao: Yes, Naya’s father is from Canada and we have visited there a few times. I believe that the quality of food here is much better than what is easily accessible in Canada. In my opinion food in Ecuador is less processed and we have access to fruit all year round, so children naturally grow up eating a more nutritious diet.
HiExpat: Finally, how do you feel about the quality of life in the city of Manta and in Manabí? Do you agree that it is possible to raise children in a healthy and loving environment here?
Pao: Manta is a wonderful city and Manabí is a very nice province to live in. My favorite part is the easily accessible beaches. You can spend the whole day on the beach, spending very little money, and the best thing is that the beach is super quiet for children. It is safe for them to swim too. Children here will experience healthy food, friendly people to help them grow, loving environments, and lots of places to play and explore!