My full name is Christopher Alexander Prescott Varnes. It’s a really long name, so you can just call me Christopher, but I do not like to be called Chris. Sometimes my mom calls me her little sous, because she’s a chef and we cook together a lot. I am seven-and-a-half years old. I just celebrated my half-birthday in Pisa, Italy. It just so happens to be on my parents anniversary, so we always have a fun day together.
I was born in Nagano, Japan, and spent my first six years living in Matsumoto. We owned our own school there very close to the oldest castle in the whole country. Then we closed the school to move to Sicily. Now we get to travel all over the world! We just moved to Albania. We live in the capital, Tirana.
I got my first passport right after I was born. My parents had to take me to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and hold my head up in a photo booth to take my picture. It’s fun to have a passport because I’m able to go all over the place. I can visit my family and friends in lots of different countries!
My first trip to the U.S. was when I was six. We went back after I turned seven. I got to meet my grandparents, my aunts and an uncle, and some of my cousins for the first time. It wasn’t weird, though, because we talk on the computer all the time. My mom takes pictures and shares them on the blog, so they know where we are and some of the stuff we do. Then they ask me lots of different questions when have our video chats.
I don’t feel Japanese or American or anything; I just feel like me. The stuff we did in Japan just felt normal to me, because that’s where I was born. I was excited when my parents and I decided we were moving to Italy. I really like pasta, and I got to eat it every day there! But I was also sad, because I wanted to be able to take all my friends with me and I couldn’t.
I don’t feel Japanese or American or anything; I just feel like me.”
Some of my favorite memories are in winter in Japan. I loved going skiing up in Hakuba every year and riding the snowrunner. I also liked going Ice skating at M-Wave! When we went back to Japan last fall, I had fun going back to one of the local ice skating rinks with some of my friends. I even took off my jacket and skated with just my t-shirt on, because I got hot and sweaty like when we used to live in Mexico.
So far we’ve been to eight different countries. I would say I speak four different languages (English, Japanese, Spanish, and Italian), but I only know a few words in Albanian right now. I’ll eventually learn more because we’ll make new friends and study the language while we live here.
I think it’s actually really good to move around to many countries. It’s interesting to do something totally different, like seeing old buildings, or swimming in the ocean, or learning about different plants and animals that live in each place. I love long flights because I can watch movies and play video games on the seat back entertainment systems. I don’t care for long bus rides, because the wifi isn’t usually as stable. I also like riding on trains because you can see lots of things while going really fast!
I’m really excited to go out and explore Albania now. We’re not too far from the beach, and I heard there’s a really cool old castle in the north, too. My parents also said that it’s easy to go and visit other countries in Europe from here. I want to go see Spain, and Portugal, and Austria. Oh, yeah! I also want to go back to London to visit my friends.
We have some really nice neighbors here in Tirana. Some of them don’t speak English, but they brought us some Albanian food when we moved in and it was really good. Even my mom didn’t know what some of the stuff was, and she knows a lot about food. We’re going to have lots of fun playing around in the kitchen trying to learn how to make these things!
This first person account narrated by 7-year-old Christopher Alexander Prescott Varnes was made possible thanks to the coordinating efforts of theParentVoice,’s Senior Editor, Séverine Perronnet, and Christopher’s mother, Karen M. Ricks.
Karen is a Christian wife, worldschooling mom, and a nomadic chef. She has been a Montessori teacher for 22 years and has cooked professionally, in restaurants, commercial kitchens, and private homes on four different continents over the last decade. After 10 years of teaching in central Japan, Karen and her family sold their international Montessori school to begin a nomadic life of full-time travel. You can find more of the family’s edible exploits and the lessons they are learning as they galavant around the globe over at Our Kitchen Classroom.