Helen: Towers Take a Trip
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Bangalore, etc.
We are a family of American/Brits who left Silicon Valley, California for Bangalore in November 2011. We are a working Dad, an at home Mom and kids aged 12 and 7.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I wanted an easy way to keep friends and family up to date with our experiences. I then discovered I love writing and taking photos, so it’s become a bit more than I initially envisaged.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Bangalore differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
We had already been on holiday in India a few years previously so had some idea of what we were in for. The kids settled pretty easily into school and the neighborhood (we live in a gated community). It would have been a lot harder for us all if they had struggled. Yes, definitely some culture shock – the realization that you cannot completely integrate, you will always appear an ‘expat’ We are both spectators and spectacles!!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Bangalore? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think we were pretty well prepared. If I had to move again I would try to not move mid school year.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
There are so many!!! Shankar (our driver) and I are in the car when I see coming towards us what looks like a new white vehicle, covered in flower garlands just like all new cars are when they leave the car shop, freshly pooja'd. In front of the new sparkling white vehicle are a few people banging drums, singing and looking pleased with themselves. I assume this is all part of a new car pooja. So, feeling I have actually successfully identified an Indian celebration I share my observation with Shankar. 'No ma'am' he said trying to hide a chuckle 'it is a dead person'. Got that one wrong - not the celebration and pooja over a new car, but a funeral procession! So, I explain to Shankar that in the west funerals are quiet, sad and slow. 'Here, noisy and happy' he retorts. 'Next life is better.' I didn't reply to that!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Bangalore?
Expect the unexpected. Ask the expats already in situ for help. Embrace the differences from your homeland. Get out and explore –make the most of this incredible experience.
How is the expat community in Bangalore? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
So many ex-pats, easy to find through the gated communities and expat groups like the OWC (Overseas Womens Club). You’re bound to find some with similar interests.