Isabel: India Outside My Window
Rather than focusing on herself and her personal life, Isabel chose another blogging style: documenting the sights and sounds of her surroundings. The very aptly titled India Outside My Window offers myriads of insights on life in Southern India, often in stunning pictures.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Bangalore, etc.
I’m from Toronto, Canada. I lived in Europe for 11 years before moving to Bangalore, India with my husband in 2007. Moving to India has been an opportunity to get to know a country I love better. It was also a good excuse to leave the hamster wheel of the corporate world behind and spend more time nurturing my creative side which was crying out for attention.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging soon after I arrived in India. I always enjoyed writing and wanted to share some of my photographs of India, so it’s a creative outlet for me. My approach is to describe the sights, colors and sounds – literally what I see and hear ‘outside my window’ – rather than talking about my personal life.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I’ve been blogging for five years now and I try to publish a post every week so I have quite the collection of blog entries by now. Some of my memorable posts include ones which describe my experiences learning Kannada, the local language, my experiences in an Indian beauty parlor, and a photo essay of Channapatna, a village where traditional wooden toys are made.
I’ve also added some sound clips to my blog, and my favorite is the sing-song sounds of coffee, tea and snack vendors at a train station as they walk by the train windows peddling their wares.
Tell us about the ways your new life in India differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I never run out of things to be inspired and stimulated by. That’s what I enjoy most. For me, India has really brought out my creative side and I’m always coming up with new ideas for projects and feel like life can never get boring.
Before moving here I had travelled to India many times so I knew what to expect and didn’t experience culture shock. Of course it does take some time to get used to and understand how things work here and some level of adaptation is necessary.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Bangalore? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Yes, I feel I was prepared because I had travelled in India before and knew what to expect.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Many words in Kannada sound very much alike… you have to know which letter to stress, so I make many goof-ups which locals have a good laugh at but they appreciate the effort I’m making.
An auto-rickshaw driver asked me where I’m from. I answered ‘Canada’. To which he replied, clearly confused: “Kannada?! You are not Kannada. You have foreigner voice and foreigner face.” “No, not Kannada, Canada,” I corrected him. “Accha, Canada,” he repeated.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in India?
- Each person’s India experience is very subjective. Speak to many people about their experiences, as each will have a very different story.
- Take the time to find a home you like and feel comfortable in as your well-being will depend on this.
- Spend your free time exploring the country: it’s very vast, diverse and there’s a lot to see and discover.
How is the expat community in Bangalore? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There are more and more expats coming to live in India. It’s easy to meet other expats either on-line or through various expat clubs.
How would you summarize your expat life in India in a single, catchy sentence?
Every day is a new adventure.