InterNations Featured Blog
Recommended Expat Blogs: India
Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in India:
Recently I was trying to explain something to someone in Hindi and he absolutely refused to believe that I was speaking Hindi. He just kept saying that he didn’t speak English! The funniest part was when he turned to his friend and said (in Hindi) that my English sounded almost like Hindi. Although my Hindi is far from perfect, my accent is good enough that most Hindi speakers can understand it.
Don't expect everything to be the same; you have to learn to give and take here. Laugh more instead of getting angry because anger doesn't help. Lastly, you have to write a lot of letters to get anything done here.
Don’t be put off by ‘bad India days’. If you’re here for a long time, every now and again it all gets to you and you just want a pint of normal beer that isn’t 8%, and a McDonalds. We all have them!
And my life is different in that I have a much better life here than in London – a huge flat, a staff to look after me (and the knowledge that it’s a social responsibility to keep those people employed). I have a driver, a maid, I don’t food shop for myself, I don’t do the ironing, the fridge is always full of lovely food… sigh, it’s lovely.
India is a culture shock no matter where you come from, but that is why I love it. Every aspect of life is different from seeing cows walking down the street to having your tea made for you at work. I have just taken the approach of going with the flow and enjoying each new experience.
The biggest difference is my inability to drive in India. I can’t stand that! I have always loved being able to hop in my car and take off at a moment’s notice. Now, my life has to be planned. I have been an expat before and although living in India is a shock to the system, I settled in quite quickly. One has to put blinders on to block out all the poverty. The problem is just too big and it can overwhelm if one lets it. The expat community is quite active here and that makes the transition much easier.
Because I traveled India quite extensively before moving, I didn’t experience culture shock. But if you come for the first time, you surely will. There were small things to get used to: driving a stick shift (dodging cows on the other side of the road), shopping in markets outside instead of grocery stores, having a maid that came with the house we rented, getting pets here and dealing with ill-equipped vets, and much more.
I had an easy landing as I met an Indian guy a couple of months after arriving and he answered a lot of my questions. I had some difficulties with my first Indian boss which made my life tough. I had a few shocks here and there but generally it’s been a smooth journey.
There is one huge difference between my life in England (working full-time, living alone in my one bedroom flat) and my life in India. I am living with my in-laws indefinitely; it is normal for the wife to move in with her in-laws here in India but a shocking prospect in the west. I am getting used to it, even if it is still feeling slightly weird not to have a place of our own.
I thought I was pretty prepared because I had travelled to India over 10 times before I actually moved there. But visiting and living there are two completely different things. For preparations, I definitely would’ve packed more food goodies that I can’t get in India, they were highly needed. And I would’ve prepared myself better mentally, because I was definitely surprised by how different life is in India.
Things are vastly different and yet may not seem so much on the outside. Life is both simpler and much harder too. India has been a constant adjustment. Now, four years later, we’ve found a decent flow and have surrounded ourselves with people who understand. I had several culture shock experiences, but the more severe ones were what I called culture attacks when it seemed like the whole world was out to get me.
I was definitely not prepared, but that was the fun part! Sometimes you just have to go along for the ride...and that's what life is all about! The adventure!
Break out of the expat bubble. Love India. Experience it. Live it and embrace it. If you try to fight it you are bound to lose!