Alexandra: Madh Mama
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to India, etc.
My name is Alexandra and I am a Canadian girl, married to a South Indian man from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. He is both Tamil and Telugu. We met at college in the United States when we were both international students. We have been going back and forth to India since 2006.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I decided to start blogging after the birth of our child, Maya. After having a child I became more conscious of raising her in both cultures, which is something none of my friends could really relate to - especially with the love for India element. I started to write my blog to share my thoughts on culture, marriage, travel... and to see if there was anyone else out there who could relate to us.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Definitely How Being Married to an Indian has changed me.
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?
The hardest part for me was living so far away from my family. The time difference was too much: - 13.5 hours difference. Other than that, I was really in my element in India. I think I experienced culture shock more when I returned back home. You get used to the beautiful chaos in India.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in India? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
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!
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I love to dress in Indian clothes - they are so comfortable and beautiful. I wear tunics or Salwar Kameez every day, even back home. And when I'm in India, that's all I wear. So due to this and my dark hair color, there have been a few times I have been mistaken for a (North) Indian. The first time I met my husband's grandfather (before we were married) he looked at me and said, "Oh my, she's the fairest Indian I've ever seen!"
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in India?
- Have fun and have an adventure. You only live once!
- Don't look at other ways of life/lifestyles as right or wrong - they're just different.
- Immerse yourself in the culture. When you learn things about others, you learn things about yourself too.
How is the expat community in India? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
At the time I lived in India there were very few expats in Hyderabad. Now there are a lot more, so that's really great.
How would you summarize your expat life in India in a single, catchy sentence?
A transformative adventure!