Emilie: Indian Samourai
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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.
I am a Parisian girl in my thirties. I moved to India in 2006, as this is the only place (outside France) where I could find a job after finishing my business school. And I have been having an eventful life ever since! I have changed companies, jobs, cities and loved it all! I am currently based in Mumbai.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started my blog the day I landed in India. Initially it was to share my experiences with my family and friends and it ended up as some kind of “therapy”: writing to understand better whatever I came across and startled me in this amazing country.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I have some entries that have received good feedbacks, some funny, like When Jane meets Tarzan; some surprising, as When Superman saves Indian Samourai; and, finally, some interesting, like Why Indians.
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 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…
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 had traveled in India (and other developing countries) before, and since a young age, so I had an idea of where I was going. I wasn’t really prepared though. But I also didn’t have any expectation (bad or good) which I think helped a lot.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I have so many! Maybe you can check this list on my blog, which refers to my daily life here, namely My Stories in India.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in India?
- To be patient – it takes years to start understanding India and there is no end to it… (I like this saying “If you have patience India will make you lose it, if you don’t have patience India will teach it to you.”- I think it is true and it is also a circle!)
- To be open-minded.
- Always try to understand why Indians do what they do (especially at work), otherwise it will drive you crazy and things won’t get done.
How is the expat community in India? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I always have had 3-4 very good expat friends, mostly French, but I don’t really know the expat community. It is relatively easy to find expats (through Internations.org or writers.com) though we are not so many in India… However, I find it not so easy to find like-minded people – especially since expats usually stay a maximum of 2 years and you evolve a lot after 2 years when you stay in India. Your point of view, your understanding of the place and people keep on changing.
How would you summarize your expat life in India in a single, catchy sentence?
Living in India is probably the hardest and yet most rewarding challenge I will ever take up!