Kaho: Chuzai Living
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Mumbai, etc.
My name is Kaho and I am originally from Tokyo, Japan. I moved to Mumbai in August 2013 with my husband and our 3 kids.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
Originally, I wanted to have a creative outlet and a place where I could document our family life overseas. My blog has evolved into more of a place where I showcase my interests in fashion, design, travel and food, inspirations, experiences as a parent, and discoveries of living overseas.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Yes, that would be “How To Stay Happy Overseas”.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Mumbai differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
There are many things that are different. I find Indians very passionate about their holidays and they know how to celebrate their holidays with design, colors, music, food, and people.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Mumbai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I got lucky in a sense that we shifted from Jakarta, Indonesia to Mumbai, India. I was told by many people that our expat life in Jakarta prepared us for our life in Mumbai and I must say that it is true.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Some might not find these funny, but here are my stories. When we lived in Senegal, West Africa, I was caught in the middle of a student riot on a street. I was driving with my friend in a passenger seat and my first daughter at several months old in the back seat. I was also mugged on the street of Dakar, Senegal at night when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child. Two men came behind me and snatched a purse. Both experiences were scary, but now looking back, I can say with a smile that I was at a wrong place at a wrong time.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Mumbai?
- Cost of living in Mumbai for expats is very high. The rent and utility are very expensive, too. When negotiating with sponsor companies, these points should be put in consideration.
- I suggest you leave any valuable items that you want to keep, such as leather boots or jackets, in the wardrobe and never use in Mumbai. During the monsoon season, they could get moldy.
- Mumbai has a lot to offer. Come with an open mind.
How is the expat community in Mumbai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I have kids and through their schools, I found many wonderful friends. I think that in expat life, if you have kids, it is easier to find friends through their networks. The expat community in Mumbai is very friendly and welcoming.
How would you summarize your expat life in Mumbai in a single, catchy sentence?
It is a roller coaster ride that you will love if you approach it with an open mind and positive attitude.