Hi Friends! So I thought I might introduce a new weekly feature here, kind of journaling our (my) experience being an expat in India. I will share with you highs and lows of each week, new discoveries, things I’m loving and things I’m missing. Although I want this blog to be a positive place, I will always be honest and real and share things how they really are. I know that this journey, however long or short it may turn out to be, is going to have its ups and downs and my aim is to tell it how it is. Basically I’m saying if I have a bad week I will share it but please don’t worry, Mum! Haha
Also I totally get that a lot of people don’t have a great understanding of India. Its like anything, you only know what you see and most of the images of India in the media or movies and TV tell the widely known stereotypes of the country. So I hope that my recaps will help give you a more accurate picture of India. If you have any specific questions (even if you think they are dumb) feel free to email me and I’ll answer them in the next recap. So far two questions that I’ve had are:
- Will you have to pack cutlery for you and the kids?
- No, Indians have cutlery and use it 🙂
- Do you only eat Indian food or can you make bolognaise?
- No and no, not really. We only eat Indian food if we go out to a restaurant. In the house we make our own food and have basically the same foundations as at home. So, a lot of rice, vegies and a little bit of chicken and fish. It is difficult to buy meat, especially red meat and then jarred sauces and pastes are only available in a few shops so things like bolognaise and pasta sauces would be difficult.
Ok, so lets get into it.
Overall I’d say this week has been a rollercoaster. We are currently staying with my Mother In Law and it feels strange to now live in a house that has only ever been a temporary place to visit. It doesn’t quite feel like home yet but it does feel nice to have all of our things unpacked and not be living out of a suitcase. We are lucky that we have our own space. The kids have their own room and bathroom, as do my husband and I. We have our own small kitchen, a living space and lots of storage so that is helping me to feel a little bit more independent. I am sure as the weeks go by we will all settle into more of a rhythm but for now there is still a little of that awkward formality of ‘who’s going to cook dinner?’ ‘Will they like it?’ ‘Should we all sit down and watch TV together in the evening?’ etc. etc.
I spent the first few days feeling very lost and unsure if we had done the right thing. Although I was trying to act normal, of course my husband could tell that something was up. Although he definitely understands where I am coming from, I know that it puts lots of extra pressure on him to feel as though he has to worry about me and the kids, in edition to starting a new job. We are lucky that even though he is working, most days he is at home with us and ready to help out if need be. After my first couple of mopey days, I knew that the best thing I could do is to just focus on each day and not worry too much about the bigger picture and plan. Easier said than done, especially for someone like me who LOVES having a plan but it does make a difference and I feel a lot less anxious.
All that being said, I am so glad that we moved to a country that I had visited many times before and where we have some family support. I cant imagine how much more overwhelming it would be for expats to land in a foreign country where they have absolutely zero bearings and zero support.
Highlight: Despite only being on the ground for 2 days, my husband and I got invited to our first event. It was a Book Launch party where the keynote speakers were the Solicitor General of India and the Supreme Court Judge of India. The project that my husband is here for has a lot to do with the Indian government in it’s early stages, so it was important that we went and networked as best we could. I was the youngest person there (and only foreigner) by a long shot but everyone was polite and welcoming.
New Words I learnt:
Jhaadoo – Sweep/ broom
Obviously I’ll be fluent in no time ;).
Things I’m loving: How well the kids have adjusted. It is safe to say that we have raised two very adaptable kids. I’m sure this is thanks to all the travel we have been fortunate to do so early on in their lives. They have taken this all in their stride and no matter how overwhelmed or lost I feel I know that as long as we are together as a family that we will be ok. Also I feel that sometimes Australia can be a safe little bubble, which is amazing, but often kids can grow up without much of a concept of the wider world around them. It is important to me that our kids see all walks and ways of life and I know that spending this time in India, even though they are so little still, will be an invaluable experience for them.
Things I’m missing: Two things: Coffee and Clothes (and my family obviously). Currently all I have here is instant coffee. There are a few Starbucks and major coffee chains around but not close enough that I can go everyday. I think I will need to get a grinder, some beans and a plunger, because as all of my fellow mums know, coffee is KEY!
As for clothes, I mentioned on Instagram the other day, that despite packing more than 50kgs of clothing (for myself), I am struggling to find clothes that fit both the climate and the culture. Even though I have visited Delhi 3 times before, I have never come during the monsoon season. It is so hot and muggy but shorts and short dresses are not appropriate, nor are skimpy tops and singlets. Although India is a mainly Hindu country, these restrictions are based less on religion and more on the culture. At the end of the day wearing a short dress will basically get you a lot of the wrong kind of attention.
I know that my style and wardrobe is going to have to evolve and change but this week I have really missed being able to go into my cupboard and wear something because that’s what I felt like wearing. Currently I have to go through a process of elimination and am left with a few workable options with some modifications like adding a kimono or resigning myself to the fact that I will be hot!
What I’m looking forward to: Going home for my best friends wedding in December. My flights are already booked for the 16th of December and although we wont know until later in the year if the whole family can come, just knowing that I have this on my calendar makes me happy. I promise I wont give this answer every week but just know that I will be counting down the weeks to see my family and friends ;).
So that’s week one done and dusted. As I said before please send me questions about life here, India or being an expat and I will include it in next weeks post. Thanks again for all of your support and well wishes xx