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12/22/2013

Interview for Internations

My blog been featured on Internartions.org (a good platform to meet fellow expats everywhere in the world). Here is what I had to say to them! 

india,expatriation,expat,interview,internations

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 (easier said than done at times believe me!!).
  • 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!  

11/18/2013

When Jane meets Tarzan...

My friend knows by now, you must be an adventurer to travel with a samurai! After encounters with Naxalite terrorists in Bastar (Chattisgarh), with rhinoceros and dancing monks in Assam, this time I offered a dive in the heart of the jungle of Karnataka...

A good girl, she trusts me and hardly checks on the destination. A good girl, she doesn’t make any comment when we arrive in our guesthouse at one in the morning after a flight of an hour and half and a five-hour drive on a bumpy mud path. Not such a good girl, she wakes me up in the middle of the night screaming: “I'm terrified! I want to leave!” And I discover her, sitting on the bed, trying to beat the pitch darkness and see with the light of her mobile phone what beast has invited itself. Cautious me, before turning the light on, asks her if she thinks it’s a rat. Cautious her – she knows that if she answers yes I would be out of the room in no time and she would have to fight the monster alone –responds that she doesn’t think it’s a rat. So I turn on the light. Samurai til the end of the night... And bravely, I get rid of the intruder: a pillow. Yes yes! The pillow was weighing on her feet and following her movements, slyly imitating a snake. Or a rat. 

After this agitated nGlomeris_marginata,_Pill_Millipede,_Wales.JPGight, what a reward when we open the door in the morning: hibiscus, bananas, plant this, plant that! And butterflies. And dragonflies. And spiders. And insects coming straight out of Alice in Wonderland. As we are fully into observing nature, we stop dead when we come across a handsome male... Huh ? Hellooo? Whatthehellareyoudoinghere Gael*? Breathtaking! So this is here, in the asshole of Karnataka, that super hot guys hide away... Who would have thought?? 

 

We go straight to the point with this French chilo-italo-belgio-spanish specimen: in the jungle, no place for pretences. We girls are dressed like truck-drivers, with tans that goes with it (due to a nasty sunburn during the first walk), and hairy, the truck-drivers! (Our hairs appear to have got inspired by the lushness of the vegetation and who says jungle says no electricity says no removal and with the humidity you start looking more like Cheetah than Jane in no time!). And our Apollo spends his days gardening, shirtless, with leeches stuck between his toes, cobwebs in the beard, paint under his fingernails and a swimsuit that makes him scratch his butt constantly. And if it was only that… After a month and a half of manual chores (and loneliness) in the jungle, he is so happy to find compatriots (and girls, young and single) that he can’t stop talking.  

 

So he goes on telling us about the frequency of his showers (twice a week), his sexual frustration (or how he discovered how to download porn pictures on his ipod for his lonely nights), his difficulties linked to the absence of toilet paper, his Don Juan behaviour who fucks everything that moves, his failed studies and his Indian-style ‘school of life’, his macrophage attitude with girls (he painted himself as a ‘fungus’ that phagocytes his girlfriends and thrives thanks to them), his desire to run around naked in our room. Yes Yes, we also fell speechless... Especially after he clarified that he liked hairy women (a subliminal message (given what I explained above)??). And that he’d love to spend the night between us two! Ah the energy of 25 year olds!  

 

 had chosen the place for its seclusion: no phone network, no internet, no TV, no computer, no nothing. But fate had decided otherwise and forced me to listen to the stories of George of the Jungle, who seems to have missed out on the concept of “be beautiful and shut up”. Eight hours of non-stop blabla. I have to say he lost my attention after his tirade on zoophilia... And the worst, yes the worst, is that after this unloading of atrocities you look at him and think “how hot is this guy”! Ah women, go figure... 

 

During our scrabble games, my friend and I observe Georgee gardening fervently. And between games, we watch him catch cockroaches to feed his scorpion and frogs, frolic in the river, carry bamboos, respond to the smiles of the blushing Indian girls... Ah Georgee... Who also refused to answer to this sweet nickname of a “failed Tarzan”! 

 

There is nothing like speeches on organic farming to calm raging hormones... I had indeed chosen the guesthouse of an organic plantation run by a couple of botanical researchers (a Canadian of Indian origin guy and his Indian wife) who fled their Delhi lab to see how agriculture works in real life... We learn that extensive monocultures and pesticides destroy the soil, the ecosystem and our organisms. And the proliferation of coffee plantations in the region threatens the natural habitat of elephants, pushing them to attack the fields and villagers. We also perfect our herpetological and subarachnoid culture. Which did not prevent the eyes of my friend's to spring out of their orbits whenever they locate a huge hairy spider while she is quietly reading in bed! Or call Georgee to the rescue when a giant grasshopper decides to play trampoline on the bed! Because in addition to being beautiful, he is strolling around everywhere with his ‘girl-trap’, a small net with which he is catching frogs... 

 

Our hot horny male is forced to get out of his way to satisfy his sexual needs! So he invites us for a spicy rum drink by a bonfire lit up by himself, with love. It turns out that he has fallen head over toes for yours truly and... went back to his room empty-handed. Like I said, women, go figure... ;) Well, not completely empty-handed though, as I give him the end of our toilet paper roll to soak-up the souvenirs of his solitary nights! 

 

We heartily thank him for spicing up our jungle 3 day-stay that would have otherwise consisted only of morning treks, tasty and healthy (maybe even a little too healthy!) food, naps, games and discovery of organic farming! 

 

*He looks big time like Gael García Bernal.  

 

Coorg, Karnataka - Nov 2013

 

I strongly recommend Mojo Plantation, Madikeri district, Coorg, Karnataka. 

Mojo 1.jpg

11/06/2013

Celebrating 7 years in India with some pictures

India is...