Middle East


From Ukraine to India: Mrs. Sharma

13 February, 2017 09:46  Erin Erin

mrs. sharma Hi! I’m Marianna. A designer, unshakable optimist, enthusiastic cook & non-Indian Indian wife. A born-and-raised Kyiv girl with keen interest in spirituality, miraculously turned Pune dweller years back.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
I never thought I could live without picturesque hills, snowy Christmases and jazzy summer nights of Kyiv. But love won over my childhood attachments. And that was love at the first sight. I was eager to visit India and meet my guru.

After two years of raja yoga and multiple precautions from friends who’ve been there, I boarded plane to Delhi. All those stories about crossing Indian road, garbage on the streets, getting lost in railway station, where trains are never on time, made me nervous and excited. Amidst exotic chaos of Indian reality I surprisingly felt at home. And deep down inside I knew I’d be back. When following autumn design internship opportunity turned up, I packed my bags without thinking twice. And that was the beginning of my Indian story.

2.    How do you make a living?
I currently help husband in his brand consulting business. With my background in marketing and design it became a perfect match of personal life and work. It took quite some time to find a ‘professional nook’ though. I had to learn the culture, which drives the way people work and clients demand. In Ukraine we generally avoid working with relatives or friends, fiercely believing that business ruins relationships. Focused on personal performance, I found it difficult to work in team.

For Indians collaborating is the natural way to live and get things done. I recently realized this when we had to prepare festive dinner to celebrate Lohri. I left from office a little early, ready to make puris for twelve people at parents’ place. To my surprise the dough was already prepared by mother-in-law and resting under muslin cloth. When I started rolling breads, sister-in-law joined to fry them, and another one came over to pick up puris and serve them hot. It felt good to be a part of the team. At the same time result didn’t belong to anyone, - we did it together. The same principle works in office too. It took me years to move from personal performance to teamwork. In Indian office I’ve learnt to appreciate everyone’s role and keep my ego balanced.

3.    How often do you communicate with home and how?
I speak to dad in Kyiv daily. We share experiences, plans and recipes on Skype, chatting throughout the day. My husband and me visit him once a year, mostly in July, swapping Indian monsoon to Ukrainian summer.

4.    What's your favorite thing about being an expat in India?
I love learning. India is the blend of cultures, languages, beliefs, cuisines, which is infinite source of experiences and knowledge. It’s so vast and multifaceted, that I know for sure – there’s no way to stop learning. This means to keep your mind and heart open, be adjustable and sensitive to other human beings. And this is true gift for expat.
 
5.    What’s the worst thing about being an expat in India?
I find monsoons in India a little depressing. Three months without sun makes me feel like a bear in winter sleep. It takes at least a week for laundry to dry, spices become moist and clumping, sometimes there’s no water and electricity at home. Month into the monsoon I stop noticing when continuous drizzle change to downpours. Rain never stops. Spending most of the time indoors or in traffic amidst flooded streets, I cannot wait to wake up into sunny day again. 

6.    What do you miss most?
I miss wandering around the city without agenda. Kyiv is forever happening place, - summer or winter, day or night. There’re literary parties and street performances, cozy cafeterias serving Turkish coffee with cinnamon. It’s the best place for couples and even better place for being on your own. If I weren’t married, I would just date my city.

7.    What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
My husband and me keep on meeting people from design circle and industry. I joined Pune expat club and various expat communities to connect with foreigners living in India. This is one of the reasons for starting a blog as well. I’ve learnt that being curious and open minded helps to adjust and make friends in new place.  

8.    What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
People here are often indirect when they speak. Avoiding saying ‘no’ is the form of Indian politeness. You have to be patient and learn reading between the lines. 

9.    What is a myth about your adopted country?
When I was moving here five years back my parents were horrified, imagining place I’m going to live. It’s common belief that India is the country of slums and dirty streets, which you get to see in international news. They are there of course, existing side by side with palaces, ashrams, and middle class societies, but India is far greater than that.

10.    Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Five years back the cost of life in India to compare to Ukraine was twice lower. With prolonged crisis that had hit Ukraine in 2013, it became equally cheap for us, but much more expensive for its citizens.

11.    What advice would you give other expats?
Becoming an expat means moving out from your comfort zone. Packing your life into few bags and boarding plane is easy. After few weeks of initial excitement you realize that things are not the same anymore. Environment, people, food are different. You have to accept and adjust to new home. Be curious, welcome people and unknown culture without prejudice. The more open-minded you are, the sooner you start enjoying expat life.

12.    When and why did you start your blog?mrs. sharma
I started my blog Mrs. Sharma in May 2016 to share little stories from daily life in India. Being an expat, designer and non-Indian Indian wife my focus is to learn, understand and absorb new culture. I love connecting to readers. The biggest gift of blogging is to hear back from them. It makes me realize how they relate my experiences to their life.


Blog LinkMarianna's blog, Mrs. Sharma

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From Washington, D.C. to Kuwait: Nutritionista Abroad

23 January, 2017 07:39  Erin Erin

Nutritionista Abroad Hi, I’m Sheli. I moved from Washington, DC to Kuwait.  I am a wife, a dog mom, a dietitian, a cook, an occasional baker, a health and fitness enthusiast, a wannabe yogi, and, of course, I love to travel.

1. Why did you move abroad?
I met my (now) husband only a few weeks before he left to study abroad for his junior year of college. When he got back, he couldn’t wait to move abroad again. So, moving abroad has always a part of our plan. Once my husband completed his PhD in International Psychology, moving to the Middle East was a natural next step as his research is focused here. Obviously safety was a high priority, so Kuwait was a pretty easy choice. Luckily, working in health care allows me to work pretty much anywhere!

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From South Africa to Kuwait: Expat Panda

26 December, 2016 08:32  Erin Erin

Expat Panda A twenty-something nomadic panda born and raised in South Africa. Married to a risk-taking fox. A curious educator, zealous explorer & vociferous storyteller. Always trying to inspire and connect with people through my passions. A life liver & encouragement giver in the pursuit of perfection.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
While most little girls dreamed of their picture perfect wedding complete with fairy lights and a lacy white dress, I have been dreaming of crossing borders, filling passports and exploring the world ever since I hit double digits. After getting a taste of living abroad in 2011 when I moved to vibrant and culture-filled South Korea for two golden years, I moved back home to finish my Masters degree in South Africa and now I have moved to the quiet, not-so-conservative haven that is Kuwait. A long-standing need to discover, wander, dream and roam fuels my passion for travel and inspired this move abroad.
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From Egypt to Saudi Arabia: My Saudi Adventures

15 August, 2016 07:53  Erin Erin

My Saudi Adventures I’m Eslam but normally people call me Bro as it’s the nickname that I go with since 2000 (Had some troubles while travelling abroad because my real name is just like the Religion :D ). I’m From Egypt, not a certain city in Egypt because I move a lot but mainly from Alexandria, Aswan and Cairo. For the past 10 months I’ve been living in Saudi Arabia between Jeddah and Riyadh (Still moving from one place to another is my life style ;) ) .

1.    Why did you move abroad?
I moved to Saudi because of a business contract that I got to launch a group of restaurants as a Marketing manager. Was really hard for me to take the decision knowing how hard it is to live in the country freely but I’m really glad that I toke this challenge as the country turned out different than the myths.

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From the USA to UAE: Ann Benjamin

15 June, 2015 08:06  Erin Erin

Ann Benjamin Courtney Hi, I’m Courtney!  I’m an American living with my husband and our cat in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. We moved abroad in 2007 from Los Angeles, CA and have lived in Dubai, Doha and are now happy in Abu Dhabi.  

1. Why did you move abroad?
My husband and I were traveling with my college roommate’s parents, who announced they were moving back abroad.  We looked at each other and after coming home decided we shouldn’t be jealous, we should do something about it!  

One CV and less than a year later, we were moving from Los Angeles to Dubai.  (And then Doha and then Abu Dhabi!)  We had intended a one year experiment, but now have no intention of returning home any time soon.
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From Australia to Abu Dhabi: Baby Globetrotters

27 April, 2015 12:13  Erin Erin

baby globetrotter familyHi I am Keri – or as I now seem to be known Mrs Globetrotter! I am an Australian, born to British parents, in New Zealand but raised in Australia, lived in London for eight years and now living in Abu Dhabi, UAE with my husband and three children.

1. Why did you move abroad?

I initially moved abroad in 2004 for some work and life experience. Like all great travelers I set out for one to two years and here I am 11 years, one husband and three children further on…
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From Indonesia to Turkey: Alanya, Turkish Riviera, Turkiye

02 March, 2015 12:32  Erin Erin

Alanya, Turkish Riviera, Turkiye Hi there! I am Dian from Indonesia. Since April 2005, I live in Alanya, Turkey. So, the now chapter of my life is a Long Vacation in Alanya.

1. Why did you move abroad?
Internet made my dream come true. Through internet, I met my soulmate. He is a Turk. He came to Indonesia to marry me and brought me here. We settle down in Alanya, his hometown.

2. How do you make a living?

I work from home. I am author, ghostwriter, blogger, and graphic & web designer. I do those jobs from home. Until now, I am writing books and my books are published in my home country. My published books are Muslimah Mompreneur, Womenpreneur Checklist, and Best of Turki (duet).
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From New Jersey to Turkey to New York: Bended Brains

01 December, 2014 11:57  Erin Erin

Bended Brain My name is Jeremy Bender, and I am currently living large (or at least attempting to) in Astoria, New York.

I was originally from New Jersey, and I spent the first 21 years of my life there. My family were all big travelers, so I was inspired to see as much of the world as I could. So far I have lived in two countries and traveled to another ten or so, but I still get constant wanderlust.

I blogged about my time abroad, as well as on random musings, over at bendedbrains.com. I hope to see you there!

1. Why did you move abroad?

I always knew I wanted to move away from New Jersey for some length of time, after having lived there almost continuously for the entirety of my life. In college I studied Middle Eastern studies with a focus on Turkey, and I was fortunate enough to receive a Fulbright grant upon graduation to go live in eastern Turkey for an academic year.
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From England to Dubai: Footsteps of a Wanderer

21 July, 2014 09:38  Erin Erin

Footsteps of a WandererSam is a PR and social media consultant from England, who moved to Dubai on her own in January 2006, promising her family it would only be for two years. Over the many years that followed she has been busy sharing the less well known parts of the UAE - across deserts, mountains, beaches and even underwater - on her blog 'Footsteps of a Wanderer', along with a lot of other useful travel advice.

1. Why did you move abroad?
My dad had been living in Abu Dhabi and I came for a visit and saw a lot of potential. Things were tough in the UK and I had no ties, so I contacted a few PR agencies when I arrived and as an experienced PR and events person with native English, I was in high demand - I came back from the two week holiday with two offer letters and handed in my notice!
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From the USA to Kuwait: American Girl's World

30 June, 2014 10:22  Erin Erin

American Girl's World kuwait Hi there! My name is Diane and I’m from central North Carolina in the U.S.A. I lived in Kuwait for a bit more than 10 years, married a local, and we moved back to my hometown in North Carolina last year. We continue to maintain our home in Kuwait and travel back and forth several times a year so I guess it’s safe to say we live in both countries now.

1. Why did you move abroad?
I had completed my education and found myself seeking something challenging beyond the typical 9-5 workday.
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