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 Ohio to Germany: The Dusty Compass

06 February, 2017 09:18  Erin Erin

Dusty Compass Hallo zusammen, or hello everyone! I’m Danny, and in case you haven’t noticed, I really love traveling and living abroad. Originally from Ohio, I’ve witnessed a revolution in Egypt, taught English to schoolchildren in Stuttgart, been on top of the world’s tallest building (the Burj Khalifa, in case you’re wondering), and gotten Delhi Belly from India. But most of the time, I’m working an ordinary nine-to-five job in Frankfurt, Germany.

1.    Why did you move abroad?

I’ve actually moved abroad on five separate occasions: twice as a kid for two summers in England, once as a yearlong high school exchange student in Germany, once during a university semester abroad in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, and then my most recent move to Germany, where I’ve been living since 2012.

This last segment came about as a result of a bit of soul-searching. After graduating from university, I didn’t know where to go or what to do. All I knew is that I loved learning foreign languages, traveling, and experiencing different cultures. So I decided to take a gap year and teach English in Germany. I loved it so much, however, that I scrapped my plans to return to the U.S. and ended up staying here!
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From California to Japan: Everywhere To Be Found

30 January, 2017 07:56  Erin Erin

Everywhere To Be Found Hi! My name is Kendra and I’m an American! I left California to teach English for a year in Japan back in March 2014 and kept extending my stay until a few years had gone by and I realized I was in love with my life and the Japanese people! I’m getting my American teaching credential soon and when it’s finished I plan to shake things up by teaching in an International School either elsewhere in Japan or somewhere else in the world. Decisions are hard when the whole world is open for exploration!

1.    Why did you move abroad?
Originally I had studied educational systems from around the world to compare them to the U.S. When I heard about working in Japan’s public school system I thought it was the perfect opportunity to fulfill my dreams of long-term travel while also continuing to work in a field that I love. All the signs were pointing to Japan and I wasn’t going to argue! Also, anime and ramen!

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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 California to England: ClariMichele

16 January, 2017 07:27  Erin Erin

ClariMichele Hello fellow expats! I’m Clarissa from clarimichele.com. My husband Andrew and I moved from California to England in 2015. So far it’s been an amazing, challenging experience.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
I decided to move abroad because why not? I’ve always wanted to live in Europe, and when Andrew’s job gave us the opportunity to move to the UK, we decided to take it. We were engaged at the time, and we ended up moving 9 months after we got married. We’ve taken advantage of our new location by traveling as much as possible around Europe. So far we’ve been to Budapest, Italy, Prague, Vienna, and Berlin.
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From Australia to San Francisco: Bright Lights of America

09 January, 2017 09:39  Erin Erin

Kat Bright Lights USA Hi, I’m Kat (or Katherine when I’m in trouble), an Australian expat now on my second stint living overseas. I started off in London back in 2008 and have been loving travel ever since.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
It began as short adventures to Europe, visiting my Dad’s family in Malta as I grew up. Then in 2005 I travelled through Europe and that was the end of any chance I had of staying in Sydney forever. I was hooked. I ended up finding a job in San Francisco and moving to the US in mid-2015 and have had a fantastic time so far.

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From the UK to Portugal: An Englishman in Lisbon

02 January, 2017 15:10  Erin Erin

Kev LisbonMy name’s Kev Harrison, I’m 37 and a bit of a wanderer, having lived in about 7 cities in the UK, before moving to Turkey, Poland and now Portugal, where I’m planning to stay put, not least of all because I’m marrying a Portuguese lady this coming autumn! I’m a teacher and also write in my free time, not just my blog but also fiction. I had a couple of bits published last year, so this year’s plan is to kick on and get more stuff in print!

1.    Why did you move abroad?
I’d been working as a data analyst for about 9 years in various companies and I had begun to find the corporate life to be really depressing. I read a book (Dance, Dance, Dance, by Haruki Murakami) in which the protagonist talks about his job being like shoveling snow. You keep on doing it but it’s the same every time and you never seem to get anywhere. It really resonated with me and I decided I needed a dramatic change.
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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 North Carolina to Sydney: Living EZ

19 December, 2016 10:03  Erin Erin

Living EZ Erin Z, John Z and Cecilia Z – From Charlotte, NC, USA to Sydney Australia.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
Erin had always wanted to move abroad, and when John got approached by a recruiter from LinkedIn about a banking position in Sydney, we decided to pursue it. We moved to Australia in December of 2014 (with a 2 month old).
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From New York City to Nairobi: NYC2Nairobi

12 December, 2016 09:32  Erin Erin

NYC2Nairobi M. Cavanagh is a New Yorker and a User Experience Strategist and Designer. My husband and I have moved to Nairobi for his job. We plan to be in Nairobi for at least a few years. Their blog is where she hopes to record  adventures (and not too many misadventures), life as an expat in Nairobi, and maybe even some helpful tips.

1. Why did you move abroad?
Husband’s work opportunity.
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