Diary of a White Indian Housewife

  • Diary of a White Indian Housewife
Blog of the month
Published 2009-08-01 00:00
I gave my business suits to charity, quit my accounting job, moved to Mumbai, married an Indian guy, and became a white Indian housewife.

My name is Sharell and I'm from Melbourne, Australia. I actually grew up in a small country town, two hours east of Melbourne. I moved to the Melbourne to start work after finishing college, and lived there for 10 years. I couldn't wait to experience everything that the big city had to offer. I guess I've always been really curious about different places!

Where are you living now? Have you been there for a while? How long do you plan to stay?

At the moment, I'm living in Mumbai, India. I've been in Mumbai for a year and a half. Before that I lived in various other places in India, including Calcutta and Kerala. In total, I've been in India for almost four years now. I plan to stay here indefinitely. Well, at least I plan try and live in Mumbai for another five years. I'll re-evaluate the situation then, based on how I'm feeling!

Have you ever lived abroad before? How many countries have you visited?

I lived in London for three months, way back in 1997! Other than that, I've visited plenty of countries including the US, UK, western Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong, Fiji, Cook Islands, and New Zealand.

When did you decide to go and live abroad? Is it your first time or are you a "serial expat"? Why did you choose to live in India ?

I never really made a definite decision to go abroad to live! It was a series of decisions that lead me in this direction.  Initially, I made up my mind to come to India for 5 weeks to do some community work.  After that, a friend of mine from Australia asked me to look after her guesthouse in Kerala for the tourist season. This resulted in me spending 8 months there. Along the way, I fell in love and got married to an Indian guy. We decided to settle in Mumbai, where his family are, and not long after I landed my dream job writing about India travel for an American company, About.com.  At this stage, I finally decided to go home, and sell off and pack up my belongings once and for all! I initially chose to come to India because I felt like I needed a change of environment, and one that would challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone. I'd also travelled around India a couple of times previously, and was strangely drawn to it.

The place where you live: how would you describe it? What do you like the most about it?  How is / was the cultural shock?

Mumbai is the most cosmopolitan city in India. I consider it to be the easiest place for a foreigner to live in. There are lots of good facilities here, including supermarkets, entertainment, restaurants, and bars. It's also a relatively safe city, compared to places such as Delhi. I never feel threatened when I'm out alone here. However, the drawback is that it's VERY crowded and polluted.  Real estate is also ridiculously expensive.  It's not an easy city to live in because there is such little personal space. The lack of personal space was definitely the hardest aspect of culture shock to deal with. People are very intrusive. I also find the beauracracy and length of time it takes to get anything done here so frustrating.

Do you miss anything from your homeland?

I miss simple every day pleasures that I used to take for granted, such as eating fish and chips on the beach, and good inexpensive wine. I miss being able to get into my car and go for a drive (the traffic in Mumbai is way to crazy for me to ever contemplate driving here!). I also miss the fresh air, space, and freedom to dress how I want, and walk down the street and not be stared at. Of course, I also miss my family and friends. It's tough sometimes not to be able to celebrate special occassions with them, or be with them during times of need.

Your blog: when did you start it? For what reasons? Did its original purpose changed along the way? Do you spend a lot of time on it?

I started the blog in its current form in March 2009. However, I initially started it a year before that, when I first moved to Mumbai. It did change its purpose greatly along the way. First off, I used it as more of an outlet for me to vent my frustrations trying to settle into life in Mumbai. It was more of a personal blog, and one which I didn't want too many people reading! With the start of the new year, I decided to completely change my outlook, try to focus on the positive aspects of my situation, and write a more balanced blog. I also wanted to incorporate more posts about my multiculural marriage and how I'd adjusted to that part of my life in India. As a result, my current blog was born. I uploaded quite a few posts from the previous year to it, but in edited form!  I do spend quite a lot of time on my blog. I usually try to write a thoughtful post every day or so. Being a writer, I really enjoy it.

Did you make new friends with your blog? Have you ever met somebody you spoke with on your blog?

I've actually been very fortunate to make a number of new friends with my blog. It's been such a lifeline, and a great way of finding people with things in common.  I've met a couple of people I've communicated with through my blog, and plan to meet lots more! I've also been able to give people advice through my blog, which is really rewarding.

Expat-blog (of course!): when did you register? Any particular reasons?

I registed around April 2009, mainly as a tool to promote my blog and also so that I could contribute to the India forum. Expat-blog is a premier website in its field, so that encouraged me to join.

Any 'memories of an expat' you would like to share with other bloggers? Your best souvenir? Or maybe your worst experience?

Living in India completely broadened my perspective on life. I've had plenty of adventures, such as working on the set of a Bollywood movie, going on a yak safari, and participating in an auto rickshaw race across India. India really tests a person's patience though. My worst experiences include shouting and crying in a post office through frustration, shouting at my neighbours because they they wouldn't stop knocking on my door to see what I was doing at all hours of the day, and getting sick with mystery illnesses that I've never had before.

Diary of a White Indian Housewife