Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Mumbai, etc.
I am Eli, ¼ of a Greek-Norwegian family. In July 2012 we (our 2 teenagers, my husband and I) moved to Mumbai. We have lived in Greece before, and the last few years in Norway. So, with one suitcase each we left Europe to start our Indian expat adventure! I have always worked full time, so being an expat wife and mum was a new experience to me. I decided to make the most of it, and look at every day as a new gift.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started to blog after living in Mumbai for 4 months. I figured that my everyday life experiences needed to be digested somehow, and blogging seemed like a nice way of doing it. Our family and friends in Europe also wanted to share more of our life in India.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Tell us about the ways your new life in Mumbai differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I enjoy my everyday life adventures in bustling Mumbai. The contrast between rich and poor are enormous here, and the impressions can be overwhelming. I work as a volunteer in an NGO with kids’ education, and really enjoy it. The days are very varied and exciting. It is hard to see the poverty and also women’s’ role in society. I share many of my impressions on my blog – it can be kind of being on an emotional roller coaster- expating in Mumbai!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Mumbai? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think I was quite good prepared, because I spent a month here before we actually decided to move the whole family. By then, I had gathered a lot of information from other expats, Indian friends, web and blogs.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
One afternoon I went with my 2 teens to a mall. Once inside, a large crowd came running towards us - they shouted: “You want to be in a movie? Come run with us” They were shooting a film about a bomb in the mall, and we (of course we joined in!) – should “act” as the terrified crowd of visitors running for the exit. They told us to look scared, and 3-2-1- off we went. As we were running there (supposedly looking terrified of the bomb) , side by side with my teens, a sikh in turban, an elderly lady in saree, and me in my high heels holding on to my shoulder bag - I just couldn’t help it- this bubbling feeling inside me overwhelmed me! It was so funny! Only in Bollywood cityJ
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Mumbai?
- Ask around! Use the expat community in Mumbai! Mumbai can be a tough city to live in, and lots of information goes from person to person.
- Be prepared - things take time in India, and 10 minutes does not necessarily mean 10 minutes.
- Do some good research on schools and housing before you arrive. The best is to come and visit. It is a huge city, so also find out which area will be the best for you.
How is the expat community in Mumbai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I found it very easy to meet other expats in Mumbai. The international schools organize activities, and a lot of networks and organizations offer activities. I think the community is very open and welcoming – use other expats – as it can be a bit hard in the beginning to sort out “where to go for what”.
How would you summarize your expat life in Mumbai in a single, catchy sentence?
A constant stream of everyday adventures, between rich and poor, in a bustling colorful city.