Irina: My Indian Taste
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Mumbai, etc.
My name is Irina Iordan and I am originally from Romania. My husband is from Mumbai and we decided to move here in 2011.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
My current blog, My Indian Taste, is a food blog where I share my adventure with Indian recipes mostly. I’ve started writing almost a year back, so I’m a novice and as of now, I can’t say I’m writing too much of my daily living experiences in Mumbai but the enjoyment of cooking and sharing delicious food with good people around me. Cooking, eating and learning about the Indian foods is a way to understand and adapt easier to the culture.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
My audience is mostly Indian food lovers, I enjoyed cooking and sharing each recipe on my blog, but from readers view, I think Chicken biryani preparation (one of the famous Indian dish) or Easy lemon rice recipe are the most read entries.
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 have been living in India for almost 4 years now and I don’t remember having a very difficult experience moving here. India is a culture shock and can be hard to live in, especially in Mumbai (often seen as a chaos city) but this is also part of the beauty and uniqueness of this experience.
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 didn’t quite prepare myself for living long term in India. My husband being an Indian, it makes my living here much easier.
I would probably have read more expat blogs to get a better picture of daily life in India, though having your own experience and getting surprised is also part of the adventure.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I think that for a foreigner to survive/live in India, he/she needs a good sense of humor. There are many, normally frustrating, situations I’ve been into but seen with a sense of humor, they can be just funny. One was some years back, when my husband and I happen to be involved in a minor car accident on the highway. A sort of truck hit the back of our car, fortunately there was no speed involved, no injuries. My husband gets out of the car to see what happened, I am staying in the car checking my phone, which dropped at impact. In like no time, dozens of people gather to the “accident site” not to help but to stand and stare, some seriously debating who is to blame and what had happen. That was pretty funny at that time.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Mumbai?
- Have an open mind, be tolerant, and have patience. Take Indian people as they are, have a positive attitude. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by colors, sounds, smells, tastes and diversity everywhere.
- Read expat blogs more than traveling guides to learn about the views of foreigners living here — from bargaining, climate, renting, safety tricks to local cultural norms, the do’s and don’ts.
- Learn a bit of Hindi or the local language. Most of Mumbaikars speak English and they are very friendly people ready to help you, but if you plan to live long term in India, knowing a bit of local language can be in your advantage.
How is the expat community in Mumbai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community is quite big in Mumbai, especially in suburbs such as Bandra and Powai. There are many ways to get in touch and meet with other expats, through online expat forums/groups, expat meetings, or just by hazard on the street.
I have never been to expat parties or group meetings, all my expat friends I interact with are living in the same area, we got in touch as we were meeting in the park, at the stores, or just on the street.
How would you summarize your expat life in Mumbai in a single, catchy sentence?
Living in Mumbai is intense and addictive, colorful and always surprising. It’s never what used to be your NORMAL.