Sophie: Videsi Girl in Mumbai
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Mumbai, etc.
My name is Sophie Goddard, I am British expat from Birmingham in the UK, I moved to Mumbai in January 2011 with my husband who has a job here with an international business.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
On the first day I arrived I noticed a lot of people at the airport had moustaches. I called my friends and family and told them I was settling in ok and repeated the story about the moustaches, one friend then said that is sooo funny you should start to write a blog, so I did!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I really do like all of them, when I read them back I laugh out loud because they are all real life experiences and its so nice that I will have this to look back on in the future, but in terms of favorites I like the ‘We’ll fight them on the beaches’ post as I was really proud I stood up for myself and also ‘Something Fishy’ about when we went to Mumbai’s version on the sea life centre. My husbands favorite is ‘And the award for the most annoying conversation of the week is…’ about when we tried to order a McDelivery.
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 can honestly say moving to Mumbai has been the most difficult experience of my life but at the same time the most rewarding. I lived in the UK for 25 years then moved to Singapore then India, to say I had a culture shock would be complete understatement but when you can look past the poverty, and the daily hardships you start to appreciate how lucky you are to have 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?
If I was to go back in time, I would have liked to have visited Mumbai for a couple of weeks and really see what the place was about before making a decision. Instead I moved here blind.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I have coped with life in Mumbai by laughing! My blog is mainly about my funny experiences so take a look.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Mumbai
- Choose a modern home, old homes may have character but will probably have an array of problems and yellow water!!
- Try and get another couple to come with you; it’s quite difficult to make friends here.
- Poverty is everywhere, the sooner you realize that ‘it is what it is’ you can start to enjoy the place.
How is the expat community in Mumbai? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community in Mumbai is pretty limited and over 40, also many of the expat wives have children so I did find it difficult to find people in my same situation. Luckily we made friends with people at my husband’s work place who were of similar age. I’ve heard there is a much bigger expat network in Delhi.
How would you summarize your expat life in Mumbai in a single, catchy sentence?
If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry; so take everything with a pinch of salt and enjoy the ride!