Liz: Madam Let Me Tell You One Thing
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Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to India, etc.
I’m Liz Scully, I’m Irish but have been living in London for so long I’d say I’m a Londoner. I first moved to India in 2008, spent a year here and loved it so much I jumped at the chance to come back for much longer in 2011.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I’ve been blogging about 6 months – I wanted to share my love of Indian English and its quirks compared to Standard English
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Tell us about the ways your new life in India differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Actually my father lived in Pakistan when I was young so I was really aware of the sort of things I’d come up against. I knew that getting basic things like broadband and electric set up would be a complete pain and that no matter how many times people told me ‘no problem, madam’… that there would be many problems.
Not that knowing something is going to happen stops it from being annoying – and frankly in India, who hasn’t found themselves shouting incoherent angry noises at an airtel employee?
So no culture shock for me – I love it here and knew what I was coming to – so quite the reverse, culture joy perhaps?
And my life is different in that I have a much better life here than in London – a huge flat, a staff to look after me (and the knowledge that it’s a social responsibility to keep those people employed). I have a driver, a maid, I don’t food shop for myself, I don’t do the ironing, the fridge is always full of lovely food… sigh, it’s lovely.
I find the biggest shock for me is going back to London and having to get the tube. Just what are all those people doing in my carriage?!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in India? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
When I last lived in India, I was living in a sleepy little place in the south of Kerala, I assumed I wouldn’t be able to get many things I require as basic. So when I shipped out all my things I included lots of stuff I thought would be hard to get… not realizing that in Bangalore there are so many foreigners, you can get almost everything you might want. At a price of course.
But I would have probably brought fewer things with me actually, not more.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Er, that would be what my blog is about…
Try this one about the security lady in the ladies queue at the airport
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in India?
- Visit before you move out here
- Bring your own towels – local ones are rubbish
- Bring a huge box of deodorants – this is the country anti perspirant forgot
How is the expat community in India? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I love that fact that as an expat you can bounce up to anyone who obviously isn’t a local and become friends pretty much by saying ‘hello, you’re foreign too – shall we be friends’. It’s the way tiny children at kindergarten make friends – and it’s lovely to realize it works as an adult. It probably works anywhere, but you just don’t think to do it unless you’re far from home. So I find the expat community supportive and kind and welcoming to visitors.
How would you summarize your expat life in India in a single, catchy sentence?
I am constantly amused, bemused, charmed and exasperated by India – often all at the same time.