A passage to India
So you want to move to Delhi, India? So did we!
As soon as I learned of our upcoming move, I hit the internet and scoured every blog, website, article I could get my hands on. While it was smart to research beforehand, nothing could quite prepare me to actually landing in this crazy country!
India is a country of diverse beauty, vast cultural differences and amazing opportunities to grow and learn as an individual.
Delhi boasts a population of nearly 12 million people, which is staggering when you consider that the size of the city is just short of 1,500 kilometers!
When we first arrived, we were literally overwhelmed when all five of our senses were assaulted by the heat, smells, visual stimulation with the cows roaming the streets and the vivid colors of the women dressed in gorgeous colors, constant honking of horns, strangeness of the flavors we were tasting and the new things to experience and adjust to.
I have explored this city from all four corners (though I will never consider myself an expert) and have thoroughly enjoyed the tours of various temples, historical sites, forts and communities. After visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra, I have to admit that while very beautiful, I enjoyed places such right here in Delhi (such as Lodhi Gardens, Humayans Tomb and others) much more and found them to be more exciting than the Taj!
Delhi boasts a HUGE group of expatriates. There are even subgroups for nearly each major nationality that get together on a regular basis for events, activities and to provide support. Moving here with children – while there are challenges – is made simpler because of this large network of people who have “been there, done that”.
To truly write about living in Delhi though, I must also share that the downside to relocating as an expat to this city is the noise, pollution and the grime. I’ve talked with so many expat lifers (where Delhi is their 8th, 15th or 22nd posting) that claim Delhi is by far the hardest to adjust to. Having a large group of fellow expats to share your experience with is such a help.
If I could give only ONE piece of advice to another expat – whether you’re about to start your first assignment overseas, or you’ve been doing it for years – I would strongly encourage you to listen, seek out help and pay it forward.
Listening is an art that is sadly becoming non-existent amongst expats as we all have our own triumphs, struggles and stories to share. Often times, we lose sight of the fact that the person we’ve engaged in conversation may have a load on their shoulders, and just need a listening ear.
Seeking out help is a gift you can only give yourself. Whether you live in a country where household help is the norm, or in a city where it is impossible to find the local grocery based on the instructions from the man on the corner, swallow your pride and reach out for help.
Paying it forward is a simple concept, and just as simple to enact. Before I moved, I struck up several conversations via email with women who had “lived the life”. They provided me with a relaxed ease about our upcoming move, provided me with lists of what TO bring, what to leave behind, and gave me a tutorial about what to expect. Because I acknowledge their support and advice, I pledged to pay it forward and try to at least help ONE new expat moving to Delhi. Blogging is the easiest way to put myself out there, and establish contact for newbies arriving on the scene.
Now that we’ve lived here for a year, I can safely say that we are enjoying our time in Delhi. Our kids are happy, I have found more than enough to keep me busy, including volunteering with the American Womens Association, founding a t-shirts –for-charity group with some friends, and exploring this city.
I provide answers to some of the more common questions about Delhi in a Questions and Answers segment and also in a section devoted to questions/answers about India.
About the author
Naomi is married with three children. After living in several states in the USA, her family recently relocated to Delhi, India for an unspecified amount of time. She enjoys making an impact even if it’s only in a small corner of her world.
She keeps two blogs, Delhi Bound about life in India and A peek… a blog about one of Naomi’s passions- cooking, budgeting and healthy living. You can follow Naomi on Twitter - @gemgem76