Thursday, 5 June 2014

How to settle in to your adopted country?

- So, how did you settle really? she asks me via email, the woman who is now physically still in Europe, but mentally exactly where I was 2 years ago. She is preparing to leave her comfort zone behind - and move with her family across the world - to Mumbai, India..

And she is doing exactly what I was doing: searching, digging, scrolling, scanning and absorbing every bit of information she can find, in order to be as prepared as possible when they will move in a couple of months. 

I did that too. But even arriving like a bursting India - encyclopedia could not have prepared me for that first meeting with our new adopted country, India. 

Now, we have lived in Mumbai for almost 2 years, and I am the one being happy to share advice to prospective Mumbai expats. Recently I was asked by HiFX to contribute to their making transitions for expats easier - campaign and also add my experience to their Advice from Expat Experts - site. I did. 

So, how to settle in your new adopted country? Well, I can only talk for myself, and these are a few things that made the adjustments easier for me: 

1. Go with the flow: accept the fact that things are not the same as back home. Sometimes you have to let it go, and make the best of it. Try to focus on what you do like, and not to get stuck on what you don't like

2. Nurture your curious side and be open to get to know your new country; religion, language, culture, history, food... Think of it as a new and exciting world - just waiting to be explored by you!

3. Be open to new friendships, and do not fear putting yourself out there. Most expats are like you - far away from family and friends. For me, the network of new friends - both locals and expats - has meant the world!
 
4. Ask for help and advice from locals and other expats. Most are happy to share their experience, and a lot of useful knowledge is spread by word. The best way to get the best tips - is to ask around, I think.  

5. Accept that you will have some blue Mondays.. It's ok to curl up and just treasure the memories of your old life once in a while...just don't get stuck back there.. Enjoy your moment, live here and now - and make the most of your adventure. 

 Related posts you may also like and find useful: 
- How to spot a Mumbai expat - 7 signs to look for. - A friendly warning to people back home
- Our first 6 months in Mumbai - The different expat transition phases you might find yourself in
- Our first year in Mumbai - From complete chaos to weddings and summer parties..


So, dear reader: Have you done it? Settled in a new country? How was it for you? Please share your own experiences from moving, adapting and settling....

And PS: Yay! My "followers" - gadget finally seems to work!

Have a great evening:-) 

Ta ta from Mumbai!


28 comments:

  1. An amazing post Eli. It holds true for any country and we must ready to be open about each other's culture and make friends. It matters:)

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    1. Thank you Vishal! Yes, this applies for anyone anywhere I think also:-)

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  2. I enjoyed this post! I've never moved to a new country, but a couple of years ago my husband and I left family and friends behind and moved all the way across the country (Canada) to another province, so I have a tiny taste of what it's like to leave behind all that's familiar. Surprisingly enough, there are small "culture shocks" involved even just in moving within your own country!

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    1. Absolutely Laurel - any move can bring small culture shocks..:-) So happy you enjoyed - thanks for sharing:-)

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  3. Great tips Eli. And they stand good not just for expats but for anyone who has even moved cities. For me as well, when I moved to Mumbai it took me these and more to get settled in my new home.

    Lovely post :)

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    1. Yes, I so agree:-) So happy you liked it dear Kajal:-)

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  4. Interesting read. These are practical tips which can be adapted no matter where you are.
    Your love for your new home 'Mumbai' comes through naturally in this post too just like many of your previous posts.

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    1. Absolutely:-) Thanks for your kind words Vinodini:-)

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  5. Amazing post, Eli... Good tips too :)

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  6. Some very good tips there, Eli! I think the advice on focusing on what you do like instead of what you don't is an excellent one. I moved to US in Dec 1992 and lived there (studied, worked, lived) till July 2007. So I have some experience - in the opposite direction - of what it's like to make another country and culture your home (esp when it is so different from what you are used to). I cherish my memories of living/working/studying there, and made some real good life-long friends. I felt a strange pang in the heart when I was moving back to India....like leaving my home in a way (well, I was also leaving my husband behind who moved back a few months later after selling the house etc etc...) But it is strange, that new country does become "home" if we allow it to. My best years in the US however were when I was a PhD student - loved the university town, loved everything about the experience :) Ok, this comment is becoming a post in itself. But your post inspired me to share all this. Very good post, Eli, as always :) Hugs.

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    1. Aaahh, dear Beloo, - so happy you got inspired to share your own experiences - so enjoy to read about it! All so true - it becomes "home"... Thank you for your kind words:-) Big hugs back to you

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  7. Good tips, Eli. Glad to see you well settled in the country :)

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    1. Thank you so much dear Shailaja:-)

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  8. Great tips there, dear Eli. :) And they apply for travelers as well. When we travel, we are moving, albeit temporarily and sometimes, may be unconsciously, develop a fear of the unknown. Curiosity to open yourself up to a whole new world and new people is a great way to begin. I agree with all your points. After all, a positive mindset and a loving soul helps attract the right people in our life making it a happy one for us. No wonder, you have loved your new adopted city so much, Eli. :)

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    1. Oh Arti... Thank you for sharing your thoughts... I so agree:-) Makes me very happy. Big hugs to you dear friend

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  9. Dearest Eli,
    Congrats to your working following gadget and I'm your new 'mature' # 21!
    Yes, we made that transition several time. First to the South of the USA which was not easy. Getting used to the language, the southern drawl, the supermarkets and trying to find your ingredients. That was very hard but indeed, meeting other expats proves invaluable and you get the best hints where to find certain things. We also became members of a Dutch club in Atlanta, meeting a few times per year and exchanging tips and knowledge. They have a monthly newsletter too, full with tips and advice. Our best help was a former, older neighbor from husband Pieter that had immigrated in the early 50s to Canada and on to the USA. She KNEW a lot and has helped me tremendously. Like a second Mom to me. She passed away in January last year...
    Moving to Italy was again quite an experience but if you work, through colleagues you already have contacts enough and this at least was within Europe and we could drive home by car in about 12 hours!
    Next move to Indonesia was quite a difference, language and culture wise. Food was heaven and also the fresh fruits and so many fun places to explore. Jakarta's huge and luxurious shopping malls can win from most here in the USA. Most people don't realize that but there is like in Mumbai, such a huge variation of wealth level. From very poor to extremely wealthy... In countries with such high tax rates like Sweden or The Netherlands, nobody needs to ever live like that...
    Working in India was an experience, even though we did not actually live there but we stayed in a home, high in the mountains, as well as in luxurious hotels. I even have been to the emergency room of the hospital because I had breathing problems due to an acute bronchitis that was more asthma like. All that gives you such a valuable insight into life. We have been invited to dinner at the home of our management people, eating the local food which always was yummy!
    It is a treasure and the very best for making this transition; you do finally manage to blossom up yourself! Otherwise you continue leaning onto Parents, siblings and close friends; your safety net. Now it's YOU in complete new surroundings and you have to open up, mature, blossom up and become the best you ever can be.
    On a rainy day, curling up and watching old photos can make you feel blue but that happens also if you stay put the entire life. Guess even more so!
    Hugs to you,
    Mariette

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    1. Oh dear Mariette. Thank you so much for sharing your stories of transition. I loved reading all of it- you have such an exiting life living some exiting countries- and wonderful experiences.... I love what you say: Now it's YOU in complete new surroundings and you have to open up, mature, blossom up and become the best you ever can be. Big hugs to you dear, and thank you again for sharing. Always so happy to see you kind words here:-)

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  10. I can't imagine moving to a new country, but I have moved to a new city before and your advice still rang true. Enjoyed your post very much! ♥

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    1. Absolutely, Kathy:-) So happy you enjoyed the post:-)

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  11. Such excellent advice, Eli! I thought I was prepared, but in reality I was so naive and clueless when I moved to Norway 7 years ago -- it helped that my Norwegian husband could "clear the way" for my adjustment, but tips such as yours would have been so helpful. You've done a real service by putting them out there for other expats-to-be!

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    1. Aaww, thank you so much dear Cindi. Happy your Norwegian husband cleared the way a bit for you:-) So happy for your kind words:-)

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  12. Great tips Eli. When I moved to New Zealand from Mumbai 26 years ago, it all looked so strange - was a real culture shock for me. But focussing on the things you like is really the key. Nice post.

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    1. Thank you Suzy, happy you liked it:-) And happy your share your experiences:-)

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  13. Eli, You are always so spot on with your advice. Accept and make friends...the way to make it as an expat. I have found my friends I've made overseas are the most dear! (http://www.reflectionsenroute.com)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Corinne:-) Hugs

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  14. This should really help someone thinking of moving into India, Eli. It is good that you have thought about many others and put the points together...Great one.

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    1. Thank you so much Jayanta - so happy for your kind words:-)

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