I moved to
Mumbai, India in 2013.
Before that I lived in
Jakarta/Indonesia, Northern Virginia, Okinawa/Japan, Dakar/Senegal, Tokyo/Japan, LA/California, Singapore.
The reason for moving here was
My husband’s job assignment.
If I were to describe my current city in one word, that would be
Fascinating! Indians are very passionate people. They celebrate their holidays with enthusiasm while demonstrating their pride, respect, loyalty, rituals and art.
The first thing a new expat needs to know when moving here is
Life in Mumbai for expats can be quite expensive.
The language issue
English is widely spoken. However, there are times you feel that you can’t communicate well with some locals in English.
Since I moved here I stopped
cooking because we can afford to employ a wonderful help who can cook well. Instead, I get to spend more quality time with my children.
Since I moved here the new thing I started doing is
Instagram. It’s unrelated to the move, but I finally gave in to Instagram and now I’m hooked.
My biggest lesson learnt was
I thought that my stomach was trained in Dakar, Senegal. I was proved wrong. Brushing my teeth with tap water in Jakarta, Indonesia gave me a lesson.
Some weird habits at the locals
I can’t think of any weird habits. On a related note, I love seeing local people talk with their head bobble. I find it quite charming.
My biggest cultural shock was
My biggest culture shock I experienced was the reverse culture shock during the visit in my hometown, Tokyo, 6 months ago. I was frustrated and disappointed by the realization that Japan had not changed much since the time I had left many years ago. I expected Japan to have become more international and diverse. It felt like it hadn’t and that surprised me a bit.
My funniest / weirdest / scariest experience was
I was mugged on a street of Dakar, Senegal while I was walking with my friend at night. I was 7 months pregnant with my first child over 10 years ago. Two men on a motorcycle came behind me and grabbed my purse. I was thrown to the ground and rolled with a big belly.
I got trapped in the middle of a student demonstration in Dakar when I was driving. I had my friend in a passenger seat and my first daughter as a baby in the back seat. Students started throwing rocks at police, but because I was right there, too, rocks were coming my way as well and one rock hit my bumper.
What I miss the most from home is
Stable, fast and inexpensive internet access
Whenever I get home sick, what I miss is
I don’t get the same home sick as I did when I was younger as long as I am with my husband and kids, but I do think of my family in Japan all the time and miss the amazing shopping in Tokyo and the U.S.
I go home as often as
Once a year during the summer
I keep in contact with my friends and family
Email and Skype
My favorite dish/local food is
Masala Dosa (It’s like Indian crepe made of rice flour), Pani Puri (thin fried crust with filling and sweet sauce), Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer
My favorite places in town are
South Mumbai where the old colonial architecture and buildings can be seen. It’s beautiful! I need more exploring in the south to do.
I get around the city by
Our car. If not, a taxi or rickshaw. Rickshaws are fun!
I’ve never been to a city with fashion trends as mixed and diverse as in Mumbai. There are women in a traditional sari, an Indian kurti (long tunic) with leggings and a scarf, and a western clothing.
My view on people:
Mumbaikars seem quiet to me. When I see local people interact, I find their gestures sweetly comical.
Being an expat
There are many benefits in pursuing an expat life especially with an expatriate package provided by a sponsored company/organization. There is so much to see and learn in the world. I feel very humble to see different lifestyles and learn different cultural values. At home away from home I try to create our family life with children as close to how it is like back in our home country.
In 5 years, I see myself living in
It could be anywhere, but I imagine that we’d either be in the U.S. or somewhere in Asia. Maybe.