India is vast and a fast developing country in South Asia. The vast size means that it has a varied climate ranging from tropical to temperate however, generally speaking, the climate is tropical. For a visiting expat or tourist the country holds a lot promise be it in terms of beautiful locales like the mountains of Kashmir, the Thar Desert in the west or the beaches in the south or the buzzing business and IT hub like Mumbai and Bangalore. [Read more...]
I always thought culture shock was something invented by anthropologists with too much time on their hands until I moved to Japan. Then, I discovered quickly that it is definitely real, and it will mess with your mind completely. Even though I was so gung-ho about moving to Japan and I had a solid support network of friends and family, it still freaked me out. [Read more...]
Moving to Japan was the most utterly confusing experience of my life. Everything was too small and the people didn’t welcome me with open arms like I thought they would. All my efforts at studying Japanese were worthless when I encountered the real language that was spoken daily by human beings. I was here but I felt distinctly outside of everything with no way in.
On March 11th at 2:46pm, everything began to shake. Within ten seconds it grew from a slight swaying to a full-scale earthquake with floors shifting, walls creaking and things flying off the shelves. Even though more than 200 miles from the epicenter, I could hardly walk through my apartment and navigate down the stairs to the parking lot below. [Read more...]
Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa where an ‘extreme’ winter involves frost on the grass and a maximum temperature that dares to dip into the lower double digits (Celsius), I’ve always been attracted to the snowy wastelands of northern climes. Snow was a novelty, a white Christmas something only seen in the movies and 4 hours of sunlight a day ludicrous and inconceivable. [Read more...]
With the current world economic crisis, as an budding ‘expat’ my initial advice is that, unless you’ve a specialist skill or profession in great demand, you know how to grow soya in Antarctica or you’ve got the answers to the world banking crisis, forget it!
No, sorry, I’ve just remembered one possibility for all of you who speak English as a mother tongue (or as a good second)……. teaching English.
”Can’t stand this cold”. ”Can’t stand this heat”. ”Can’t make enough money”. ”Can’t study the course I want”. ”Can’t stand this government”.
Whether you’re an Ahmed, a John, an Imran, a Li or a Vladamir, millions of us have left their home country to set up a new life abroad. We’ve all got our own reasons and we’ll all have our own experiences to share; some good, some bad, some funny, some tragic. We’re all in the ‘expat’ club but always take with us a little of our home culture which hopefully we can share with our new ‘foreign’ friends as well as learning to enjoy their’s.
I’ve lived most of my life as an ‘expat’, the majority of that time in Spain, that eternal haven for the well (and not so well) off who flock here every year, mostly from the frozen climes of Northern Europe, seeking paradise in the sun.
One part of the Spanish lifestyle which is almost unknown in more temperate zones is the ‘siesta’, the idea of shutting up the shop, factory, office or whatever and (sometimes) going off to sleep. At first it can be irritating but you’ll soon get used to it and even enjoy it.
Truthfully, most Spaniards have little more than a nap after a long, leisurely and often wine-accompanied lunch, sometimes with ‘mama y papa y todo la familia), sometimes with a sandwich in the park, sometimes with a six course banquet!