My decision to move to India was made somewhat on a whim. I was working at a nonprofit in Boston, where I was content (other than the Boston winters) until we parted ways abruptly in June. Though I missed my coworkers, it didn’t take me long (seriously…about a day) to realize that I had an amazing opportunity to do whatever I wanted to do and go wherever I wanted to go. My lease was up in August and I needed to move so the landlord could renovate, and with no job tying me to the city I was free. I opened up Google maps to look at the possibilities across the globe, and immediately remembered how much I have always wanted to travel to India but have never quite made it. Due to my impulsive nature, I always require myself to wait one week when making big decisions (like buying a one-way ticket to India) and if at the end of the week, I still feel the same way, I am good to pull out the Visa. My India decision withstood the week-long test, and on the 8th day I purchased my one-way ticket to Bangalore while drinking coffee in my best friend’s kitchen in Pennsylvania.
It was the best decision I could have possibly made. First and foremost, the food is fantastic – which might be the most important element for me. Other than a few overly opportunistic vendors and rickshaw drivers who are always trying to overcharge me, everyone is quite friendly and helpful without being overly so. The climate is great – no more harsh winters! Bangalore is particularly great because it has all of the conveniences of a large, modern city without all of the tourists. It is known as the Silicon Valley of India and home to their tech boom, but generally gets missed on the tourist circuit. Yes, as a white girl with brown hair and blue eyes this means that I get stared at a lot, but its pretty mild.
I love being in a place where I can walk everywhere I need but call an Uber/hop in a rickshaw if I choose. Almost all of the shopping I need to do can be done from the sidewalk. Pyramids of fruits and vegetables piled on blankets, food trucks (I suppose food carts is a more accurate term here), shoes, clothes and jewelry line the roads. I can still order takeout from my phone and have it delivered to my apartment, or I can go out to eat, or sometimes I even cook. Especially in public, eating with your fingers the norm. I’m still working on mastering this one…have you ever tried eating rice with your fingers? A little tricky.
Everywhere you look is filled with colors. Buildings are painted vibrant colors and women are draped in beautiful saris. There are glossy fruits on every corner and brightly colored flowers line sidewalks, building awnings and braids of hair. The colors accentuate the intricate architecture, particularly of the temples and mosques. Hand-carved decorations adorn most doors and entryways and are quite impressive. Women even cover themselves in artwork by getting mehndi tattoos across their hands, arms, legs and feet. Even the characters of the Kannada alphabet look like artwork.
Living here, I can be completely immersed in another culture with a foreign language and a completely different alphabet, but am still able to speak English if I need to. It’s pretty awesome. So to all of those people who were slightly stressed by my impulsivity, particularly you folks in Central PA, you can relax. I love it. Even if it is hard to find good coffee.
Here are some of my favorite photos since arriving in Bangalore. And if you’re reading this, wondering if you should move to India…DO IT!
Water lily in bloom after some rain in Coorg
view from the main lobby at Honey Valley in Coorg (all of the greenery between the trees in the distance is coffee!)
Seems appropriate as we move into October. Not sure what type of bird these were, but I like the photo.
Ganesha idol with offerings for Ganesh Chatchurthi holiday (Sept 17th)
Sweets and breath fresheners at a local bazaar
Ceiling of a local bar. Pretty cool!
I spy with my little eye…a white girl in a tree??
View on top of the ridge in Coorg
I ❤ solar
My new favorite plant. How cool is this??
Ganesha idols on sale for the holiday
Fruit market – so many colors!
Selling flowers in the market. The flowers are strung together and sold by the arm-length as decorations.
View of the KR Market from above. Largest flower market in Asia! The market opens around 4am daily to sell tons of flowers to the good people of Bangalore
View from my office. Not too shabby.
Guavas for sale!
Selling some flowers on the sidewalk
My first mehndi tattoo!