other)? Expat Wife
current post: colorful, chaotic, and HOT!
Jaipur is the fact that I am constantly being forced outside of my comfort
zone. It has allowed me to appreciate and view life from a different
perspective. It has also truly inspired me. Despite all the negative press in
the news about India, there are so many people here who are doing good. I have
met people who devote their entire lives to helping the underprivileged, and
that’s pretty amazing.
weekend in Jaipur, what does the weekend look like?
When my in-laws came to visit us,
it was important to us that we were showing them what our daily life is like
here. Even visiting the grocery store can be quite an adventure. My husband
Matt and I took our family to visit places like his work and the school I
volunteer at. Our new daily routines look quite different than in the United
favorite restaurants. I had never eaten Indian food before coming here, but I
love it, and I enjoy sharing my favorite dishes with others.
Since Matt and I had already
visited the touristy spots in Jaipur, and since we were both still working
while his family was here, we sent them off on their own for some sight-seeing.
I think this was actually important, because if you’re going to truly
experience the chaos of India, you need to be thrown into it without someone
there to hold your hand.
from the delicious dishes it has to offer. Most people are worried it will be
too spicy, but “spicy” doesn’t have the same connotation it may mean in
other countries. Usually it implies that the food is heavily spiced with
delicious ingredients. My favorites are butter chicken or chicken tikka masala,
and garlic naan. Yum!
learning about the culture or things to do/experience while you’re at your post
my go-to person for anything related to the Indian culture. He has taken us to
different festivals and historical sights, and is often our tour guide.
the experience of other expats or locals to give suggestions on things to do. I
use the website www.indiamike.com, as well
as tripadvisor. It’s important to get a foreigners perspective on a restaurant
to ensure the hygiene is up to par.
have a great iPhone app and it allows you to see restaurant menus along with
reviews and directions. It’s great if you’re like me, and love to browse the
menus before deciding on a restaurant.
everything is done differently than I am used to in the United States. I’ve had
to work hard to adjust my mindset to understand that just because something is
done different, doesn’t mean it’s done wrong.
was the first week we were here, setting up our apartment. I was waiting for
our mattresses to be delivered, and I was expecting a delivery truck. I was
quite surprised when a man pulled up on his bicycle rickshaw carrying our two
my favorite adventures in Jaipur has been riding an elephant. We rode one to
the top of Amer Fort inside the Pink City. It was surprisingly uncomfortable,
but a once in a lifetime adventure!
The first time I really grasped how far I was
from home was when I had to use an Indian toilet, or a “squatty
potty.” This is something that requires a great deal of flexibility and
balance, both of which I do not possess.
about re-creating your home at post?
India can be an overwhelming
place. With crowds of people and blaring horns, I don’t get much privacy or
peace and quiet. It is very important to me that my apartment is a place that
is calm and private. One way I have attempted to do this was by planting
several dozen plants along the hallway of my apartment, as well as in my
balcony. This is something that all the residents in my complex do, but having
plants that I take care of (despite my lacking green thumb) allows me to have
some control over my environment.
without at post?
live without but have had to?
largely vegetarian country, and the only meat options are usually chicken,
prawns, and mutton. I am not a big fan of mutton, and I am seriously sick of
chicken! Eating a big fat cheeseburger is on my to do list when I visit the
ever gave you about the diplomatic or expat life?
about expat life, is that if I try to fight all the daily challenges, I will
quickly be defeated. Even though everything takes longer and daily life can be
very frustrating, I have to accept it and go with the flow in order to not
drown or burn out.
wardrobe is still something I struggle with even a year later. It is important
to me that I am abiding by the cultural standards, so I never wear shorts and
usually have my legs almost completely covered. However, it is excruciatingly
hot here so I need to also make sure I am comfortable. I usually spend most
days in my gym clothes – a t-shirt and spandex capris. It’s not the most
glamorous, but I’d rather be comfortable and not draw any unnecessary attention
Saturday night, what’s on the menu?
tops are so short that my husband sits in a chair to wash the dishes!) and
there’s not air conditioning in there, I usually try to cook something that is
quick and also is a comfort of home. My current specialties are pasta with
chicken meatballs and homemade sauce, or my version of tacos. There are many
ingredients I cannot find here because Jaipur is much less modern than other
Indian cities. Sometimes I substitute cannellini beans for refried beans, and
an Indian yogurt called Dahi for sour cream. I’ve learned to get creative!
anywhere in Europe, but I’d especially love France. I think I would enjoy the
fact that I would have access to so many nearby countries just a short train
ride away. I could also eat crepes to my heart’s content.
told you before arriving?
I wish someone had told me how difficult
it would be to put my career on hold. Previously being a full time elementary
teacher is one of the most important things that defined who I am. I went from
working every day to volunteering part time, and it is something I am still
that is completely overwhelming to the senses – it is very loud, very hot, and
very crowded. However, it is a place that is truly like nowhere else in the
world. I hope people can visit to gain a new perspective on life.
are three of your favorite posts on your own blog?