Expat Interview With Cynthia - US Expat Living in India

Published: 17 May at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,India
Cynthia is a White Indian Grandmother that recently moved to India. She grew up in Small Town America in the home that her Great grandfather built. That instilled an appreciation of her American roots and love of Country. The blood of Roger Williams, defender of religious freedom and founder of Rhode Island, Jonathan Alder, pioneer captured and raised by the Shawnee Indians, Stephen Foster, the Father of American music and William Travis, commander of the Alamo run through her veins. She married, raised a family and prospered. She achieved the American Dream. That dream is no longer as possible for her grandchildren. Her country is morally and economically in decline. Her retirement investments have lost half their value. She and her husband, born in India, have decided to outsource their retirement to India. Her husband stated, “We are going home.” She has never visited to India. The India that she knows comes from the memories and stories that her husband tells of forty years ago and from Indian movies that she has seen. Can she live happily there? What will she find? Can she make the transition to her husband's customs and culture? Will her husband’s family accept her, a previously married White woman? Can she do without the convinces that she now takes for granted? Will she want to stay? She does know it will be one great adventure, an adventure that she has just begun. Cynthia's expat blog is called White Indian Grandmother (see listing here)

Meet Cynthia - US expat in India
Meet Cynthia - US expat in India

Here's the interview with Cynthia...

Where are you originally from?
I was born in a small town, Flagler, Colorado, USA . Population 600. I moved to Lakeland, Florida for college, married and raised a family there. I moved to Cookeville, Tennessee four years ago never dreaming my husband and I would retire in India.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am now living in Bhowali, Uttarakhand, India

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I have been in India Since January 20,2013 and in Bhowali for a month and a half.

Why did you move and what do you do?
We left the United States to explore the idea of outsourcing our retirement to India. I am a retired Registered Nurse. Since being in India I am enjoying meeting the local people and experiencing India’s rich culture.

Did you bring family with you?
My Indian husband and two dogs made the move with me.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I am surprised. For me, the transition has been fairly easy. My husband has been a tremendous help. I knew beforehand what to expect. It has been a bit harder for him. India has changed in the past 40 years. When he was growing up, there were no plastisc being used. Now there is garbage everywhere. With the use of disposable diapers this will become only worse. India is becoming more Westernized and not in a good way. . It’s hard seeing our grandchildren becoming fast food addicts. He is sad seeing the influence of Western TV and Bollywood on the younger generation.

My Grand daughter, Kinni's Birthday
My Grand daughter, Kinni's Birthday
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialize with other expats?
It has been extremely easy to meet people. The people of India are the most friendly and helpful people on earth. We are blessed to have family here. Our friendship circle has widened through them. Our two dogs also have made starting friendships easier. I have been invited to lunch and informed I must bring Nanhki, our Toy Fox Terrier. That was a surprise for us. In my husband’s time of growing up, dogs were not welcome in the house. Now, here as in America, they are a part of the family. I have not had the opportunity to meet any expats.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
If you are a nature lover, then this is the area for you. There are several lakes near here with boat rides available. There are many places to enjoy a walk. I enjoy what I call “monkey entertainment” from my balcony. If you want to get out and enjoy nature, then this is the place.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
Bhowali has a population of about 25,000 and is located in the foothills of the Himalayan range. The weather is cool in the summer. The area is beautiful and is a cross roads to other hill stations in the area. There are several lakes near as well as breathtaking views of the snow capped Himalayas nearby. There are also many temples in the area. If you are looking for a laid back peaceful life, this is the place. I especially enjoy the fruit and vegetable markets that are here in Bhowali and nearby Nainital. The Indian people are the friendliest on earth. I have been made to feel welcome everywhere I have been.

Bahurani Purnima, Cynthia, visiting Jaya who is holding Nanhki
Bahurani Purnima, Cynthia, visiting Jaya who is holding Nanhki
How does the cost of living compare to home?
For us the cost of living is very inexpensive here. We are very comfortable and manage well on $1000.00-$1500.00 USD per month. That includes our housekeeper/cook and monthly rent as well as everyday expenses. Keep in mind we are vegetarian. Medical care is good and inexpensive. Medications are cheap.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
If you like a lively city and nightlife this is probably not the place for you. Personally for me there are no negatives. This is the life we are looking for. As anywhere in India things don’t always work well. Electricity comes and goes. Not for long however. The roads are narrow and bumpy in places. There are no large supermarkets. For me this is not a Necessity, I enjoy the colorful local markets where the local produce is fresh.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Pack a lot of patience, go with the flow and get out and enjoy the culture and wonderfulplaces and tastes of India

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Not knowing Hindi.

My husband loves speaking Hindi after being gone for 40 years. He sometimes forgets I don’t’ have a clue. I am finding it difficult to pick up Hindi. English is widely spoken.

Playing Uno with Bahurani Purnima, grandchildren and Nanhki
Playing Uno with Bahurani Purnima, grandchildren and Nanhki
When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Right now we have no plan to go back to the States on a permanent basis. We will visit for 2-3 months every year to visit family and check on our rental properties there.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Do your research. Read everything you can get your hands on before you come.
  2. Bring washcloths, Q tips and hairspray. I can’t find any here.
  3. Leave your Western clothing at home. Dress as locals dress. You will be respected.
  4. Go with the flow and expect that things don’t always work well.
  5. Get out and meet the locals. Bargain in the markets. It’s expected and fun.

Buying vegetables at the Bhowali Market
Buying vegetables at the Bhowali Market
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is about why we decided to retire in India, our journey here, my thoughts and surprises we encounter with our daily IndiaLiving. It's also a good way for me to keep up with our family and friends back in the States.

Cynthia blogs at http://whiteindiangrandmother.blogspot.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. White Indian Grandmother has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Cynthia, please also drop her a quick comment below.

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Comments » There are 3 comments

Letizia Wherry wrote 9 years ago:

I know Cindy and her husband. I had the privilege of working with Cindy as a fellow nurse. India could not have received a more wonderful, generous and kind couple. Great is our loss here in the states for them leaving. I really enjoyed the article and following her life's journey. I am learning so much about the beauty of India and her people through their eyes. I love the articles and the pictures. Job well done on this article.

Alex wrote 9 years ago:

Cynthia I must say, you and your husband took a radical decision to spend rest of your lives in India, leaving behind the comforts and easy life of United States far behind. Though it is nice to know that you are living on the foothills of beautiful Himalyas and from your description,it seems to be nice place, green and lots of lakes. Wishing you luck and a very happy stay.

Marilyn Barker wrote 8 years ago:

I'll be visiting Chennai in October. Can't wait to get there but so curious as what to expect. Would like to see the beaches but understand that swimming is not encouraged. Looking forward to the food....restaurants?....MARKETS? any suggestions? I'm from USA, Northport, NY. Would like to share my experience with locals who enjoy visitors from USA.

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