British Expat Living in India - Interview with Lauren

Published: 9 Jun at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,India
Lauren quit her career as a pharmacist in England and followed her heart to India where she now lives with her husband (and in-laws). This love story started online, a chance encounter on a vegetarian forum. The fact they were on other sides of the globe and had never met didn't stop them getting married only a couple of months later. Lauren has now been catapulted from living in her own flat and working for a large pharmacy chain in England to life as a housewife living in a joint family in India. Lauren now blogs about her life in India, embracing the rich culture and struggling to overcome the culture shocks. Lauren's expat blog is called English Wife, Indian Life (see listing here)

My husband and I
My husband and I

Here's the interview with Lauren...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Bath, England. Probably one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am now living in India, the mystical land of contrast. I love it here but unfortunately, it's not always lotuses and marigold.

How long have you lived in India and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived here since December 2013 and I plan to live here forever. Saying that,I am sure that in twenty or even fifty year's time, children are still going to shout 'foreigner!' at me.

Why did you move to India and what do you do?
One simply reason, LOVE. My husband is Indian and I now live in a joint family, with my in-laws (the common thing to do in India after marriage).

I am officially a 'housewife' but who knows what the future hold.

Did you bring family with you?
No, but I have a family here now and hoping to increase the numbers soon!

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I find the language barrier has been the most deflating and isolating factor, especially as the people I live with struggle with English. I don't know what is going on a lot of the time, when everyone else is laughing- I am clueless

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
The city I live, Nagpur, doesn't have many foreign faces but I have managed to find another English lady married to an Indian. I think it is important to be able to socialise with other expats if you move to a foreign land, a small piece of home.

The temple where we were married
The temple where we were married
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I love visiting temples and historic sites. India is such an interesting and vibrant place.

What do you enjoy most about living in India?
I love being with my husband, having a marriage which had continents between it was extremely difficult.

How does the cost of living in India compare to home?
I still get so surprised when I hear how cheap things are here in India. My husband and I can have a three course meal in a beautiful restaurant and the bill comes to only 6pounds!!

Fresh coconut water
Fresh coconut water
What negatives, if any, are there to living in India?
Isolation and lack of privacy. Living with my in-laws and having two maids means I can never cook in the kitchen alone, eat a meal with just my husband or even sit and watch the t.v. alone. I love my own company so this has been difficult.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to India, what would it be?
Try and learn some Hindi first (or the language spoken in the part of India you will be living), it feels horrible to be lost in translation.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
I miss my family and friends a lot, I also feel a uncomfortable sometimes as foreigners get often get a lot of unwanted attention in India.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I will only ever visit England, I am planning to be a life-long expat. But I am certain I will be hot footing it to the closest supermarket and buying cheddar cheese and Branston pickle.

My neighbour
My neighbour
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Try to learn the local language before you get here, while many people can understand English, it is always useful to know what people are saying about you. It will also be really really appreciated!
  2. Be prepared for people looking at you and tell you that you are a foreigner. I like to look down at myself in shock when people shout it at me, as if I didn't know I was a foreigner already.
  3. Remember that the Indian definition of personal space is walking into your bedroom without knocking... so no walking around in your underwear without locking the door. Also, do not be surprised if people ask very personal questions i.e. your salary and your medical history.
  4. Take advantage of the beautiful fashion!
  5. Try not to get bitten by mosquitoes, I had an awful first couple of weeks with hundreds of bites. Pack your DEET until you learn how to avoid the bites. My advice, sleep with your ceiling fan on and don't eat outside at night.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I write about Indian culture, Hinduism, Hindu marriage, my love for my husband, healing from anxiety disorder and adjusting to Indian life as a foreign wife. I also try to take as many photographs as I can.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Contact me via my blog if you have any questions, happy to help!!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingLauren is a British expat living in India. Blog description: The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences of Indian life, love and marriage. I hope documenting my journey can provide inspiration and information to those who are also in cross cultural relationships, anyone considering visiting/living in India and readers who are simply curious to see how an English wife adapts to an Indian life.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Dr. Taher Y Kagalwala wrote 8 years ago:

Welcome to India, Lauren. I do hope you will gradually adjust with the language, people, in-laws, etc. If you do happen to visit Mumbai, do not miss the Golden Pagoda and the Mahalaxmi temple. I am just opening your blog and will leave further comments there! Congrats on being featured this month.

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