Top Ten Differences Between Rural Ohio and Tropical India

By: Rachel of Hippie in Heels

Top Ten Differences between Rural Ohio and Tropical India

Living in India is a magical treat for all your senses. At times overwhelming, not a day goes by that you don’t say “Oh my god, did you see that!?” to someone near you. Maybe it’s because you saw a guy holding three pigs on his scooter, or maybe you saw a mini van packed with 30 kids on their way to school. The most populated country in the world, Goa is a beachside break from the masses, but the sensory overload is still ever-present.

These are the Top Ten shocking differences between my little country home in Ohio and my jungle villa in a small village called Assagao, in Goa, India. 

1.    At home, I’d drive down old dirt and rock roads, flinging tar everywhere, listening to a hot 100 country radio station, probably something like Taylor Swift, with my sunroof down and my hair flowing in the wind. In Goa, I’m either driving an old beat up mini taxi van, or I’m riding on the back of a scooter, like everyone else here, dodging cows, people, cars, and other bikes, and enjoying the sound of the wind whipping past my ears and car horns blaring.

2.    In Ohio, if it isn’t country music, it’s hip-hop. Every bar plays the newest of lil’ Wayne or Eminem and young drunk people dance (grind) all over each other. Here if I'm not listening to my iPod, I listen to two genres only. 1. Goan Psy music- world known trance inducing music that is called psy because many times psychedelic drugs are taken while trance-dancing. 2. Local Indian music. My personal favorite now is “The Lungi Dance”, which the neighborhood kids love to have dance competitions too.

3.    At home, I might glance out my sliding glass door and see a mama deer and her little baby licking a salt block in the garden. That would be the coolest animal I get to lay eyes on. In Goa, 8 foot pythons cross my path, baby snakes under my couch, 4 inch scorpions lying dead in the pool, and I have a real fear that the villa’s monkeys will steal my puppy Huckleberry.

4.    In rural Ohio my home is quite hidden out in the country, but with GPS no one has a problem finding my humble abode. In Goa, I get about half the letters that are sent to me. The ones I do happily have arrive are full of very detailed information after the proper address like: “off the main road, near the red building- Happy Bar, 3 doors down from that shop Indian Story”. This the delivery boy can find! 

5.    In Ohio, I line up at a gas station, wait my turn, and pump my own gas. In India, scooters bump and nudge into each other to get “next” from the employee holding the gas nozzle. Often times, petrol runs out at the gas station and we buy 3 Liters or so from a man on the street. It’s watered down in an actual water bottle, bad for the car, and an inflated price. After I buy this from him, I can also buy a light bulb or literally anything- he will find it.

6.    This one is a little annoying- scams. In Lexington, not only have I never been scammed; it’s so small and quaint that people go out of their way to help you in any way possible. I learned to trust people at a young age. In Goa, I can’t be so quick to trust. For a pair of pants that I knew cost 100 rs (2 dollars) I was quoted 5,000 (100 dollars). But it’s not just the shops; it’s the legitimate businesses that catch me off guard. The banks, post office, no one is immune to a corrupt worker. Just yesterday, Tata Sky came out to change our cable box (a free service) that the delivery boy tried to take 500 rs for. You have to stay on top of your game and not be afraid to say something!

7.    At home, I don’t lock my doors and I don’t worry about safety or theft, even when I backpacked solo for 3 months In Goa, I have 4 security guards outside my house at all times. They help me chase my dog when he runs away, and for a small fee they will wash my car, or the jam out of my suitcase that exploded during a flight. One awesome guy, Gangaram, helps change light bulbs and sand down the Portuguese antique door Huck chewed on. 

8.    After Thanksgiving dinner in Ohio, the women get straight to work in the kitchen. It’s time to clean! Scrubbing all the pots and pans, putting extras in parcels in the fridge. In Goa, after cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a toaster oven, we are fortunate enough that the house has a cleaner who took care of that, like she does literally every other bit of cleaning, every day, for 2-3 hours a day. There are also 2 women groundskeepers that sweep our grass (I don’t know why, still figuring this one out), clean around the pool courtyard, complain about my dog poo, and straighten up my shoes on the porch. These luxuries, I could never afford at home, but here almost every expat I know has a housekeeper. Combine that, the hot sun, and stunning beach… it’s enough to make a girl get a little lazy and never want to leave. 

9.    A quick get-away for me from Ohio could be to meet friends for a night out in Cleveland, or a drive to Cincinnati to see my grandparents. Nothing too extravagant. In Goa, a weekend excursion could be to a Tiger Safari, or to trek with elephants. I can hike a massive waterfall, drive off-road to a secret beach, or go white water rafting in the jungle. I might spend the weekend longing on the beach and sleeping under the stars of a beach shack, listening to the waves as I fall asleep.  Most of the cost less than the cost of petrol to get from Lexington to a big city to meet friends.

10.    Grocery shopping at home was one of my favorite things. I spent the whole time in the frozen food aisle and packaged cookies aisle. That’s really all I needed. Here, I shop at a fresh produce market. You might see fruits, like jackfruit, that you’ve never tasted. You might come across a hammerhead shark or a row of red snapper. The meat hangs from string in the hot sun and I can walk away with a big bag of vegetables and fruit for about 4 dollars. 

Goa is a beach bums paradise. Time moves slowly. The hippie influx from many years ago, along with the southern India culture keeps things laid-back and simple. Don’t expect to get anywhere fast or to have things happen without any glitches, like they can in America. Do expect to get swept up and start to fit into their way of living quite quickly. Maybe not the best place for someone ‘Type A’ long term, as things are not organized. It takes 10 people to do a job 1 person would do in America. Gives people jobs, but sure does slow down service! I kid you not, I think KFC had 40 employees last time I was there and it took 15 minutes for my chicken. If you come from somewhere rural like Ohio, I think you will fit in with ease in Goa. My village has a chilled out vibe and the locals are the friendliest I’ve met anywhere in India. 

About the author

Expat Blog ListingRachel of Hippie in Heels is an American expat living in India. Blog description: American Living in India permanently, although still traveling in and around Asia. Learning fun things like: how to drive in indian traffic!
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Contest Comments » There are 2 comments

Kaho wrote 10 years ago:

I enjoyed your list very much! I agree how easily we get used to having a helper at home! I live in Mumbai with my family and we'll be going to Goa in January. After reading your list, I'm more looking forward to going there! I have to be careful when I go shopping it sounds like!

Mani wrote 10 years ago:

"2 women groundskeepers that sweep our grass (I don’t know why, still figuring this one out)" Made me laugh, I saw a woman do that too, but I don't remember grass, I think it was just dirt she was sweeping.

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