I’ve been in Mumbai now for over a decade and in that time I’ve run into almost every type of expat. The ones involuntarily posted here on work who only hang out with other expats and are happiest smoking cigars at the Breach Candy club. The brown-by-descent but all-American expat with families here who often refer to things as “GFI” (Good For India meaning not great but good by India standards) and of course the non-Indians who barring a few frustrations have assimilated beautifully and often refer to themselves as desis (like my bf.) But the ones I’m intrigued by most are those who choose to come here and live for a year or two with absolutely no friends to start with but a brilliant attitude and lets face it, some serious balls. So I asked my new friend Andrea Brown to document her experiences for you here on my blog and give you a chance to see what Bombay looks, sounds, feels and tastes like to an unbiased stranger.
P.S. I find it wildly entertaining to try and explain the whole Page 3 life to her and point out famous Bollywood peeps who she doesn’t recognize :)
“Hustle and Bustle” is the best idiom I can use to describe the sprawling city of Mumbai. Meaning busy noisy and activity or energy and excitement, I never quite grasped the concept of a hustling, bustling city until stepping out of the airplane that transported this Las Vegas local and a fraction of my walk-in Western closet to Mumbai. Landing in the dark of night, I was immediately scooped up at the airport and dropped at my hotel to awake to the new life I was to live for the next two years.
Emotions and thoughts swirled around my head and head. The idea of leaving my family, friends, and, in my own humble opinion, a very comfortable, wonderful life behind to take on an entirely new country and culture yet again frazzled my mind. But here I am, on the verge of my one month anniversary of arrival, typing away about the options of sinking or swimming in my new home away from home.
When asked to describe my introduction to Mumbai and my new career here, the mental picture created would be a baby wearing floaties (deflated of course) thrown into a swimming pool. It was expected I would learn to swim. Quickly. If this was not possible, the expectation was I would at least be able to figure out the appropriate function of the tools given and how to make them work towards keeping afloat.
Ladies and Gentleman, I am happy to report I have not sunk yet aka packed my bags and returned to all that glitters. This is not to say I have not swallowed a bit of water on the way. Thankfully, I have been blessed with meeting a handful of the most phenomenal people who have generously offered their own lungs to blow up my floaties. After many sms and calls to teach me the proper forms of breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle, I have even been able to add a bit of sassy synchronized swimming.
Although I have absolutely no intentions of giving up any flotation devices thrown my way, I feel confident in my ability to keep afloat amid the hustle and bustle of Mumbai and sharing all my little stories and struggles along the swim.