'We've never had an issue with language'

'We've never had an issue with language'

Barbara and Clarke Richmire, a couple from Canada, decided to move to Bangalore because of work. A friend asked Barbara to teach at a school in the City and Clarke was offered a job in the same organisation months later — and that’s how the Bangalore chapter of their lives began.

The couple, who now stay in Sahakarnagar, hadn’t heard of the City before. In fact, they didn’t know where in India it was located. But they say that their stay in
Bangalore has been very pleasant. “We didn’t plan to be here. But now that we are, there’s a lot we love about the place — like say, for instance, the weather,” says Barbara, who’s a teacher with Trio World School.

Adjusting to any new place can be tough. Clarke, Barbara’s husband, shares, “We had issues with transportation. We used the rickshaws often to travel. Hiring a car was a bit of a hurdle at first.” Barbara quickly adds, “We aren’t bus-trained people and so, that made it difficult too. But we walk to work, since it’s that close.”

It also took them a while to adjust to the local food. Having always had a heavy-meat diet, the couple took some time to spot the best places to pick up non-vegetarian items. “Our food habits have slowly expanded, since we eat at the school too. There, we have minimal meat and more vegetables, rice and dal,” says Barbara, who has also sampled dishes like idli and dosa.

Clarke adds, “We indulge in tandoori items, chapatis and have tried other North Indian food items too.” To mark special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, Barbara and Clarke head for brunches at popular hotels in the City.

“We have always felt comfortable here. During our stay in Egypt and the Caribbean, there were often times when we felt unnerved — but nothing like that has happened to us here,” states Clarke.

“What surprised me about the City is that there are a lot of people who are aware of fitness needs and give importance to walking. There seem to be a lot of people walking around the apartment complexes, on the roads and even in parks, which look as if they have been designed for this purpose,” exclaims Barbara.

“I love walking and I was impressed by this sight. It’s a habit which seems to be incorporated into the lifestyle,” she adds.

“We’ve never had an issue with language in Bangalore. Most of the people here speak English, and even when someone can’t, we always find someone to interpret,” says Clarke. Barbara adds, “And even those who aren’t fluent are willing to learn and help.”

Both of them also frankly admit that they are amazed by the festivals celebrated here. “Deepavali — and all the rituals connected with it — is spellbinding. We’ve never seen anything as stupendous as the firecrackers. Even Ganesha Habba, where the idol was taken all around the apartment, was pretty interesting,” the couple remark in unison.

“The use of flowers in daily rituals is an amazing sight too. Back home, if we plucked flowers, it would a different scene,” adds Clarke with a smile.

Having experienced the education systems in different countries, the couple say, “The British system is followed at the school we teach at. The students here are much more respectful than any other students we’ve worked with, in our entire
career.” A typical week’s schedule for Barbara and Clarke revolves around the school. On their weekends, they shop around Sahakarnagar or go to Mantri Mall. “We love to socialise with our expat and other friends, so whatever time we get off, we do that,” says Barbara.

During their stay here, there have been many moments when they’ve broken out into bouts of laughter. “We often click photographs. There was this one time when we saw a cow chewing away at garbage, right in front of a sign which said ‘Help keep the City clean’,” Barbara recalls. Sharing another experience, she adds, “Our first autorickshaw ride was hilarious. Clarke, a friend and I shared a ride and we all got completely drenched.”

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