'It has been an easy transition for me'

'It has been an easy transition for me'

Expat zone

'It has been an easy transition for me'

The Elyaddasses, who moved to Bangalore from California last summer, are like a family out of a book — Edina, the housewife who dances to Bollywood songs; Laroussi, the working husband from Mauritania, West Africa; two boys, Nadir and Amin, who hide in brick forts and the grandmother, Claudia Harper, a writer. Living in a beautiful house in Whitefield, they share their experiences with Metrolife.

“My husband got a wonderful job offer and we were quite open to the idea of exploring a new country. I’ll live anywhere that’s not at war,” notes Edina. “The biggest change for me here was not to be working — it’s a luxury, but it makes me feel like I’m not productive or contributing,” adds the former nurse, who keeps searching for new passions to pursue.

“I’ve learnt a few lines in Hindi and Kannada and can say Namaste, Aap kaise ho etc. I listen to a lot of Bollywood music too. I don’t know the names of the songs, but I keep buying compilations of the hits to dance to,” she says.

 Being a foreigner does get uncomfortable at times, she feels. “It depends on where I am — in a crowded marketplace, I know I’m going to get stared at because I’m a very tall white woman. But I’ve learnt how to avoid making too much eye contact and not being over friendly with people. I understand that it might be exciting for them to see a Western woman. But they need to learn how to be more professional and polite in public,” opines the 40-year-old.

Claudia, the oldest member of the household, is also well adjusted. “Bangalore’s like Hawaii, where I come from — there’s so much greenery, palm trees everywhere, beautiful flowers and colourful birds. People are friendly here and I love the sound of the languages spoken. Besides, I get to see my grandchildren grow up,” shares the writer.
But for the man of the house, Laroussi, head of corporate security at ‘Target Corp’, moving here has really changed his perception about India.

“You come here thinking it’s Gandhi’s land — a magical place with a wealth of cultures. But while parts of India are like that, you come here and see the political reality, media sensationalism and the mob mentality to everything. With the film, Vishwaroopam, for example, most people probably hadn’t seen it but they had an opinion against it,” states the 34-year-old. He adds, “The only cultural shock I’ve had here is seeing the way newspapers report on crime — it’s a little too out there in terms of description, especially when it comes to crimes against women.”

While he is well informed and has these opinions, he does not deny that his personal experience has been positive.

“I love Indian food and culture, people are very nice and the weather’s great. The work culture’s quite different to that in the States, but it’s been an easy transition for me,” he shares.

Indian food is another area that’s not required too much adjusting to. “I love Indian food — I need dosas at least once a week with sambhar and I’ve even learnt how to make them. I also like gulab jamuns, samosas and paneer with palak or butter masala,” smiles Edina.

However, her six-year-old son, Nadir, begs to differ. “I like it, but it can be very spicy. One time, there was some spicy hot pepper hidden in my chicken in school and I had to drink three glasses of water to get the taste out of my mouth. I love the pizzas at Chez Mariannick,” he shares.

Asked his thoughts about the City, he mentions, “I like it here, but I still prefer California because I had more friends and the house there was better for hide-and-seek. My school is very good, but I think they should double up library time — you get only five minutes to find and pick out a book!”

In fact, he not only enjoys reading but is also busy making his own comic book titled ‘Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Hypnotized Zombie Nerds’. “I’m not the best ‘drawer’, but I’m a really good writer,” he confesses.

If not out skateboarding or running into friend’s houses, one can find him and his four-year-old brother Amin at their ‘secret hideout’. “There’s a brick fort nearby, where Amin and I go. It’s really fun, but I still have to clean it up because there are little spiders and bugs there.” Amin excitedly adds, “I play games and then we all get dirty and make forts.”  What does he like best about Bangalore? “I really like the garbage,” he sums up.

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