'We like taking roads that are not often taken'

Expat zone

'We like taking roads that are not often taken'

Sebastien Pelletier and wife Valentine Denizeau, who hail from Canada and France respectively, are enjoying their stay in the City. Sebastien is the deputy headmaster of the Trio World School and Valentine is a teacher there.

They live in Sahakarnagar with their seven-year-old daughter Lila and four-month-old son Achille.

“I’ve always wanted to be abroad, exploring places and learning new things. I love travelling,” says Sebastien. The couple, who met almost a decade ago in Egypt, love checking out new places and learning more about the history of a place, wherever they are.

“We like taking roads that are not often taken and discovering new places. When we went to Nandi Hills, we found a trail that led to a temple that isn’t known to all,” he says.
“Often, people would suggest a place to us and we would look around and find something interesting,” he adds.

So what had they heard about the City before coming here? “Bangalore’s known around the world for its IT culture and being the ‘Silicon Valley of India’. Apart from that, because of our stay in Sri Lanka, we were aware of the Dravidian culture in South India,” say the couple.

Both Valentine and Sebastien agree that they had heard about the country being a land of contrasts, with different cultures on one hand and modernity on the other.
“We’re talking about a country of 1.2 billion people — it’s more like a continent. It’s a land of many religions and culture,” says Sebastien.

“When we were coming here, I did some research and read that it was hard to cross the streets here; I was worried about the same. But it wasn’t that bad,” says Valentine, adding, “The weather is something we really appreciate.”

Despite the craziness of the City, Sebastien feels that it isn’t tough to adjust to Bangalore. “When I learned to drive here, it wasn’t a big deal. The rickshaws and motorcycles can be crazy and whenever I’m on the road, I try and stay away from a family on a scooter. But apart from that, it’s fine,” vouches Sebastien.

“Bangalore is still growing. Other cities, like Mumbai, seem like they are done and the roads are clearly defined. But here, the growth is still on. Streets are not marked properly and thus it’s often hard to find places here,” says Sebastien.

Valentine likes to explore the City herself. “I like areas like Chickpet and Cottonpet, where I go to buy the fabric. But despite going with a driver, we often get lost, especially if the driver doesn’t know the area,” she says.

The couple also love the local cuisine. “We’re fine with the spice levels. We love dosas, idlis and upma,” say the couple in unison. “I love vada and papdi chaat,” Sebastien is quick to add.

Ask them about what they do on weekends and they say, “We either catch up with friends or just hit the road. We also visit the malls often, and areas like Commercial Street.”

Festivals in the City have left them fascinated. Both of them feel that the City seems to have a lot of Western influence mixed with Indian tradition. “I don’t feel that there are a lot of McDonald’s and other Western eateries here. That could be because the people love their traditional food and eating at home,” says Valentine.

Sebastien is all praises for the autorickshaw drivers here. “They are the best guides on the road. Ask them about any route and they know it,” he says.

Sebastien sums up about their stay here, “Bangalore is expat-friendly. At other places, like Mumbai, we’ve seen people staring at us, but people here are respectful. They do look at us, but I think that is because they want to get to know us.”

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