'People are warm and receptive here'

'People are warm and receptive here'

Maria Marincowitz and Chris Van Rooyen have been living in the City for a while now. Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, the couple is teaching at the Canadian International School here. They say they love the City and all that goes with it.

Maria and Chris are excited about being here as this is their first experience in the country. “I had heard about the diversity of the country, and I’ve studied religion. So, I’ve always fancied a trip to India. When the opportunity arose, we grabbed it,” says Chris.

They have also travelled to and stayed in China, Taiwan, England, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Indonesia and Cambodia. Maria adds, “We came here because of the job but it was always nice to know that we had a chance to explore the country as well.”

The couple, who are also pursuing their studies online, have not been able to travel much but are looking forward to exploring more. They have, however, visited Kerala, Goa and some parts of the State. 

The couple prefers to be in quiet places and not at the busy shopping avenues in the City. “We prefer to be off City limits when in Bangalore as the traffic is too heavy here,” says Maria. Chris adds, “The very thought of going to the City makes us say ‘let’s stay indoors and catch a movie’.”

Of the many places that the couple have visited in the City, one of Chris’ most memorable visits was to the ISKCON temple. The couple say that the work culture here is very different from that of other places. “People in Taiwan and most other places are reserved. Here, people hug, touch and express themselves more openly,” says Chris.

“In other places, it’s not correct to even smile at a stranger and the need of being composed is a must,” adds Maria. Chris says that it feels like ‘one has entered into a family of very nice people’ here. The couple cannot stop speaking about the kindness of Bangaloreans. “People here walk up to you,  introduce themselves and offer to help. People are warm and receptive here,” says Chris.

About the difficulties in the City that they had to adjust to, Chris says, “It’s a very easy question — the answer is traffic.” They point out that the constant honking and the crazy driving on the road are deplorable.

“When we came to the City, it was hard as we couldn’t find all the items that we needed for our home at one place. But we later found out that everything could be ordered in,” says Maria with a smile. “Fruits and vegetables are much costlier in Taiwan and other places. It seems a much easier lifestyle here,” they say. “If you are flexible and open to things, you can surely have a great time in India,” opines Chris.

While not all expats would appreciate the many holidays and festivals in the country, Chris and Maria are happy about the different festivities they can be involved with.

“For Deepavali, we had to dress up in Indian clothes. The people in school took us out for shopping. It was an endearing experience,” Maria recollects. The burst of colours and the way Bangaloreans dedicate themselves to their festivals, have impressed the couple. They also say that most people here have heard about South Africa.

“Whenever, we have conversations with people here, they seem to know about South Africa. This is not the case in other places,” says an amused Maria.

Cricket also plays an important role in connecting South Africa and India. “It’s surprising and endearing how people here know our (South African) cricketers much better than we know them,” laughs Chris.

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