'Now we cannot be taken for a ride'

Expat zone

'Now we cannot be taken for a ride'

Bjoern Steinborn and his wife, Stefanie Steinborn, admit that their stay
in India has been an eye-opener. 

It was Bjoern’s job with Bosch that brought them to Bangalore. In an interaction with Metrolife, they reveal their experiences in the City.

“What you hear about the country and what you actually see is so different. When we were researching about the place on the Internet, we were given a very rural impression. Most of the information is about poverty, cows and dogs. But when we actually came here, we realised how cosmopolitan Bangalore, in particular, is,” they say, adding, “of course, the weather is lovely.”

The couple came to Bangalore in February 2012. Ask them about their first impression of the City and they admit that it was the crowd. “In the beginning, the traffic was really difficult to deal with. But we found that people here are very friendly,” they say. Has their impression changed? “Not very much,” they smile.

However,  Bjoern has braved the City’s traffic and enjoys driving. “It takes some time to get used to it. After that, you learn how to go with the flow,” he says. Bjoern enjoys riding his bike within the City as well as on trips to nearby destinations. “I used to enjoy riding in Germany and I like to use my bike here as well,” he says. However, Stefanie is quick to add that she prefers using a four-wheeler.

“I tried cycling to my office, when we were located on Outer Ring Road. But our present office is too far away,” says Bjoern. “I prefer playing tennis now,” he adds.

While most expats complain about the autorickshaws in the City, the couple say that they are familiar with all the routes and so, it’s not a problem. “In the beginning, we were a bit confused. But now we cannot be taken for a ride. We find the auto a quicker option than going by car,” they say.

Of course, there have been adjustment issues but they have now gotten used to the City. “I experienced quite a few work-related differences. The style of working, priorities and punctuality are so different,” says Bjoern. “Here, if someone says two minutes, it means 30 to 45 minutes,” he adds. But now, a year and a half after moving here, they say that they have adjusted well to the City’s laid-back sense of time. Their families have also taken a liking to the City after a couple of visits.

While Bjoern attempted learning Kannada and knows a couple of words, he says that he has not been able to get the hang of it since it does not have any linkage to a Roman language. “Anyway, English is spoken everywhere here, which is an advantage. But I must say that my English vocabulary has improved after coming here. In Germany, it’s only the younger generation that knows English,” he says. Stefanie has picked up a few Kannada words from Bjoern too.

During their stay in the City, Bjoern has taken to playing the guitar — a long-time dream. The couple, who stay on St Mark’s Road, enjoy visiting areas in and around the vicinity, particularly UB City. Stefanie enjoys visiting places like Lalbagh, where she feels she can relax with all the greenery and without any traffic. While they were used to outdoor sport clubs and activities on weekends back home, here they opt to visit restaurants. The couple likes to eat out and choose restaurants depending on whether they are going to lunch or dinner.

“We often go to New Shanti Sagar if it’s for lunch, and for dinner we prefer continental food. We like going for different brunches sometimes at The Oberoi and Taj West End,” they say, adding that they also like going to new restaurants.

Besides a few from Bjoern’s workplace, they say that they do not connect with other expats much. “Sometimes, we go for a Sunday brunch or out for dinner. But besides expat colleagues, we don’t really connect with anyone else,” they explain.

They rue the fact that here, for any work to get done, it is necessary to know somebody. “In Germany, we are used to doing everything ourselves. Here we found that even to get usual stuff done, one has to know somebody,” explains Bjoern.

They are looking forward to a trip to Kerala this year and are also planning a trip across the Golden Triangle. “Our friends visited Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and were very impressed,” they say.

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