'The stay here has been humbling'

Expat zone

For Lawrence Espinosa, who works as a drama teacher at the Canadian International School and lives here with wife Annette and son Thor, the stay has been a lovely one. 

The family hails from the Philippines and have had a great time here. 

“I came to the City first and then my family joined me. 

When I came here, it was my first time in India,” he says. 

The initial months here were challenging. 

“Before coming, I was aware that Bangalore was the IT hub. And when I finally arrived, I was looking for the ‘Silicon Valley’. Later, I realised that the ‘Silicon Valley’ was just one part of the City and there was much more to Bangalore,” says Lawrence. 
 
He says that he is always open to challenges and thus, was ready for this change. “It was more of an adventure,” he smiles.
 
Ask Lawrence about how different it is to teach in India and he says, “I have more 
students here and there is a noticeable diversity in the group. Thus there are different types of opinions in class. I’m an open-minded person and have fun working with the students here,” 
he answers.
 
The couple has travelled across the world but this is the first time that they are staying in another country. 

Ask the two about how the experience has been and Annette says, “Lawrence had the idea of moving to the country. The stay here has been humbling. Back home, I used to work. Here, we have a smaller apartment. We also have a maid who does specific work unlike back home, where Thor had a nanny who took care of everything.” 

Lawrence says that the City has made the family, especially Thor, more independent. 
 
Lawrence often uses the public transport and says that the buses are very organised in Bangalore.

“I just use Google Maps. 

It’s a great experience and since the buses have proper numbers and routes marked on them, the service is great,” he says.

Talking about the culture of the City, Lawrence says that he loves the theatre scene here.

“We all learnt that Greek theatre was one of the oldest forms in the world. But I read and found out about this form of theatre called Theyyam, which is much older. Here in the City, I try my best to catch up on all the productions at Jagriti, Ranga Shankara and Alliance Francaise,” he says, adding, “I’m deeply impressed by kathakali and during my stay in Kerala, 
I worked with a guru to learn the form. I also want to learn how to play the chenda (percussion).”

Commenting on the traditions and festivals, Annette says that she loves draping a sari and being a part of the festivities. 

“I have at least ten saris. Lawrence has a sherwani which he wore for a wedding back home. He also wears kurtas. We always make it a point to be involved in the festivities. When wecelebrated Ganesha Chathurthi in the apartment complex, I had a pink Ganesha idol. Also, we light diyas for Deepavali,” she says. 

The family loves the food here 
and is crazy about puri sabji, naan and rogan josh to name a few. 

Ask Lawrence about the different challenges that he has gone through in the City and he says that the experience at the FRRO was a pain. 

But he feels that the situation is better now. 
 
“A lot of work is still done manually. Hence, many weird questions are asked,” he says. 

Having travelled to many places in the country like New Delhi, Agra, Jaisalmar, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pondicherry, the two say that they love the people and weather of Bangalore. Given a chance to improve the City, Lawrence and Annette would work on the garbage issue.

“Responsible waste management has to happen,” they say together. 

Despite this, the family is happy and considers itself blessed to be in the City. “I know that when I head back home, there will always be a smile on my face when I think of Bangalore and my stay here,” wraps up Annette.

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