'It's very dynamic to live here'

'It's very dynamic to live here'

Expat Zone

'It's very dynamic  to live here'

Cor A Beetsma’s family shifted to Bangalore after he was transferred to the City three years ago.

 The couple have spent several years following each other to various places, all over the globe. This time, it was Yuka Kikuchi’s turn to follow her husband to India. 

“We have been to Japan, The Netherlands, France, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines and back again to Indonesia  and Japan,” says Yuka. They plan to move to Singapore next. “Cor just got transferred and we’ll be moving there next month,” she adds. 

They like the wanderer’s life “We are not stuck to any place. We make new friends and learn new languages,” says Cor, who is an engineer with Yokogowa Electric Company. He says it gets hard on the kids sometimes, especially on their seven-year-old daughter, Marika, who is finding it harder to make friends at this age. 

She recently switched from Canadian International School (CIS) to The International School of Bangalore because the Japanese kids in her old school were ‘mean’. It is less harder for their 18-year-old son, Kaishu, who has grown up in many countries. 

He says it’s hard sometimes. The youngster just graduated from CIS with top honours and will be attending the prestigious University of Groningen in The Netherlands to study a combination of physics and literature. Yuka says watching her son graduate has been their proudest moment since coming to India. 

They have enjoyed their experience here. “It’s very dynamic to live here. It’s never the same; there is always some surprise,” says Cor. Yuka has picked up yoga since coming here and teaches on a regular basis. “I started learning about 20 years ago but I wasn’t very keen then. I used to do other things like flower arrangement in Singapore and was also in the IT business. But when I came to India, I thought why not? It’s the original place of yoga after all. I stopped working in the business field and came to a holistic one. It’s very interesting. There are many things to do because you can do special certifications or a study,” she says. 

Yuka teaches yoga and English to slum children whenever she can. She also takes her flower arrangements to a home for the mentally handicapped. “It is easy to do charity work here. You just need to say ‘hello’ and can start helping. People are more open here as compared to Japan,” she says. She has also helped her son’s school undertake charity work.  

The talented woman is also interested in art and dreams of learning to paint Tanjore paintings. “Chittara and Tanjore paintings are not that known unlike Warli paintings. There is only one book in Kannada about Chittara paintings,” she says. Impressively, she had learnt to tie a sari even before coming to the country. “We had a few Indian friends who taught us that. The upside of travelling so much is that we adapt to the languages. I even took Kannada classes for a year-and-a-half but people here speak different languages, so it’s less motivating,” says Yuka.  

The two think Indian education system needs to be revamped a little. 

   “There are so many influences and kids need more time to develop themselves. Like the young engineers that enter my company, I have to try so hard to bring them back to normal thinking because they so wild; they fight for everything and want everything now. It’s tough,” says Cor. “It is something they need to learn at school time. School life is too competitive here,” adds Yuka. 

But the traffic doesn’t bother them. “Foreigners complain about the traffic here but it’s nothing when compared to places like Manila and Jakarta…only the roads are more bumpy. But with Google maps, we can find out which road to avoid,” she says. 

Like most love stories, the couple had parents who were unapproving of their union. “Even after I got married, my father tried to set me up with Japanese men,” says the mother of two. But now they are happy travelling the world. 

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