'My children get the best of both worlds'

Expat zone

'My children get the best of both worlds'

Marion Heinicke was born in Amsterdam in The Netherlands and raised in the small town of Purmerend, about 15 km from Amsterdam. After completing college, she took up several jobs and finally joined the Municipal Transport Company of Amsterdam as an HR specialist.

Soon, the travel bug bit her. Among the many places she visited, it was India that stole her heart and where she met her husband Abhilash. And before they knew, the two of them tied the knot.

Marion has managed to create a close circle of friends. She has been living in the City for the last eight years now and recollects that although it was tough initially, she now is a true Bengalurean.

She admits that the City has strengthened her as a person. On the professional front, Marion currently works as a freelance translator (German to Dutch). She says she wants to get back into a regular job though, just like how she worked back home in Amsterdam. She recollects that moving to India and visiting it on a holiday are two different things altogether.

“It’s only when I moved here that I realised that living in India is not easy. I had to start a home, make new friends, explore places where I could buy my choice of food whether it was meat or vegetables. It was a challenge to find the smallest of things,” she recalls.

But Marion says she settled down sooner than she expected. “I would just walk around the neighbourhood. Initially, it didn’t have too many shops except for a few fancy shops and small grocery stores but soon, that improved and more things became available. I like the vibrancy and colours of this place."

Finding people of her liking was another task in itself. Marion ventured out only when her daughter was old enough to go to a playschool. “It was only after she went to the playschool and thereafter, regular school that I started making friends and began sharing my experiences with them. Listening to their stories opened up a new world for me altogether and I began to finally feel settled in Bengaluru,” she adds.

Marion has two children, daughter Tulika and son Nalin. She feels young couples in India are more or less on their own, when it comes to raising their children. “If young parents have any questions regarding child birth or even about raising their children, they have nobody to turn to here. But back home, there are institutions that help young parents deal with the many issues that they face,” she says.

Being married to Abhilash is one of the best things, observes Marion. “My children get the best of both worlds. They get to know Indian culture and when we go home to my parents, they get to mix with children there and understand the culture there as well,” she states.

She finds India a vibrant country and feels that the many festivals make it exciting to live here.  

Marion confesses that there are times when she can’t help but compare Bengaluru to her hometown in The Netherlands, especially when it comes to hospitals, traffic and cleanliness. “People have no sense of traffic discipline and drive rather haphazardly when they hit the road. This is exactly why I am scared to drive in the City myself,” she observes.

She also states that garbage dumps at every corner of the City could pose a threat to everybody’s health. “The sight of dead rats on the road could unleash a host of illnesses and I think it’s high time the government looked into the issue of handling garbage in a more effective manner,” she adds. Just like other expatriates, Marion too loves Indian food and the family largely sticks to a vegetarian diet just to stay healthy.

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