'The City is predictably unpredictable'

Expat zone

'The City is predictably unpredictable'

The comforting and alluring ethos of the City has brought in expatriates from all across the world. Angelina Jimenez, from Olalla, USA, who has worked in places like Cambodia and Marshall Islands, too enjoys soaking in the culture of the City. A senior kindergarten teacher at Canadian International School (CIS), Angelina loves her job and the City.

“I heard about this job through an international school employment agency when I was working in Cambodia. I liked the vibe that I got during the interview with CIS and felt that it would be a great community to be involved with. Family is of utmost importance to me and I was very happy when I heard that a large number of international students and their families are involved with CIS.” The charming weather of the City was another added advantage. “The humidity is just perfect,” she says.

Angelina “didn’t ask around much or research much about the country” as she didn’t want to have high expectations. “I could never have predicted from any book I read or anything that I heard about the nature of the City. What I love about Bengaluru is that the City is predictably unpredictable. Anything can happen here,” she says. Angelina adds that one can drive down the same street and see something different every day. “As a teacher, I’m a life-long learner. Thus, this has been an endearing experience and I feel that the possibilities to learn here are unlimited.”

She says that she feels “like a kid in India, constantly asking questions”. Having been exposed to different cultures, Angelina feels that “everybody wants to feed you all the time” and this is very close to what she is used to. “When I was at a co-worker’s place, I saw the same. Everybody had to eat, it wasn’t a choice and I could see women happily chatting away in the kitchen. This was very comforting.”

Of the surprising things that Angelina recollects about the country are the interactions she had with people at the Delhi airport. “I wanted to check if I had to move my baggage even though it was a domestic transfer. The moment I asked for help, there were people jumping over the counter to help me, ushering me to the elevator, smiling at me and I suddenly didn’t know what was happening. This was my first impression of the country — there are a 100 things happening together always here,” she recollects with a smile. Angelina says that every time she needs directions or wants to find something, someone is always around to help.

Angelina has had a chance to visit many parts of South India like Hampi, Madikeri, Mysuru, Ooty and some places in Kerala. “What distinguishes Bengaluru from all these places is how international the City is. One can drive through all kinds of neighbourhoods but the way the people get along, accepting each other’s cultures and festivals, is really amazing. There is a beautiful harmony amidst all the differences, which is very unique.”

About work, Angelina says that she loves the curiosity her students have. “I teach different subjects and I love my job. The school system is diverse because of all the nationalities here. Technology also plays a big role in the education system compared to the places I’ve taught at.”

Her friends have made her stay interesting. “Tracey, one of my friends from Cambodia, also teaches at CIS and I also have another friend from the USA, Kimberly, who works with us. We hang out  during the weekends.” Earlier, she would often indulge in some Bollywood dancing with Kimberly at the different clubs in the City. “The energy here is like none other. Dance is a medium of expression and sometimes it’s scary to let others see that. But with Bollywood dancing, all the masks are off.” Nowadays, the two along with Tracey visit places like ‘Smokehouse Deli’ and ‘Windmills Craftworks’. “‘Thermal And A Quarter’ is one of our favourite bands. Kimberly and I love their music.”

“There is a certain richness and history that the City and country have that I have never seen elsewhere. This is juxtaposed with the huge shopping malls that exist, with all the possible international brands. Though it’s shocking, it’s great to see so many different walks of life in one space here and that is what is charming about the City,” observes Angelina.

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