'All the puzzles fell into place'

'All the puzzles fell into place'

Expat zone

'All the puzzles fell into place'

People usually hesitate when they have to move away from their comfort zone. However, Ellen Buckler Jose, on the other hand, was thrilled to start her new life in a way she’s never experienced before — she was willing to move to a new country to be with her husband.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, USA, Ellen says that she finally feels at home in Bengaluru. “It was definitely going to be a different experience for me to move to a new place and start a new life. Somehow, all the puzzles fell into place when I came here. I’m getting along with the way things are. Anywhere, where my husband and son are, will be my home,” she says.

Arun met Ellen when he went to the USA for his higher education. They fell in love and decided that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. So in 2013, they tied the knot in Bengaluru and now have a two-year-old son Aiden.

Talking about how the transition was when she moved here, she says, “Usually people say that you’ll have a culture shock when you move to India but it didn’t feel so weird for me. I have visited Bengaluru for three weeks before I got married and I fell in love with it. I did have a bad experience where I fell sick throughout the trip, but when I went back home, I felt relaxed. I knew it was just a vacation, but it felt so good to be part of this.” However, she is still getting used to the insane traffic and cows walking around randomly on the streets.

In Philadelphia, Ellen worked as a pharmacist for seven years. “The pharmacy  is open 24/7, so celebrating holidays with family is almost out of the question. But if I was lucky, I would go to my sister’s place and we would do something for each holiday. But whenever we didn’t, which was almost all the time, we would bring a potluck to the office and celebrate with colleagues,” she explains. Ellen is surprised that she sees people at her apartment here celebrate all kinds of festivals, including Halloween.

She recalls her last year’s experience and says, “The children from the apartment dressed as scary as they could and went around for ‘trick or treat’. Since I didn’t know it was a big deal here, I didn’t buy enough candy and I think I might have left most of the kids unhappy!” But she does take the time to celebrate every holiday here, even if it’s not the traditional way.

She explains, “I am a big foodie, so whenever something comes up, there’s always a party at our place. Even if we don’t have a turkey for Thanksgiving, we’ll make something out of chicken and celebrate. I want my son to be exposed to all kinds of cultures.”

This big time ‘foodie’ also experiments with her cooking. She makes dishes from all around the world, especially from her mom’s native land, South Korea.

She recalls how her parents owned a restaurant in Philadelphia and she also hopes to open a similar one in the City.

Though Ellen has her hands full with the two-year-old, whenever she finds the time, she loves uploading photographs of the dishes she’s prepared on the Facebook group ‘Bangalore Foodies Club’.

 She shares, “When I was pregnant, I heard about the group and joined it. I think it’s wonderful to see people post things over there and it encouraged me to try something new every day. So I share whatever I have prepared and bombard my friends with these posts.”

When asked if she makes any Indian food, she says, “I’m still learning how to be an expert cook, but I make ‘palak paneer’, ‘Mangalore bun’ and other North and South Indian dishes.” One of the family’s favourite restaurants is ‘New Shanthi Sagar’ in Domlur where they indulge in the ‘cheese masala dosa’. They also love going to ‘The Black Rabbit’ and ‘Cafe Mezzuna’. However, she says she’s someone who loves to eat at home.

During the weekends, Ellen and Arun enjoy going to movies, exploring new restaurants, swimming and walking. They also like to take short trips out of the City to places like Coorg, Mysuru, Mangaluru and Goa.

Talking about Ellen’s lifestyle here, Arun says, “Ellen has definitely taken us all by surprise with the way she’s adjusting here. She’s making ‘chapati’ and ‘puri’ too! Though she did grow up having friends from different cultures back in the US, I think her perspective of this country and the people here has changed.”

And what does she miss most about Philadelphia? Ellen says, “Both my parents passed away, so it’s just my sister with her two kids back home. I do miss them but thanks to technology, they don’t seem so far away. Two of my friends have already visited me and are planning their next trip back as well. But materialistically, I do miss a good cheese steak!”

In her three years of stay in the City, Ellen feels like she can see herself growing here. She says, “I’m happy to say that I love Bengaluru and the ‘foodies’ here. I can definitely see myself growing old here. I do want to travel more, but I have to wait a bit more as my son is too young.”

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