Understanding a culture

Understanding a culture

Expat zone

Understanding a culture

When Lucas Bianchi decided to pack his bags from New York and start a business in Bengaluru, he didn’t think that he would end up calling it his home. The co-Founder of ‘Namaste Credit’ has been living here for the last one and half years and about six months ago, his wife of eight years, Marta Lin moved to the city with him.

He says, “I was born in Italy but raised in California. I moved to New York for University and lived there for about 15 years. I worked as an investment banker at Wall Street before I joined as a sales person for a company to do the research in India.” Marta, on the other hand, hails from Taiwan. She says, “We both met in Germany where we went to learn German. I majored in Biochemistry and I chose to study Chemistry in German. I later moved to New York to be with Lucas. It’s been 13 years since we’ve known each other.”

The college sweethearts are cosying to the lifestyle of the city. When Lucas is off to manage the startup, Marta also helps him with the finance company. Lucas says, “We’re a startup that focusses on providing loans to businesses and individuals. We make the process of getting a loan easier. We’ve launched a new product that will help our customers save and pay their loans in an automatic fashion. It’s a very technology driven product.”

Having worked in the business capital of Wall Street, Lucas says that there are definitely a few challenges in running a company here. He says, “In America, there are many specialising in different aspects of the operation. Here, you’ll find everything you need under one room. The market is definitely concentrated here.”

Thanks to his previous sales job, he has travelled to Bengaluru quite often on business trips. Gurgaon, Jaipur, Goa and Rajasthan were his regular stops. However, this time, it’s definitely different in terms of living. “There were definitely some adjustment troubles when I officially moved here. The culture is very different and it took a bit of time for us to understand it. Well, I’m still learning,” he exclaims.

The one thing that has still left him baffled are the holidays. He says, “The holidays in the US are well defined; everyone usually takes off around the same time. Since the culture here is diverse, it’s hard to keep a track of the days when one will be celebrating a particular festival or not. I’m still figuring that bit out with many of my employees and business partners.”

But the other aspect that the couple enjoys a lot is the soil. For the past six months that Marta has been here, she has been happily seeing her balcony garden grow. She says with a smile, “I’ve planted a few seeds in my balcony and within a short period of time, I’ve seen them grow. The soil here is very fertile.” As running a startup is hard work, the couple usually gets only one day together which they spend doing chores. If they do get time, they like to visit places nearby. They’ve been to Mysuru so far, along with a few places inside the city. Though they are yet to explore more restaurants in the city, ‘California Burrito’ and ‘Madurai Idly Shop’ are their favourites.

The one thing that they are struggling with is the language. Marta says, “Though we have neighbours who speak English, when we’re trying to catch a cab, go grocery shopping or find something new, language becomes a problem. We’re looking for a tutor to help us learn the local language.” For now, they have learnt the local words for certain vegetables and take Uber for travelling.

Lucas feels like it would be helpful if the Metro is well connected. He says, “I never owned a car when I lived in New York. The Subway was well connected. It’s still a struggle here. Hopefully, the work will be completed soon and we wouldn’t have to spend so much time in traffic. I utilise my time in the cab by sending out emails or making calls.”

The couple is also trying to understand the different head gestures from the locals. “It’s so hard to understand if one is saying ‘yes’, ‘no’ or something completely different. It’s a little bizarre to me and I hope to get the hang of it soon,” laughs Marta.

However, they both love the warmth and welcome they have received from the people here. “We love how pleasant and approachable the people have been to us. We are happy to call Bengaluru our home for now. The weather sure makes us happy too,” smiles Lucas.

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