In love with the hustle and bustle

In love with the hustle and bustle
It made a world of difference to Andrea Christ and her three children when they moved from Washington DC to Bengaluru in 2014. She had worked there for four years before she made the conscious choice to move to a country which was more challenging and had unique experiences to offer.

Andrea, who is the Deputy Consul General at the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Bengaluru, says, “My children were sceptical to move here. But when I told them stories about Lord Ganesha and the concept of eating food with your fingers, they were instantly hooked. Obviously, they did have a few adjustment issues but they have gelled in quite well here.”

Hailing from Siegen, Germany, Andrea has moved around a lot. She grew up in the mid-sized town where she was exposed to the happenings across the world early on. She was taught to discuss various topics, have opinions and learn to fight for a cause she believed in. When she finished her high school, she moved to Berlin for higher studies. She then went to work in Jerusalem, Yemen, and the US.

Sharing her thoughts on her stay here so far, she says,“People here are very open and friendly, especially to the kids. Initially, it was a problem when people would stop to my admire my youngest daughter’s blonde hair. She found it uncomfortable but she understood that blonde hair is new to the people around her.”

During weekends, Andrea loves spending time with her family and friends. “We usually go out for movies, have sleepovers or go to a friend’s house. We are members of Bangalore Club so it is easy for us to go swimming whenever we want. However, my two older sons do find it a bit boring here as they don’t get to play soccer as much as they like to.”

They also enjoy going to restaurants and trying out different cuisines. “We love going to rooftop bars and pubs before 8 pm and spend time there. We don’t get weird stares or nudges from people when I take my kids; I don’t think this will be possible anywhere else,” says Andrea. Some of her other favourite restaurants are ‘Skyye’, restaurants in ‘Shangri-La Hotel’ among others. “The nightlife is so vivid here. It has a very European city-like lifestyle post sunset; I love it!”

However, with the recent incident of molestation in the city, she is more cautious when going out. She says, “I’m never aware of my surroundings when I am out because I usually feel safe. These incidents do happen worldwide and a woman has to be cautious all the time. It is wonderful that people are speaking up about it but the victim is blamed for it. I don’t think that is fair. Being alert and watching your own back is the unspoken solution now.”

Nevertheless, she doesn’t stop herself from travelling. She enjoys going to Kerala, Hampi and Mysuru whenever possible. Ask her about her favourite moments and she says, “I love revisiting history and learning about the culture of the place. It is so enriching like people greeting you with flower petals and marking the ‘bindhi’ on your forehead — people do it with so much pride. It is so deep-rooted and makes one know that everything is connected in one way or the other.”

Andrea is also making an attempt to learn Kannada but she easily gives up as many don’t understand what she is saying. “I’ve learnt to say ‘dinner thumba chennagithe, hotte thumbithe’ because people love feeding us here. The other words are still work in progress,” she laughs.

As her job is rotational, she may soon have to leave India and return to Germany. She says, “I love the hustle and bustle here. Things may not be too organised but everything gets done at the end of the day — it’s brilliant! I am going to miss that when I go back. But I do miss the food, theatre and opera back home.” 

However, her family will always hold India close to their heart. “We’ve had wonderful experiences here so far and have been enjoying our life to its fullest. There are plenty of places that we love going to and have on our bucket list. Bengaluru will always be special and we will never hesitate in coming back here,” says Andrea.

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