When I first decided to write a blog, in April 2008, I never imagined what it would mean for me in the short and the long run. I had a book coming out, and writing a blog was a way of establishing a virtual presence, along with a website and the creation of a Facebook account.
It takes time for bloggers to find their niche, and their voice, and even though mine was always a blend, a platform where I could voice my thoughts about what matters to me (writing, expatriation, parenting, and a global approach to all facets of life), it has slowly evolved into what it is today. This is my space, and I have learned to fill it in my own way. If I can’t blog, for lack of time or inspiration, I no longer feel bad or guilty. It is a kind of journal, with visitors who are regulars (and a heartfelt thank you to them, and those who leave comments, as they mean a lot to a blogger) others whom I’ll never know. But a trend has started to emerge.
More and more, I receive emails from people who will soon relocate to Bangladesh or to India, or are considering such move. I’m always happy when I do, and I respond unfailingly, sending my thoughts, opinions, and information, because I know that sooner or later I will do the same, send emails to perfect strangers asking them questions about life in another country. It’s the wonder of a world that’s become virtual in less than a decade. When I moved to Nigeria, in 2001, I couldn’t find any current information about Enugu (only an old UNDP report that turned out to be outdated and totally obsolete.) Ten years later, one only has to surf the Internet to find information on expat websites and blogs like mine.
So, I’m sincerely happy to share tidbits of my experience about our time in Hyderabad, or my current life in Dhaka, and I trust that people understand implicitly that the views and opinions are mine, and mine only. Still, in view of a recent stream of emails, I feel the need to clarify a couple of things.
1. I cannot help anyone to find work. This is not my field, nor my ambition. You need to do your own homework, and check the laws of your host country to find out about the possibility of getting a working visa, and if you can, how to go about it. And then, you need to do more homework to find out where and how you can find employment. There might be some relocation companies that do that, out there, but I’m not sure.
2. I cannot help anyone to decide whether it’s a good idea to leave everything behind (job, friends, family and life in the UK, Europe or the US) in order to follow their Indian boyfriend/fiancé to India because he wants to go back home and be closer to his family. There also, you need to do a lot of research about India (read blogs, read books, lots of books), maybe see a counselor, preferably with your boyfriend/fiancé, and I’d advise you to meet the family BEFORE you make a final move, etc, etc. I can empathize with your struggle, and I wish you all the best, but ultimately, the decision is yours and I cannot have anything to do with it.
Good luck to all who embark on an expatriate adventure.