Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Friendship Means a Better Chance at Survival

Networking is key to finding and making friends who are in circumstances similar to yours. I started networking about 6 months before I left the US to come here. I spent my first 4 months here not having a single soul around to talk to that wasn't Indian. Obviously I'm not anti-Indian but there are certain things they cannot understand about my culture and having another expat provides the opportunity to exchange ideas for dealing with the challenges you face here.

Then finally I got to meet another expat in Delhi. It was so nice. She had a little trouble understanding my thick southern US accent even though she was British and that gave me quite a laugh. I've always known my accent was thick but hearing another English speaker say so was amusing. Unfortunately I don't get to see this friend often because Delhi is so far away but we do keep in touch through FaceBook.

I also had the pleasure of finding several online communities for those in gori-desi relationships and those have been absolutely priceless in the amount of information I have been able to learn and the support that the other ladies have given to me as well as each other. Through those communities and this blog I've now managed to find several other western ladies living in Amritsar and one friend I swear could be my twin almost that have been the only reason I've made it through this far. Unfortunately my twin doesn't live near me but we email each other pages (sometimes books hahaha) and pages daily and we text.

Yesterday I went on my first outing alone with another gori and to say the least it was a much needed breath of fresh air. When I say alone I mean it was just her and I and a waiter I'm sure who thought we would never leave hahaha. Poor hubby (I seem to be saying that a lot lately lol) was worried sick as to whether or not we would survive the rough (that's sarcasm by the way) streets of India and make it to our destination and back and the poor soul was texting and calling me incessantly most of the day. I do feel a little bad that I turned my phone off but had I not I don't think I would have gotten much chance to talk.

One thing I highly recommend if you're considering moving to any country other than your own is that you start networking early. It can take a long time to find other expats in the area you will be living unless you have nothing but time to do random searches online and follow every blog imaginable waiting for a mention of another expat. I do spend a considerable amount of time watching and waiting to find others out there and I've made many connections and it still took me almost a year to find the first one here.

On your journey towards finding others to network with you also MUST contact some people. This can be difficult as westerners since we're not accustomed to invading other peoples spaces or randomly approaching strangers. If you're concerned, set up a separate email account just for this purpose. Those few minutes of your time sending a comment or an email could open the door to priceless friendships that will ensure your success in the new country. Without these interactions, survival is going to be extremely difficult. (Unless of course you're moving to a large city with a thriving expat community - which not everyone is lucky enough to be doing.) Don't take for granted that you'll be able to spot the foreigners after you arrive or find expat groups after you arrive. Start planning early!

Utilize communication tools like FaceBook or other social networks, Skype, emails and blog comments to start building friendships and networking. This is the best way to find out about the community you're moving into, the challenges you may face and any considerations you should make before packing, etc. Once you're there this person can be the lifeline you need when you're having a rough day. They can help you find things locally and guide you through actually living there as opposed to you living and surviving like a tourist. Having people to network with and visit with locally can give you the much needed mental relief when you're going through all the adjustments and culture shock you are sure to face after the move.

If you need referrals to some networking opportunities for gori-desi relationships don't hesitate to contact me. I can help you find online communities - not all of which I'm involved in though because we all have different personalities - and other bloggers who can help you on your path. At the very least, I would be happy to offer you search terms and other help as much as I can for non Indian-subcontinent countries or non-US countries as well. Take a chance and send a small comment or fill out a contact form. In the end, you will be happy you did so and you'll probably be one (or more) friend richer.

17 comments:

  1. What does the PI stand for after American Punjaban?

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  2. YAY!!!!
    How fun!!!
    My hubby texts & calls me constantly too whenever I go anywhere by myself.

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  3. It's comforting somehow to know we're not alone right? Lol. It's cute, but so annoying.

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  4. Oh I knew that, but I thought it meant something else in this context. Thank you though. :)

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  5. Sorry I replied to the wrong post. But I was saying:

    Oh I knew that, but I thought it meant something else in this context. Thank you though. :)

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  6. I guess you should thank me for i introduced you to Nicky Singh............ if that's the friend you went out with........ I am happy for you for atleast i see some positives coming out of your writing..........

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  7. I'm sorry! I had every intention of posting this earlier but, Thank You for introducing me to Nicky. She is one of several friends I have made here in the last couple of months.

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  8. Hi Kristy, I agree having friends makes all the difference. You give some really good advice to westerners intending on traveling to India. In hindsight, I should have made the effort.

    Nicky Singh.

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  9. So glad you were able to find a soul to share your experiences! 

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  10. Thank you! Even if you'd put in a good effort it's still hard to find people here. It took over a year to find you and that tip only came from another blog commenter. Others here I've gotten lucky with and they have found me. For this to be such a "small city", it sure is complicated running into other minorities (that should stand out).

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  11. Yes! I'm collecting lol. I've now met 6 and working on sending my contact information to a 7th that lives here. I never would have imagined there were so many in this area.

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  12. My husband texts me constantly when I'm at home from work. I can't imagine he gets any work done and he must think I have nothing better to do all day than stare at my phone. Which is only about 40% true shhhh it's a secret. It very much is cute and annoying all at te same time.

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  13. Hi! As a fellow american living in India (bangalore) i would love to know of a way to find some expats in the area! At times i feel like i just need a good old american girls night (talking, food, hanging out) and sometimes i just really really miss having a conversation thats all in english!

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  14. Great!!! I'm working on getting some ideas for you. I know someone who used to live there and she knows the area pretty well. You may also want to check out her blog.
    http://cynublog.blogspot.in/

    I also recommend joining InterNations as they have expat meetups in many cities across India and can help you meet plenty of other people in your area. Here's that link, and it says you have to request an invitation but all they do is send you an email with sign up information and you go to it and join. It's worth it. And I checked for you, they do have a Bangalore group.
    http://www.internations.org/

    There is also a Bangalore expatriates club in case InterNations is not your style (or in case you want more opportunities - I would take them all lol).
    http://www.bangalore-expatriate-club.com/

    There are FaceBook groups filled with Gori's from all over the world that I recommend you join if you are on FaceBook much. At current I use it to network with about 300+ gori wives/girlfriends and I've found it's been a great source of information. Here are a couple and there are other groups you can be invited to if these don't fit your needs but you would have to send me your FaceBook link on my FaceBook or it won't let me send you the information on those.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/234213619947411/
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/7795043775/

    I'll come back and comment with more as I run across them for you. Thanks for asking! I hope you find enough gori's to have your own kitty party. :D

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  15. Thanks so much!  This gives me something to go on!!! You have no idea how happy I am to have a path to start down and hopefully find some people to hang out with!

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  16. I'm glad I could help! The girl I know that used to live there says the expat group meets pretty regularly so you should be able to jump in soon and start finding other expats around you. Good luck!

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