Judging by the response that I have received from various people to this news, you probably fall into one of the following categories: “India?! Are you crazy?” or “Wow! What an amazing experience!”
If I’m totally honest with you, my emotions are swinging wildly between the two.
Let’s start at the beginning. A few months ago I wrote the blog post entitled ‘Too Afraid to Seize the Day’, but I didn’t post it until only a few days ago. I had been watching International teaching vacancies come and go, but something was holding me back from applying for them.
Put simply, I was afraid.
I am living in one of the world’s cleanest, safest, and most beautiful cities, where I have access to the best social welfare system, the best healthcare, and I’m close to my family. No doubt about it, giving up this comfortable life in Stockholm is a crazy thing to do.
But life has lost its colour, and I’m restless. Rent alone costs almost half of my monthly salary. A meal in a restaurant only happens once every few months: the guilt about spending so much money on it lasts even longer. I live to work, and there is not much beyond that. My boyfriend’s night shifts mean that his work schedule is the complete opposite of mine, and when I travel he can’t come with me. In Sweden it will be years before we can save enough money to put a deposit on an apartment, and it will most likely be a tiny studio apartment. Stockholm’s crazy rental system means that we have to move at least once a year (three times last year). I feel like I am living like a student. Is this what I want for the next ten years of my life?
The answer is, of course, no.
Last weekend I attended a Recruitment Fair organised through a teaching agency called Search Associates. I, alongside 200 teachers and 160 schools from around the world, descended on a hotel in Kensington, London, to participate in an intense 4-day scrabble for jobs. I arranged interviews for schools in Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. I accepted a job in Mumbai.
India is filthy, chaotic, and desperately poor. The country is at the bottom of every Quality of Life Index. And on top of that the Delhi rapes, and cases of sexual harassment, have marked India as unsafe for women. These reasons, and probably many more, are enough to frighten even the hardiest traveller.
When the school made their offer I had a lot to think about. I posted on my Runaway Brit Facebook page to gauge a general reaction and received an overwhelmingly negative response. The same concerns came up repeatedly: poverty, dirt, and safety. Many said that India is great to visit, but not to live. I didn’t disagree with them, yet still I felt that I should consider the offer.
For some reason, in a way that I cannot begin to explain, this feels right.
I have been to India before: there is absolutely no sugar-coating the scale of poverty, and, of course, safety is the biggest concern.
That afternoon and evening was spent gleaning every bit of information I could about living in Mumbai. I met with my advisor who knew the school well and only had good things to say. I found expat groups on Facebook, and a British blogger who has lived in Mumbai for two years. I contacted her straight away and asked her primarily about safety. I read websites, my boyfriend watched documentaries. By the time I woke up the next morning, I was ready to say yes.
Arriving at the hotel an hour before my meeting, I sat in the candidates’ lounge where a woman asked me if I was having any luck at the fair. I told her that I had received an offer in India and her eyes lit up “How wonderful!” she exclaimed “What an amazing opportunity”. The lady next to her chimed in—her father lives in Mumbai and she knew of the school. Buoyed by their positivity I went upstairs and signed the paper.
I am moving to Mumbai in July, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
I know that people will continue to think that I am crazy, but isn’t life a bit more interesting with some crazy thrown in?
Am I crazy to move to Mumbai? Leave a comment below.
Go for it girl. I love the hustle and bustle of India. The noises the music the people the food the smells the spices the traffic the crowds the restaurants the architecture.and the chance to be an extra in a film Hurray for Bollywood! … You’ll have the time of your life… can I come too?
You are right, India is such a great country. I will definitely be looking out for a role in a Bollywood movie. I would love to be able to draw like you do, there will be so many amazing things to see. Can you teach me? You are more than welcome to visit 🙂
You’re not crazy at all! Fantastic opportunity! We need to challenge ourselves constantly to be truly alive. Plus you will learn so much more living there than you could passing through!
I agree, and people seem to be more positive about it now. It’s going to be amazing. You are welcome to visit any time!
Hmmmm Don’t make rash promises! May turn up on your doorstep!
Seriously, all that corny stuff about. regretting what you didn’t do, not what you did? It’s true!
You would be absolutely welcome if you turned up on the doorstep!
Nope, not crazy. If I were going to move to a city in India, Mumbai would be it. I’ve heard pretty good things, actually. It’s going to be so exciting! Can’t wait to follow your journey 🙂
I think so, and I have been reading plenty of blogs about it. I think it’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to start writing about it!
I don’t think you’re crazy at all! I spent a month living in Mumbai and loved it, only wish I could have stayed longer. You’re going to have an amazing experience 🙂
That’s so great to hear! Do you have any tips for life in Mumbai?
Oh my yass im 17 years and im moving to India , Bangalore in July too im just as excited and yes im leaving so much of comfort zone behind , but i have done my research and i think its about time for an adventure and great experience of my life.
My sister went this January and left for Mumbai she is attending a cosmetolgy college , she is doing just Fine 19 years old and pursuing her dream career in a foreign country , btw she is doing just GREAT! she loves it there she is having so much funny exploring and all she just says beware of those sweet talkers eg those who ask you where you are from and say things like i can drop you off at your home or can i take you out for dinner , she says ignore and walk away , so just know with who you really share deep information with, other wise have fun im excited to be moving too, yes i know im very young only 17 years i will be schooling there and all the jazz , btw my sis is literally doing shopping everyday , you shld just know how to negiotate prices for your own benefit 🙂
eek #Excited when exactly you leaving ?
I have just revisited this post and saw your comment, I’m not sure how I missed it before!
I have now been in Mumbai for two weeks, and am enjoying myself so far. As you said, I have been shopping almost every day and eating out for every meal!
I don’t assume you’re crazy at all! I spent a month living in Mumbai and adored it, solely would like I might have stayed longer. You’re reaching to have an incredible expertise .
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