What do you miss when you live away from home?
Family? Friends? Culture?
Well, you would be surprised! The geographical divide, in fact, brings you closer to your dear ones. You are far more connected than before, thanks to Skype and Whatsapp.
Living away makes you realise the worth of those little things that you take for granted otherwise! Funny, how you crave for what you would dismiss without even batting an eyelid.
On one rainy day in Nairobi, while I was sitting in my balcony sipping a piping hot cup of tea, I had a strong urge to eat samosas! Unlike India, where you have ample options to buy samosas from, other countries do not.
Let us put it this way, in Nairobi, the cost of a samosa includes:
- Return taxi fare = 1200 kshs
- Samosa cost = 400 kshs approx
- Unnecessary expenses just because you travel to the market area = 3000 kshs approx
So basically, 4600 kshs for a plate of samosas!!!! (Read: 2800 rupees).
The figure briefly kills your appetite but the cravings remain! I had, until I left for Nairobi, very basic culinary skills. I did enjoy cooking at leisure – trying my hand at Chinese and Continental cuisines or sweets. But samosas are so easily available that even the thought of having to cook them at home was alien! So I did the unthinkable – I looked up the recipe on the internet and made hot, delicious samosas for the first time ever in my life!!! What joy!
Have you ever craved for ‘Haldiram’s aloo bhujia’?! Never in India, did I even consider purchasing a packet of bhujias. But the joy of seeing it at the supermarket in Nairobi made me lunge at it! I relished a whole packet that day!
Its strange how our mind works. I wonder what leads to these insatiable urges to consume what you would otherwise disregard. Is it:
- The idea of seeing something known in an unfamiliar setting
- An inexplicable longing only because it is not available to you freely
Perhaps both, perhaps neither!
You come across different challenges in a new country (especially with regards to food) and you manage to sail through on your own. I don’t think I could’ve learnt it better any other way!
My first challenge came soon after we reached Nairobi. The box of utilities and spices that we had shipped from India to last us until we figure out where to buy kitchen supplies from went missing for 12 days! We had two options:
- Panic and begin our life in Nairobi on a bad note
- Make the most out of what we had and make this a memorable experience
We chose the latter!
My husband and I are foodies. We live to eat. So cooking, definitely was one of the skills I acquired during my stint in Nairobi. We craved, we cooked, we felt confident! The more we felt comfortable cooking, the more we experimented!
Cooking, while in India, was an effort / a task given the paucity of time and erratic work schedules. But in Nairobi, we bonded over recipes! I owe it to the work life balance there. We started enjoying cooking, not only to please our taste buds, but also because we could share a new hobby! Never had I imagined that we would diligently watch Masterchef Australia together or try adding flavours to our food by using different kinds of fresh herbs! These will always be the most cherished memories of my expat life…It brought out a different side of us.
I have come to believe that ‘We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges’…Because challenges make you think and explore. The truth is that expat life teaches you a lot more than you can imagine.
- It makes you a lot more independent and self sufficient
- It teaches you the value of smaller joys in life
- It makes you realise your potential – you end up doing things that you wouldn’t imagine you could do!
So here is some food for thought my friends, don’t let challenges bog you down. There is always a way out…you just need to look hard enough! Every experience is an opportunity to learn, if you make the most of it…