Eat. Pray. Work… My life in India, a different kind of love story

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globe-india_i-11“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”– Neal Donald Walsch

Namaste friends!

When I was offered an opportunity to work abroad in India, I remember desperately searching for any information/stories about American women working there, and all I could find was a downloadable 10-page brochure about how Expat wives could adjust (obviously, not helpful).

Bad news was, I had to learn the hard way, good news is, if you happen to be offered a similar opportunity, you don’t have to.

Eat, Pray, Work … A Single Woman’s Guide to Working Abroad in India is a collection of posts from my time in India from my blog Going with the Flow

Although this is a way for me to share my work-related/personal experiences from my perspective (as someone that moved to India alone, as a single woman), regardless of whether you work in India or not, are a man or a woman, single or married, my hope is that you will not only enjoy these stories, but they will somehow encourage you to be open to experiences that take you out of your comfort zone, force you to live in the moment, or do something that not everyone else is doing. Trust me, it’s not as scary as it initially seems.

From the “WTF am I doing here” stage, to the “my hair is falling out” stage, to the moment India and I feel in love (December 2009 – March 2011) 

An Insider’s Guide to Doing Business in India via Executive Travel Magazine

Bryan Adams is extremely popular in India and a few random things you may not know about this fascinating country

  • It is totally acceptable and common for guys to hold hands and rub each other (however it’s a huge no no for guys and girls).
  • Guys can pee where ever they want. It’s totally fine.
  • You don’t ever pay full price for anything; or at least you don’t have to. Even at department stores you can ask for a discount and most of the time you will get it (ask for 10%-20%).
  • As crazy as the traffic is in India, if a black cat crosses the road everything comes to a halt until someone comes along that didn’t see the cat and is the first to “cross the path”.
  • If someone invites you over to their house at 9pm, you would never dare show up before 10pm.
  • At parties, dinner is the last thing to be served (usually around 11pm or 12am) and once you’re done eating, it’s time to go home.
  • It’s common for your co-workers or customers to call you at 11pm, even on the weekends.
  • When you order a beer in India it will be presented to you before they serve it … your job is to touch it to ensure the temperature is to your liking and then say yes (or theek hai if you want to be fancy and speak in Hindi) to accept, or no to get another colder one.
  • If it’s your birthday, not only do you bake sweets (or buy them) for everyone (and feed everyone by hand – really) you also have to pay for everyone if you go out for dinner or drinks. Happy Birthday?

Incredible India

Go there! Love it or hate it, India is nothing less than incredible.

First Week (Feels like it was a month!)

India Gate - Delhi

I am sitting at the airport on my way back to Delhi (feels weird to be on a domestic flight; should be International right?!) after by far the craziest weeks of my life. I seriously could sleep for 3 days straight if I could but I just found out that I may have to travel again next week. Has anyone ever died of exhaustion? Seriously. So, here is a little glimpse into my first week in India. I have so many stories but I haven’t had time to write. I had to write out what I did this week because last Sunday feels like a month ago (hopefully this is not an indication of how this year is going to go) and I wouldn’t be able to remember anything without doing this. As you read this please remember that all of these experiences came as a result of a 30 second conversation 3 months ago at the end of a meeting that I almost cancelled. Crazy!

Typical scene in Delhi/Gurgaon - Can you spot the camel?

Sunday – Arrived in Delhi at 9:30 pm from San Diego via Newark. Culture shock not so bad this time since I had a colleague/friend traveling with me. Monday – (Delhi) Meeting with Events team in Delhi from 9am-7pm to finalize upcoming events. 1 hour of traffic, Dinner. Tuesday – (Delhi) Set up all day. Press Conference. Launch Event in Delhi. Wednesday – (Bangalore) 10am Flight to Bangalore, set up and Launch Event in Bangalore Thursday – (Mumbai) Meeting with golf course developers, Mani/Pedi (for $12!), Curry Mojito and Flight to Mumbai Friday – (Delhi) Retailer Meeting, Event set-up, Photo Shoot, Launch Event in Mumbai, Bollywood Party. Tonight – Flight back to Delhi, Move into my apartment, Retailer Launch Event in Gurgaon. Sunday – Sleep all day! So many stories to tell in just the first week. This is kind of fun!

Castle in Bangalore
Just arrived in Mumbai
Gateway of India - Mumbai


View from the Terrace at the Taj Palace

We were setting up for the Mumbai launch event on this beautiful outdoor terrace. The DJ arrived and was playing some good music so of course I had to make a request. I asked him if he had Kings of Leon, he had no idea who I was talking about. Ten minutes later I hear “Manhattan” start playing super loud on this terrace (they had downloaded the song for me). I looked up at the Gateway of India and thought, “seriously, how did I get here?!” Amazing.