Monday, October 7, 2013

Living as an Expat - Or Not

Recently I shared with you part of the reason I don't feel I've faced many problems as a woman living in India. As I stated in Gender Segregation and Living as a Woman In India, I don't often go out alone and most often my company/escort/guardian is a male family member. In addition to that, I feel that I'm living in quite possibly the greatest city in India when it comes to pretty much every single factor. The general population here is cool and incidents of harassment and crime are relatively low compared to what we hear out of other parts of India.
I frequently get contacted by people who want to know more about my expat lifestyle, particularly, the ways I've connected with other expats staying in the same area. I gotta be honest - I haven't. All my friends here are Hindustanis, and I hang with them or my Indian family. Granted, I know or have met a handful of people here that were not from India but I've never sought out or participated in any activity geared towards Expats.
That being said, I am part of an Expat Forum, which I joined before I moved here. It provides some good resources and many of us share our blog posts on that site. I find it really interesting to read about others' experiences, so long as I can do so at an arms length.
Let me share with you the top few reasons I'm turned off by the requests for Expat meet-ups that have been sent my way:
  • They're all sent by men.
  • The men sending them are Indian.
  • The Indian men sending them have never been outside the country.
Let me tell you what this means. It means they're not Expats! Why are they trying to set up a meeting for Expats?!?! As much as I love this city, don't tell me they're goodwill ambassadors just trying to ensure everyone feels welcomed here.
Let me tell you why they send them:
  • They're looking for romance.
  • They're looking for money.
  • They're looking for a visa opportunity (really this last one is just a combination of the first two).
On a smaller scale:
  • It's fashionable to have the "white" friend.
  • They want to improve their English
  • They want you to find them a job abroad (you can read more about my thoughts on that topic in Refer a Friend.......or Not)
Granted they don't say this outright but I'm stickin' with my gut on this one. I'll share with you now, a few of the requests for meet-ups I've received:
  • Hai my friend.. I'm from Hyd hmmm if u need a friend then plz remember me.. Anyways plz take care n keep smiling
  • Greetings. Hope you are doing great. Well, I'm from Hyderabad, an Engineer and Ex. Professor by profession. Photography is my passion. Now a days, I am inclined towards capturing Non-Indian faces in Indian cultural and tradition wear.I found you in this blog. Can I request you to spare some time from your daily work to volunteer in this? This is completely non-commercial work and I'm doing this only for the sake of art. Hope you can understand my passion towards photography. I will be glad if you can give me a knock any time.
  • I want friendship , from u , will u please accept me , if so plz mail me
  • Iam male from Hyderabad, i want to be ur friend
Here are my responses had I sent them:
  • I'd forgotten you before I finished reading your message. Also, unless you're into Kung Fu, it's spelled HI or HELLO.
  • 1. I didn't ask. 2. Pervert
  • Unacceptable over indulgence of commas. Please continue practicing your English and build some self-confidence so you don't come across as pathetic and desperate. Perhaps that will help you gain friends.
So, my friends, that's why I avoid the Expat scene.

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