Living Abroad… I am new to it!
I have lived all across India, thanks to my Dad being in the Army. I have moved 6 schools in 12 years of my schooling. Stayed in small towns, big towns, met a lot of new people, made a lot of new friends and packed it all up and moved to a new place every 2.5–3 years.
Since 2000 I have been in Bombay (well barring 2003–2005 when I was in Pune to do my MBA. But, Pune is almost like Bombay, it’s the backyard of Bombay). So it had almost been 14 years of living in Bombay. A lot happened in those 14 years. I met someone, I fell in love, got married, moved to Andheri (from Mulund, my grandmother’s house), switched a couple of jobs, started my own business etc. etc.
Then in February of 2014, my sister announced that she is moving to Australia. In August 2014, my parents announced that they are moving to Malaysia. It was the logical choice for us to explore something as well. Come September of 2014, my wife got a chance of moving to Singapore. Not bad at all.
Things we not at their best on the work front for me, so we thought maybe this is a good time to explore the opportunity of living and working abroad. We decided to take it up.
Now, coming from a ‘developing country’ where labor is cheap, a lot changes and it hits you hard. I am trying to list down some things that matter to me:
1. Convenience: Well, Singapore is super convenient when it comes to public transport, but other conveniences like ‘free home delivery’ of food, grocery, online shopping etc. doesn’t exist at all!
2. House Help: Yes, house help is available if you are willing to shell out the same amount every week as you were every month in India, so most new comers like us, don’t venture in that direction. Armed with a vacuum cleaner and a mop, you get to it yourself 3–4 times a week.
3. Food: Coming from a country where ‘home cooked food’ is the best food evaaaaaa (sorry got a little carried away here), eating out every day like the locals just doesn’t go down well. Initially it is great, but then you think to yourself maybe you can do this on your own. And I don’t mean cooking the usual daal, sabji, roti etc. but just cooking at home. Sometimes I just end up skipping lunch altogether out of the sheer thought of making something for just myself.
4. Social Life: We had a decently active social life in Bombay. Midweek or weekend something or the other was happening with friends. Even though everyone we know had someone or the other in Singapore, it is never the same.
5. Employment: Let us be honest here. Finding a job in a new country isn’t the easiest thing to do. I have pretty much lost count of the number of jobs I have applied for here. Being on a dependent pass doesn’t help either because you aren’t officially allowed to work in Singapore. Any job you apply to, has the question — Are you allowed to work in Singapore? I guess half my application get rejected when I answer no.
Sitting at home isn’t easy. Sitting at home jobless is even more difficult. The thing on your agenda for the day being mopping and cleaning the house or doing the dishes is not something that does well to your sanity.
I have been job hunting for the past 76 days and all I have managed is 2 interviews and a few meetings. When it gets too much, such posts tend to come about.