Journey to India
A year as a Hyderabad Expat
A whole seven months later! but as the saying goes, better late than never! As some of you may already know, I (Vannie) have relocated to Hyderabad, India for one year on an expatriate assignment. Honestly, the first 6 months flew right by me. It took some time to settle and get adjusted, then soon after I started traveling and have not stopped. I thought it was time that I start sharing my experiences with you guys. I promise to do better and be more forthcoming, sharing tidbits about my India experience, my personal journey being away for a year, as well as any outside travels that I partake in.
I decided to take on the assignment because I have wanted to live abroad and learn a new language since I graduated college. My thoughts were always on either a French or Spanish speaking country as I do have some background in both. I am normally very risk averse when it comes to my financials so I never got around to moving anywhere. Never did I imagine packing my bags and embarking on this journey to India but when the opportunity presented itself I knew it was an offer I couldn’t pass on.
Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana state, is located in south-central India. With a population of over 11 million, it is now the 4th most populous city in India. Previously known for its thriving film industry, the city is now a hub of trade and commerce and an international center for information technology (IT). Pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, and textiles are among some of the items manufactured there. There is also a strong presence of financial institutions in the area. Hyderabad is known for its famous ‘Biryani dish” which is rice mixed with vegetables and/or meat with a very spicy sauce.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect moving here. When I began my research, it was challenging to find information on expatriates in India from a black woman’s perspective. I posted in various groups, and although some had visited for some time, no one actually resided there long term. I didn’t know if I would get acclimated….would I find a Christian church? What would I wear in this excruciating 105 degree weather? How spicy is spicy? LOL. There were also tons of warnings about racism, rape and the constant stare that I will be subjected to as a black woman. I had tons of questions and concerns floating in my head; further deepened by the horrific look I would get from friends and family when I made them aware of my plans. Nevertheless, I did not let that dissuade me.
I had about two months to plan for my trip. My company set up everything. Somehow, I thought I’d simply pack my bags and leave. What was I thinking? The process ended up being very hectic between my personal life and items that I needed to set up for work. There were tons of paperwork to go through, along with packing up my house, my office, finding a someone to lease my place for a year, and various dates with family and friends. Helas! I made it to Hyderabad, India on Sunday the 6th of May 2018. Hooray!
I flew Qatar Airways business class and let me tell you, it was the best flight I have had thus far! I flew first class on Air France and Emirates Business in the past but Qatar Airways is truly on another level. I was on a red eye, which is best when traveling long distance. I was super tired when I got on the flight so I opted to get my dinner right away and went to sleep. All I remember was my attendant waking me up asking if I wanted to do breakfast because the flight was landing in an hour. I did not feel a thing! As I said this was the best flight ever! I had a stop in Doha and the business class lounge is hands down the most beautiful I have seen. It is huge and has multiple levels! It has a nice water feature in the middle in a huge chandelier that leads to the upstairs dining room. I love interior design and felt truly at home!
I was peacefully eating my dinner when an attendant came and ask my name and told me that my flight was waiting on me. Lol somehow I had mistaken my departing time for my boarding time. Hey, I was tired ok! The real question is…How did they know who I was? There was about six attendants waiting to lead me to the plane. I got in and three hours later landed in Hyderabad, India. After grabbing all of my five suitcases (Yes FIVE!) I contacted my driver who was set up by my assigned relocation agent and made my way to the hotel.
Thus started my year long journey in India. I am so glad that I said yes to the unknown and hello to new adventures! I have experienced so much growth personally, physically as well as spiritually. So far I have travelled to 10 cities in India and six different Asian countries. I would absolutely highly recommend living abroad, and YES, even in India.
Have you ever taken on an expat assignment or lived abroad? What was that experience like? If not, would you ever consider it if presented? We would love to hear from you. Comment and let us know your thoughts and if you have any questions about the journey.
Until Next Time!
Steph & Vannie