That weirdo who lives abroad.
This post is way overdue, and although I could give you so many excuses as to why it has taken me so long to post, none would suffice. Pure laziness and lack of motivation has kept me stagnant. But here is my third attempt to get back into the swing of things and let you all know about my life in Kolkata.Two weekends ago I attended a U.S Consulate town meeting, hoping that I would find some fellow Americans who have also dedicated themselves to the expat life in Kolkata. It has been an exhausting search for the expat community of Kolkata, at this point finding a burger and pork joint has been easier than finding expats. So I thought that if Americans were to join up anywhere, that maybe they’d decide to go to the town hall meeting with the same desperation that I had in meeting other people my age. It turned out that I was maybe one of six people who were not of Indian decent, and most of the meeting was spent listening to over protective Indian-American parents asking questions about what they can do to make sure that there children end up in the top U.S Colleges. Trust me, it was not the meet and great that I had hoped for. The silver lining to this story, is that I mustered up the courage to ask the one younger foreign officers, “Where are all the expats in Kolkata?!?!?!”. Luckily I was not the only one in feeling like a loner in a city of more than 4.5 million people. It was relieving to know that the Expat community is weak but that my greatest luck will be in trying to meet people randomly in a popular American owned coffee spot. Even though he was the only person I talked to that day, you could imagine how ecstatic I was to meet someone who was just as excited to meet another American living in Kolkata. We met up the next day at 8th Day Coffee, and walking in the tables were filled with foreign NGO workers and travelers, it was like a dream come true. We had a nice conversation about the realities of living abroad, the importance of finding a community, the difficulties of finding people who are not on vacation and living here for more than six months, and the commonality that we are the weirdos who decide to live abroad. That was one of the harder points to accept, mainly because my purpose for being here feels so normal, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way, but for so many of my friends, the constant traveling and working abroad, away from family is a topic is almost always out of the question. So maybe he has a good point. The fact that I am living in Kolkata, working on the ground where so much child trafficking is happening, and fighting it by working for an organization that gives over 200 girls and 50 women the opportunity to make something more of their lives, is very incredible and such an honor to be a part of. For that reason alone, it should be the motivation to keep up on my blog. If anything I hope that when people read this, they get a better understanding of different cultures, learn about India (if you dig deeper Paraguay, Argentina, Peru and Ghana as well) and also to give them the courage to step out of their comfort zone and live abroad. I promise you that you will grow in so many ways, and will create life long memories.