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How I Found My Bliss As A Foreigner Living In India

31/03/2016 8:25 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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The India gate also called as all Indian War Memorial is a memorial of soldiers who died in the first world war. New Delhi, India

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Image source: personal archive of the author

When I was packing my bags for a one-month holiday in India, I had no idea that I'd end up staying for more than two years. I landed in India with a few sweaters and a cosmetic bag. I did not carry any of my "important" personal belongings, and I did not say goodbye to anyone in my country. I had no intention to stay here for any longer than I had planned.

However, due to unplanned and incredible circumstances, I ended up living in New Delhi with my Indian husband and his family. After the initial surprise, shock, tears and then acceptance, nostalgia took over. I missed home, the people I had left behind, old habits and the lifestyle in my country (Bosnia and Herzegovina). I even started missing people and things which used to irritate me over there, such as dried leaves falling from the trees and snow (I always wanted to live in a place where there was sunshine all year round).

Family, I discovered, is not only defined by a bloodline. I was accepted here by my husband's family with so much love

But despite all that, I firmly decided to make the best out of this experience and truly enjoy all the good things available to me here in India.

If I look back I would not change a thing.

I've become wiser, stronger and more confident

Leaving my country and everything known and dear to me meant that I was well and truly out of my comfort zone. I had to make new friends, accept a new culture and customs, adjust to a different lifestyle, different people, start learning new language... But, thanks to all of that I now have the confidence to live anywhere. I can manage on my own and that I will do well wherever life takes me.

I had a big life lesson on detachment from material possessions

I was collecting so many "things" over the years, but now I'm realizing that I do not actually miss them, as everything is replaceable and I can buy them here in India. I miss only a few things which have sentimental value to me, like locket gifted to me by my sister, a family photo album with pictures of my late father, some of my books.

As I learned more about Indian traditions and way of living all the things which I was looking at as weird... started to make some sense.

This experience revealed to me how wonderful, reliable and trustworthy my friends back home are. I found I could rely on them for just about everything, from getting the paperwork and payments done in my name to moving out all my belongings out from my rented flat. All needed to do was to make one phone call or send a Facebook message.

I learned how much all the people in my life mean to me and to cherish every single moment

I learned that even if you go to another continent and country that is totally different and unknown to you, you can still find and meet people who will be just like you and whom you will be able to become good friends with. Family, I discovered, is not only defined by a bloodline. I was accepted here by my husband's family with so much love that I truly feel like they are my own.

I learned that despite all the differences in religion, culture, traditions, skin colour, ethnic heritage, language... people everywhere are just the same, deep inside: they all want to love and be loved, to raise their children into good humans that they will be proud of and they want to make a small difference in this world while being present here on this planet.

If there is the one thing I "got" while living in India and which I will carry with me for a lifetime it is a judgment detox!

As I learned more about Indian traditions and way of living all the things which I was looking at as weird, or which were totally not acceptable to me coming from Europe (like arranged marriages), started to make some "sense". I can see that is the way that things work here and in these circumstances they are totally "normal".

I enjoy a great standard of living

If there is the one thing I "got" while living in India and which I will carry with me for a lifetime it is a judgment detox!

Although I miss my country because that's where my roots are, here in India I am rewarded with so many pleasures of life which I would be missing back home.

I am a vegetarian, which is pretty tough in Europe, but here in India I'm in culinary heaven. The food is so delicious and there is such a variety of tropical fruits, vegetables, lentils, spices, flavour. India also offers so much nourishment for the soul as well... it is a heaven for spiritual practice as well.

I am a vegetarian, which is pretty tough in Europe, but here in India I'm in culinary heaven.

Then, back home I would not be able to afford all the domestic help I now have. I enjoy watching Bollywood movies, celebrating Indian festivals and marriages (music, dance and party planning are once in a lifetime experience here!).

As all my work is online, I can do my job in the garden in front of my apartment under the palm trees while sipping coconut water... that's been my dream, or rather fantasy, for a long time.

I've had the opportunity to learn so much about spirituality, Hinduism, Vedic astrology, not to mention the fascinating architecture and cultural heritage. I also have a soft spot for Delhi Zoo, where I can see all the animals I thought I'd only ever be able to watch on National Geographic channel!

I do not know for how long I will stay in India but one thing I know for sure: the wisdom, memories, the Indian people who showered me with so much love and my personal transformation will stay with me forever.

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