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8 Struggles Indian expat wives know too well

8 Struggles Indian expat wives know too well

This post first appeared on Times Of India  By Swati Chauhan  

When my parents started looking for a suitable match for me, the one thing that I specifically told them to avoid was foreign settled boys. I had seen my close relatives settled outside earning to be with their family members and missing out on almost all the weddings and family functions and certainly didn’t want to be in the same spot. Call it destiny or a joke of fate that they some somehow ended up choosing an NRI for me. I spoke to him over the internet and we had long video calls…thanks to skye! Few days down the line I had shaken hands and joined in with destiny’s plans casting away all my fears and leaving my worries to the wind.

But reality is not always as colourful as our dreams. So when my dream got over and I was finally woken up from my slumber I realized what all I had lost travelling those 1000miles away from home.


expat indian wife

The hard to let go struggle:

Only someone who has spent years chasing grades and degrees would know the significance of a good job and when you do land that coveted job title all the struggles, the sacrifices seem worth it. And then you are asked to give it up all in one go- just like that! All those sleepless nights of tireless studies, the pride of holding your degrees, the crazy chase to find your dream job, all gone in one moment. You have a sheepish something’s-not-right feeling in your tummy when you finally submit your resignation letter but you are too lost in the combined ecstasy of the new found love of your partner and the excitement for your upcoming married life together to pay heed to the warning signs.


Lost in transition:

Leaving home is not easing, leaving your country even difficult. Imagine moving thousands of miles away from everything you once identified with , grew up with. Imagine preparing yourself for a life away from all the comfort and familiarity of familiar faces, known places and supportive family members to embrace a country that speaks a different language, looks different, is full of strangers and has even stranger ways of living that you are yet to discover. It is easy to feel totally lost and isolated

 expat wives

The missing home syndrome:

The farther you go away from home, the more you miss it. The more you encounter inconveniences and disruptions in your daily life, the more you want to leave everything and just go back home. But it’s only after hubby has left for office, you actually experience the gaping void in your life that no amount of internet surfing, movie watching or even online shopping can fill. You try new recipes, think of innovative ways to give your home a new look only to realize your efforts are in vain. You chat up with friends on watsapp, call up your family back home but soon notice their life is following a rhythm different form yours now, maybe it is the distance, the different time zone, you don’t know.


Daily frustration:

You discover life outside is not just different but a lot more difficult as well. Something you were not prepared for! There is no house help to mop the floor or do your dishes and you are more or less dependent on yourself or your partner for everything. You don’t bake a cake in excitement any more , you cook because you feel hungry, If you leave your dishes undone at night and choose to sleep early you are faced with a stinking , unwelcoming kitchen sink the next morning. And no matter how cold or windy it is outside, you still need to go out and get your weekly groceries.


Work permit struggle

After spending weeks and sometimes months trying to get hold of yourself and your life you finally reach the conclusion that the only thing that can bring stability and maybe a little happiness in your life is a job. So you pull out that old resume from some hidden folders in your mailbox , somehow update it struggling to explain the gap of sitting at home and look for job openings. And then it dawns on you , you do not have a valid work permit!


Reality check:

So you are finally confronted with reality. You are miles away from home, in a land where you either don’t understand the language or the dialect, you have no social circle, you haven’t eaten your favourite snacks in a long long time and you don’t even know your next door neighbours. You have lost your job, the support of your family and friends, your right to work and be independent.  You do take fascinating trips to some really awesome places but that’s once in five months but the rest of the time you just whirl away time chatting up with friends on social networks or watching soaps you never believed you would.


The Identity crisis:

And if that’s not enough, your identity in the government registers is now a dependent and there is nothing you can do about it

You realize slowly it’s not just a job you lost, you have also lost your identity, you are now just someone’s wife, not the engineer, beautician, recruiter, nurse you used to be. There was a time when you were defined by your career choices, the company you worked for , the job title you carried but today you have lost your job title , professional skills and financial dependence and there is no one to blame for it but you.


That inadequate feeling:

Research suggests that being in a stable job contributes to the happiness and well-being for an individual and counts much more than the salary. Somehow being in a job and knowing that you are contributing  as a productive member of the society gives your self-esteem a great boost and you acknowledge yourself as positive and wanted but when this means to be a contributing member of the society is taken away from you, you struggle to find balance and your self-worth.

The stages after this are different for a lot of people, some get lost trying to cope u with the new country and its ways of living while some manage to hold on to their dreams and find ways of fulfilling them in a strange odd land but the initial few months /years everyone goes through a major struggle. The struggle of regaining your life back, the battle of building your dreams back!

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Motivational Blog says: December 15, 2014

    I enjoyed this blog post. It was inspiring and informative.

    • swatic12 says: January 5, 2015

      Thanks Motivational Blog,
      Goad you enjoyed it!

  2. Nadir H says: January 6, 2015

    I read your latest article about 25 New year resolutions and really liked it. Hence exploring the site, stumbled upon this article. Since I am based in US, although I am a guy, I can understand some of these pains. It is indeed very hard to leave the world one always knew for a new beginning in a new place and with totally unknown circumstances. Also I am a fellow computer engineer and loved that you have taken to your passion and cultivating it further.

    Here are a couple of typos I came across, I am sure its software induced. Third line, “settled outside earning to be” – ‘yearning’ to be. Another is ‘Skype’ instead of ‘thanks to skye!’.

    Good going, I wish you the best.

    • swatic12 says: February 25, 2015

      Thanks Nadir ,

      Yes, it’s a big challenge to adjust in a new country and I think you go through it everyday in some form .
      I am happy you enjoyed the article.
      Keep visiting the site and hope you will enjoy all your reads here.

  3. Nandita says: March 5, 2015

    Totally loved this article. Everybit of it seems to be so very true. Looks like I am on the same page!!


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