Why living in a new country is like getting a new boyfriend (or, how to be content)

So there’s been radio silence while I was in New Zealand. Apologies… and it wasn’t even that there was nothing to say (I always have things to say), but more the sheer volume of stuff that happened and the breadth of life it covered. I caught up with many family and friends, had many conversations, so many tears shed.

I don’t suppose you will be interested in my navel-gazing, so apologies if you were hoping for exciting travel stuff.

When you break up and then get a new partner, they always tell you that you shouldn’t compare exes with new loves. There are likely very good reasons for this, but inevitably, you do it. I think this is the same when you move countries, and then go back and compare the two. You shouldn’t do it.

I did. Of course.

So, here’s my list:

Why NZ is better than India

  • The lack of pollution.
  • The ease of commuting. Seriously, 20 minutes across town. In Bangalore, that’s two and a bit hours at LEAST. In Blore, if we are going across town, we joke about having to pack a picnic lunch. But it’s no joke. Seriously, you have to pack snacks.
  • The condition of the roads and footpaths. In fact, infrastructure in general. Life is so much easier.
  • The hills. I can go for a run in the hills, they are SO CLOSE and totally gorgeous. Or I can walk along the beach. Or both. I did so much of this.
  • The people are so friendly and totally honest.
  • There are no monkeys breaking into my apartment.
  • Pics peanut butter, Whittakers chocolate, and fantastic cheese.

So why am I back in India?

Why India is better than NZ

  • I am warm here. -2oC is cold. 27oC is about right.
  • It’s so close to other places, travel is so much easier.
  • The crazy is addictive. The chaos feeds me. NZ is boring.
  • Butter doesn’t cost $6 for 500grams. SERIOUSLY, NZ? REALLY?!
  • The food. OK NZ food is ok but the traditional Indian food just sets my heart on fire!
  • The opportunities here are endless. Everyone has something to sell, something to buy. India is the home of entrepreneurship, albeit often accompanied by failure. There is an almost naïve support of people starting their own business and it’s frustrating for the realist in me but compared to the NZ love of tearing people down, it’s absolutely refreshing.
  • It’s really easy to make friends. OK I find it easy to make friends even in NZ but over here I can barely leave the house without falling over someone who wants to be my friend.

Life- and countries- aren’t neat enough to fit into ordered lists though. It’s a bit more complex than that.

I think the real reason I am in India is because I needed more.

All my life, I’ve pushed. I’ve wanted more. I have pushed myself, I’ve tried everything, and nothing gave me any lasting happiness. Something that has come up again and again in my life, is that I’m striving for something. It’s been a very unfocussed strive, pushing myself in all directions at once. Career, relationships, my pursuit of hedonistic pleasure, fitness… always striving for more. Leave school, get a job, push myself harder at work, get married, get degree, get divorced, more career, running half marathons, run a theatre group, a constant stream of boyfriends always looking for the next one, push, push, push. Nothing really satisfied and I was never good enough. Always tumbling head first into the next thing, the next role, the next show, the next race.

I thought it was normal. I thought everyone had this relentless internal drive. And when I found out that it’s not normal, I was still OK with it in myself, because it does get things done. I like myself just as I am. As a friend told me, the beauty of me lies in how unapologetically ‘me’ I am.

Then, India. For the first time in my life, I’m utterly content. India is my Ritalin, in a way. In a normal person, Ritalin speeds you up and gives you a high. In someone with ADHD, Ritalin calms and settles you. India is intoxicating, overwhelming, and challenging. For a normal person (who didn’t grow up in India) it could be too much. It can burn you out, chew you up, and spit you out very quickly. For me… its chaos matches the energy, the vibrancy, the madness inside me. It’s levelled me out, calmed me down, and it’s made me content.

Content.

I’m still adventuring, still living a joyous life, still pushing myself with my business, still trying to be fit, eat everything, and meet everyone… but there’s a tranquillity in me that I don’t recognise as part of me. This is a new thing. And I like it.

Postscript: Reza just informed me his name LITERALLY means ‘content’.  Kismet!

2 thoughts on “Why living in a new country is like getting a new boyfriend (or, how to be content)

    1. You are always welcome to come visit- Bangalore isn’t the most exciting of Indian cities, but it’s easy to travel from here.

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