Sunday, May 2, 2010

Guest Post Series: The Roses and the Thorns by Arwa Lokhandwala

An expatriate life offers a peek at the different shades of life, with each moment bringing forth something new to experience. There is so much to learn, enjoy and feel at each step that it leaves you overwhelmed but wanting more at the same time. But along with the roses, the expat life “bush” has thorns too.

Living in a place that has a culture and life style different from your own tends to be challenging. The language, food habits, people – the differences come into play in each phase. Until the fears and challenges are confronted, the path ahead looks very tough.

Living life as an expat for me personally has been challenging and fulfilling. Initially I faced problems, and took time to come to terms with the new situation but keeping a positive attitude and a willingness to learn has seen me through. With each passing day, I learn, unlearn and relearn something new, keeping my mind free of prejudices.

Every moment that I have enjoyed being in the Netherlands has been a highlight for me. If it has to be defined, the highlight of my expat life is definitely having family and making some wonderful friends out here in the Netherlands. I have been fortunate enough to make some very lovely friends from different parts of the world. Family and friends have made this experience enjoyable and I have learnt a lot about the different cultures of the world, assimilating and understanding the importance of each.

We arrived in the Netherlands in the winter, and coming from a tropical country like India, I find the weather in the winter to be the low point. Cold, dark, short winter days leave you waiting for the spring. It is difficult to go out in the chilly winds and it tests your patience and endurance. The spring is lovely though with beautiful tulips and other flower bulbs everywhere.

To read more about Arwa Lokhandwala's expat experiences, cross cultural dilemmas and to get an expat tip a day, check out her blog Orangesplaash at

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