Tatsiana Chykhayeva Talks About Her Love for India
“Come with an open mind! That means, leave your expectations at home. People do things very differently here and if you try to fight it, most likely you will lose”, said Tatsiana when asked about her stay in Delhi.
Having traveled to many countries, the adjustment was not difficult for her. She took some time to understand the city and how to get around with the help of Google Maps.
Born in Tallinn, Estonia, Tatsiana’s father was Russian, and her mother is Belarusian. They moved to Belarus when she was 5 years old. When she turned 15, she moved to the UK to attend a boarding school, and later went to an university in Switzerland.
Tatsania, a life coach now, lived and worked for a span of six years in the Bahamas where she was working in one of the resorts. It was when she met her friend (now husband). As they were pursuing the same career, they reached a point when they were both ready to leave Bahamas. Her husband decided to settle in Delhi and pursue his dream of opening a restaurant, and Tatsania went home to spend time with family and obtain her certification in Life Coaching.
Once my certification was complete, I realized I missed the life of an expat and decided to visit my friend (now husband) in the land of limitless opportunities – New Delhi, Tatsania exclaimed. It was in September 2016 when she visited India in order to support her husband with his new venture and also wanted to research the potential for a coaching career in India.
“Opportunity, the variety, quality, and innovation- India has it all. There is a plenty of room for more ideas. The country is not yet strictly structured you can easily find your niche, and apply your knowledge with full force”, Tatsania mentioned.
She loves the crowd in Delhi. She finds the culture quite strong. It’s a mix of well-balanced people. “I think local Indians are very interested in foreigners. People tend to talk to me and ask questions all the time. They seem to want to hear my points of view but are not ready to change. So, it can be hard to come to an agreement if you are discussing different points of view. They can be a little less tolerant and, at times, more judgmental than Europeans”, she says.
Tatsiana shares that the quality of life is different for every other person in Delhi. She is happy to stay in South Delhi as she has access to everything within walking distance-fresh fruits & vegetables, pharmacies, shops. All the houses are separated in communities and are guarded 24/7. However, if one chooses to stay in other areas, such as Noida or Gurgaon, one should go for the high-rise communities, to ensure their security. Tatsania recommends South Delhi for an expat to stay where the embassies and international schools are located.
Even though she loves the country but the unavoidable problems pertaining to noise, traffic and pollution disturb her too. “I am from a country where everything is organized, and the streets are kept tidy at all times of the day, year-round. Even in cold weather, there will always be someone cleaning the roads. I love walking, but it is close to impossible to do in Delhi. You always have to be on the look-out for other people, cars, rickshaws, and autos. The air pollution and the noise can be quite draining, and even if you move around in a vehicle the constant traffic gets very irritating. I miss seeing empty streets and the ability to enjoy a walk, I also miss running in the park and breathing in the fresh air.”
The cost of living is not very different. Look out for the range and variations in pricing. One can buy a meal for as little as Rs50 or pay Rs900 for the same item in an average restaurant. The transportation is also relatively cheap, as well as any household help (ironing, cleaning, taking out the garbage). The rent and alcohol in Delhi are quite expensive. “The taxes on alcohol are ridiculous whether you buy it in the store or order a drink at a restaurant”. Tatsiana says.
Like every other part of the country, the autos and rickshawaalas ask for double money from an expat. It is important to make them believe that you are not a visitor to the country but actually living in the country then they seem to be more or less fair.
Tatsania feels that to own a car is a waste of time as in Delhi the transportation is affordable and easy because of the clean and fastest metros. “Uber & Ola services are easily available here. Just download the app and call a cab to almost any location. Sometimes, the drivers call you if they are unable to find your location. The majority do not speak English and it can be a challenge, so make sure you choose the option of sharing your location with them, so they can find you on their maps”, she informed.
Speaking of the healthcare support system in Delhi, Tatsiana states that she had never experienced any negative situations. After living in Delhi for some time, she has learned to filter even the advice from doctors. “Everyone wants to make money, so they will send you for more tests than necessary”, she grinned.
Delhi is like any other metropolitan cities. Safety is a major concern in the city. Tatsiana advised asking someone to track the movement even one hires an Uber. “You have to be mindful all the time. And if anything happens on the road (accident, or argument with a driver), try to avoid it, do not argue with others, and call for help as soon as possible”, Tatsania informed.
Her biggest challenges are reliability and timing. Organizing events or workshops is quite a stressful process, as people like to cancel last minute or are often at least an hour late, which really affects their planning. Socializing was not difficult for her as she already had an experience traveling to various countries. However, she thanked “InterNations” as because of their Official Event she happened to meet other expats and global minds. She thinks that more expats should get together and make the community stronger. InterNations is a great platform for the expats and has a great potential to grow!
“We always say, there are two types of expats in India: the ones that LOVE the country, and the ones that HATE everything about it. There is nothing in between. I am happy that I belong to the first type of people. It helps me ignore the negativity of pollution and dirt, and see the bright colors and spirituality of India. Trust me, there is so much
to explore!”, she signed off.