South Indian Expat reinvents herself as a food blogger and photographer when faced with starting a new life – once again. Find out more in this month’s Inspiring Expat Interview!
Nisha Ramesh has always been tech-savvy, but she never thought those skills would come in handy when moving from country to country. Combine that with an incredible knack for cooking Indian vegetarian cuisine (believe me, I´ve tried it) and the result is a truly magical food blog.
Expat Interview with City Starlings
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself.
I am from originally from Trichy, Tamil Nadu in South India. I am an aspiring photographer and blogger at The Magic Saucepan, a food blog about South Indian vegetarian cuisine.
How long have you lived in Munich? And why Munich?
It’s almost 2.5 years now since I moved to Munich and came here due to my husband’s job.
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Although this was my third move and I knew to be prepared for the unexpected, Munich totally owned me. It took me a while to settle in. We moved during the cold winter months, which was not a good time to relocate to Munich. The weather combined with the new language, made it difficult to like the city instantly. Having said that, I am more than happy to have moved here. Munich is a city that grows on you! Give it time and you will start loving it soon.
Do you speak German? Describe your process for learning the language. Do you think it is important to know the local language?
In order to fully experience any local culture, you need to know their language. It makes your living experience so much more enjoyable. So, yes learning German should be your first priority.
The first thing I did was enroll myself in an intensive class at Deutsch Akadamie and completed my elementary level German. Now, I can easily get around with my day-to-day activities. I love learning new languages and it was so much fun.
If you are serious about learning the German language, become a member at the Stadtbibliothek (Munich city library). The one at Gasteig, the main library, has a huge resource (audio, video & books) for learning the language. Also, join a group class, it helps to practice German with your peers.
What would you have liked to know before moving to Munich?
How difficult and different it is to rent an apartment here in Munich. Renting is not on a first come first serve basis. You are required to apply, write a cover letter to the landlords ( to impress them that you are the best tenants in the whole wide world) along with a photograph and then wait for them to call you back. There might be around hundreds of applications for a single apartment. Such is the demand here! I am not exaggerating, we wrote glowing recommendation letters and gave our award-winning-smile photos to a couple of places. 🙂
One thing no one tells you about moving abroad.
- No matter how many times you relocate, you will be as anxious as you were during your first international move and as an Expat, you have to start building everything from scratch.
- You will experience reverse culture shock when you move back or visit home after staying abroad for some years.
- You might have to bid many goodbyes and at the same time welcome new friends. This will be a constant recurrence as long as you lead an expat life. Prepare yourself.
What do you miss most about your home country that you can not find here in Munich?
Apart from my family, I missed the Indian festivals and the hustle-bustle nature of the Indian environment. Don’t get me wrong. Whilst I love the serenity and orderliness of this place, I also miss the chaos and the randomness.
Back home, no festival is celebrated without a family gathering and when you have a huge crowd, the surrounding becomes cheerful and colourful. It took me a long time to get used to this peace and quiet. I also used to miss the low humming noise of the ceiling fan as well. Grin!.
What is your favorite (restaurant, museum, shop, cafe..)?
Munich has a lot to offer and there is so much to see and do in the city. I love walking around the Isar and the Englischer garten and the shopping pedestrian zone between Stachus and Marienplatz. Few of my favourites are Tushita teehaus, Hans im Glück, Siggis, & Bombay Tandoori.
What are your tips for newly arrived expats?
- Learn the language. It makes you more confident and it is easier to integrate with the local culture. You don’t have to master it but just enough to independently carry out your activities.
- Join an expat club or meetup groups. This is the best way to find your tribe. I am so grateful to the Munich International Women’s Club through which I found my best friends. 🙂
- Enroll yourself at Munchener Volkschocschhlue (MVHS) – They offer both educational and cultural programs in English. It is one of the affordable places to learn German.
- Have an open mind. Every place has its own merits and shortcomings. It is your attitude that will decide the nature of your stay.
Tell us about your business and how you got started. What was your background before your current profession? What products/services do you offer?
I am an instrumentation design engineer by profession and had worked in the energy and industrial process sectors until I quit my job for the love of my life. This gave me the luxury and opportunity to explore my creative side. As well as helped me discover my two passions – cooking and photography.
I run a food blog, The Magic Saucepan, which focuses on traditional South Indian vegetarian dishes. From simple recipes to indulgent ones, there is a choice for everyone!
Currently, I freelance as a recipe developer & content creator for food blogs, food photographer & product photographer.
I also plan on starting culinary workshops in the near future.
Featured Image by Unsplash
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