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dream

Richa is from India and currently lives in Bonn. We thank her for sharing the story of her beautiful dream with us. Welcome to the community of Expatclic, Richa!

 

All beautiful stories start with someone’s dream. Mine was to explore life as a local outside my country, India, in Europe. I was lucky to meet a partner who shared the dream. Thus, began a period of extensive planning and taking calculated risks to achieve it.

My husband decided to quit his Banking career in India to pursue an International MBA at HEC Paris. I looked for options to move with my employer to Brussels. This brought us to Europe in 2016 and our beautiful expat journey began when we lived in Paris and Brussels at the same time and commuted over weekends.

dreamHEC Paris was one of the best investments we ever made, as it provided a great opportunity to both of us to not only learn from the students of at least 40 other countries, but also get a very diverse perspective from the professors and the HEC community.

HEC had a strong culture of integration and continuous engagement of partners through social and learning events, which I found very unique and useful. I also enjoyed the multicultural work environment in Brussels while working for a global multinational firm.

This period brought immense learning along with numerous challenges such as managing living in different cities at the same time, commuting frequently and managing dual careers in an extremely fast paced manner. We knew that we both had career aspirations, so we planned to pursue exciting opportunities in cycles by putting each other first.

dream

This was a time when our strengths, values and beliefs were tested as we explored our professional and personal dreams. Our partnership brought us closer as we leveraged each other’s strengths for tasks that came our way, right from managing household chores to complicated administrative matters and career issues.

We aligned on the big priorities, then detailed out the actions and tracked our progress while motivating each other from time to time. Thereby implementing what we learnt in strategy classroom and at work in our daily lives.

I have realised that when you have lived in so many places, you start feeling like you belong everywhere.

The journey required us to ask ourselves repeatedly what we really wanted and what would we do if we were not afraid. We also realised the importance of community during this time due to the support and encouragement we received from our loving families, friends, colleagues and mentors.

We used our weekends to relax and do what we both enjoyed such as travelling, meeting people and cooking. We made the most of our time in different cities where we lived (cities such as Paris, Brussels, Luxembourg, Toronto) to understand culture and people. Where Paris was artsy and exquisite, Brussels seemed more relaxing and comfortable. Luxembourg turned out to be a city offering many conveniences to expats and Toronto was synonymous with a casual and bohemian outlook. Each city had something unique to offer.

dreamAfter this high-speed rollercoaster ride, we finally decided to get settled in Bonn for the foreseeable future. It is most important for us to be together as a family while pursuing professional opportunities that help us both learn and develop ourselves in our chosen fields.

We love Bonn as a city, as it offers a peaceful lifestyle. The walks along the Rhine are the most energising part of my day.

What we have learnt is that a minimalistic approach to holding possessions gives you more freedom to experience life. Adopting minimalism helped us make faster decisions and spend less time in getting rid of what we did not need.

We opted for fully furnished apartments, stuck to making weekly meal plans and used public transport for our weekly commutes. Thus, we maintained order in spite of many variables. I also learnt to let go of habits such as being obsessed with cleaning every corner of my house as I realized it would not help achieve our key goals and I feel relieved that I don’t worry about it anymore.

dreamThis experience has taught me the importance of living each day to the fullest and focus on the positives. The simple pleasures and rituals like talking to your spouse at the end of the day, beginning the day with meditation, eating a healthy breakfast are so important in life. All this became instrumental as we learnt to embrace change.

I have realised that when you have lived in so many places, you start feeling like you belong everywhere.

This experience has brought me closer to my country, India, in ways I had not imagined before. I understand my country so much better than what I did living there.

I am more connected to different people in the world than ever before and readier than ever to give back.

I would encourage people to pursue their dreams truly, madly, deeply as it helps in self-discovery more than anything. While you do that, keep your mind open about the possibilities to explore them fully.  Taking risks seems intuitively tough but with careful planning, it becomes easy.

As rightly said by Seneca- “It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”

Richa Singh
Bonn, Germany
November 2018
Photo Credit ©RichaSingh except
main pic of Ali Abdul Rahman on Unsplash

 

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One Comment, RSS

  • carole sahebzadah

    says on:
    12/11/2018 at 8:14 AM

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful experience and all the best of luck !

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