Another weekend has past, and Sud has left us for cold Sweden. His last day here he came by with is bike to say bye (nothing more said regarding that, "säger inget så har jag ingenting sagt").

Last Friday, we went on an event in the city center organized by an Internations group, to gather international expats in Chennai. So straight from work Friday afternoon we went to the bar 10 Downing Street to have some drinks and catch up with people in the same situation as us. We had a good night, even though it was a bit of a struggle to get a cab to drive us all the way back home in the middle of the night...

We have also had some work to do this weekend, so apart from that we have only been on short trips in the surroundings. We walked around a bit in the village located closest to us, went to an Indian mall with SO many beautiful saris and jewellery and we also went to the spa for some pedicure, manicure, facials and massage.

Walking around in the villages around us, we for the first time noticed that people were noticing us and looking at us. We said hi to several cute kids who were very curious and also took a few selfies with random people in the mall and an officer at the street.

Ending this post with some words of wisdom.


//Ebba

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Time is flying and we have been in Chennai for more than 2 weeks now. We are still enjoying our time here and it feels like we are starting to get routines and some kind of an everyday life. During the weekdays, we spend most of our time working as well as transporting ourselves to and from work, while we try to keep exploring during the weekends. We actually booked tickets to Bangalore to visit our IEP-colleagues Sara and Joel next weekend, we are so excited!

Paperwork and applications are still ongoing for tax cards and bank accounts, but we are slowly moving forward... At least we received our residence cards today, which was a big step forward! A policeman was actually here in our apartment this weekend for that matter this weekend, he basically asked us for our last names and then left, a bit unclear.

Below: Malin waiting to sign papers and hand in passports, papers and photos at the police station.

We spent our second weekend in the city center of Chennai, just as last weekend. We wanted to explore a national part that we had heard about which is located in the city center. This visit was unfortunately not very successful since the main park was closed, only the children's area and snake park were open. We went in to the children's park, but it was only a park with animals (snakes, monkeys, birds, emus etc) in cages spread around the park. We were not really comfortable with the amount of animals in the tiny cages so we left the park quite quickly again.

Apart from that, we have spent time in one of the biggest malls here, Phoenix market city. We can't really get enough of the stores with a fusion of Indian and western style fashion and accessories. Saturday night we decided to try out a restaurant/bar we had read about. And it was amazing! The food was some kind of Spanish/Indian fusion tapas and we also had some wine and cocktails. It was an entirely different side of Chennai than what we have seen before!

On Sunday, we went for a one hour full body massage as well as a facial, which was amazing and well deserved. After that, we went to a cinema to see the movie Thor: Ragnarök. It was interesting to see the difference when going to the cinema compared to in Sweden. After the commercials and trailers, everybody in the room were asked to stand up while the national anthem was played. There was also a 20 minute break in the middle of the film to visit the restroom or buy some more snacks.

Yesterday, Sud was here for some pizza, sparkling wine and scotch (never heard of that excellent combination before?), partly because he is leaving for Sweden on Friday. We had a good time, talked, ate and practiced some Swedish tounge twisters until we were too tired to stay up any longer.

Finally, a selection of random snapshots from the week:

/Ebba

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We live in a three bedroom apartment in a district a bit from the city center of Chennai. Our apartment is located in a gated community where a supermarket, gym, beauty parlor, small restaurant and other things are available. A large university is our close neighbor which we’ve noticed, since a lot of the students seem to live in the apartments in the community.


We really like the place so far, the apartment is large and spacious and located on the 15th floor which provides a pretty view of our surroundings. The only negative aspect about our apartment is that the community is a bit isolated, we always have to go by car to get anywhere. However, we don’t really find this an issue and Uber is really cheap here in India!

We also feel really safe where we live which feels really nice. For instance, we could easily have a jog in the evening in the community area if we wanted to. I have heard stories about how women especially have felt unsafe in certain places in India. But we actually feel really safe in general. Everybody is so kind and warm. Sometimes people have a quick glance at us, but there are never any suspicious stares or anything like that. We are thankful for this. 

/Malin

  • Malin

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The days pass by so quickly here and since we start working later in the mornings and work one hour more per day, we don't have a lot of spare time during the weekdays. When we do have some extra time we try to learn a few words in Tamil and the names of different tasty dishes. We are also still spending time on filling in papers, for example to open bank accounts and to register our visas here in India. We are also drinking quite a lot of coffee, which we are very thankful that they drink a lot of here as well. The man in the cafeteria now knows that when we are coming, we will always order two large coffees with no sugar.

Random knowledge that we have picked up since last time is that it is strictly prohibited to take pictures in the office (which we noticed one of many days when we took photos of our lunch) and that butter fruit is another word for avocado.

Here's another selection of images from last weekend in Chennai:

The two images above are from an area in the city center, only a few blocks from the mall where we went shopping. It was sad seeing all the trash and the kids running around there.

A woman Selling some food or snacks in the street and a great hat for the rain season that we found in the supermarket.

Until next time!

/Ebba

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This was our first weekend in Chennai! We tried to make the most of it by visiting the city center on Saturday. First, we started the day off by having Indian breakfast at our accommodation. This is puri sabji, which was quite delicious! We also drank filtered coffe, something I’ve personally grown quite fond of.

After the breakfast, we decided to travel to the city of Chennai for some well needed shopping. We were very eager to try and buy some locally styled clothes, since many women here dress very traditionally. For this occasion, we went to the Chennai Citi Centre which was an Indian shopping mall. Very nice, and I think both Ebba and I bought more than we originally planned to do. Lucky for us, clothes are quite cheap here as well! We also had a walk around in the area which was really nice.


On Sunday, we went to a living history museum called Dakahinachitra which is dedicated to South Indian heritage and culture. We started off the day by taking more passport sizes photographs though, since we had run out of ours (very quickly I might add).


The museum was very interesting and focused on the four states of South India. There was also some locally made crafts that were for sale. Both Ebba and I bought ourselves a scarf and both were so beautiful. We also bought a handmade glass figure from a guy who had crafted glass for 30 years. It was so interesting to see him start and finish creating each piece and he was so good!


After a few hours at the museum, we became really tired and we decided to go home. I realized that even thought it feels like we’ve been here for a very long time, we’ve only been here six days so far. This week has felt really long, but I guess it’s not weird to feel like that. This week has been really eventful, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of our time here. Ebba and I finished off the day by making plans for the rest of this year in regards to traveling and making day trips. There are so many interesting things to see, both close to Chennai and also in the rest of India of course. I’m really looking forward to experience as much as possible here!

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The first (half) week of work is over and the first weekend in Chennai is here. These three days of work feel like so much more, the days have been long and we have had so many new experiences and met so many new people. We have tried a variety of Indian dishes that we can't even pronounce and even started to get used to the spiciness of them. Another main thing we take with us from this week is how helpful and friendly the people here are. Everybody is so nice to us and take good care of us. This has absolutely helped us to feel like home here. They have been taking us for lunch, coffee, shared experiences and made sure that we came home safely at night after work.

Today, we were advised to work from home because of the risk of heavy rain. There have been floodings in big parts of the city and this affects the already crazy traffic situation. But we have not really been affected yet, apparently the situation is worse closer to the city center. Even if the situation is serious, it has been quite nice for us to hear the rain and see the lightning during the evenings from our apartments.


Malin on our first walk outside our gated community to find a working ATM and the view down from our balcony at the 15th floor.

A view across the lake close to us and a tiny temple just outside our community.

Photos of hard-working-Malin taken by paparazzi-Ebba

A selection of food from this week; to the left is a lunch with a mix of different Indian dishes, next up a Chicken Korma and Veg Kofta and third picture a Veg Biryani. Amazing! The fourth picture shows some Indian snacks we tried tonight. Not really a hit, we will have to keep exploring.

Malin and Sud at a café after work and a sunset from outside our apartment today.

Tomorrow we will try to travel closer to the city center if the weather allows us!

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We finally arrived in India early yesterday (Monday) morning. The journey started in Stockholm where we got to see snow for the first (and probably last) time this winter. After that we had a stop in Dubai, where we after paying for some extra weight in our cabin baggage were able to board the flight that took us to Chennai.

We landed in Chennai around 9 am Monday morning and were picked up at the Airport by our nice colleauge Sud. We went together to the apartment and after that we only stayed there, apart from taking small walks in the neighbourhood. When we started to get hungry after a few hours we realized that it was hard to find anything to eat without cash or an Indian bank card. We tried to withdraw some cash using our Swedish cards but never got it to work. We also tried ordering food online, but none of the websites supported payments from international cards. Luckily enough we still had some snacks from the flight, as well as some bread that Sud helped us to buy for breakfast on our way from the airport.

The apartment we are staying in is very nice and big, and is located in a gated Community aproximately 10 kilometers from the office. The two of us are sharing a big living room, a kitchen and three bedrooms. The kitchen could have been a bit more clean, but apart from that, I am sure that we will feel like home here in a while.

Below you can see the entrance to the University area Close to where we live as well as the view from our living room and apartment.

Apparently it is still raining period here and it will be raining a lot during the next two months. Around 5 pm yesterday, it suddenly turned into a thunderstorm. We were very excited, standing on the balcony to see the Lightning and the rain, but the electricity in the apartment went out a few times.

After 11 hours of sleep in our huge beds, we woke up and worked for a bit before we started our search for an ATM to get cash. Since we still hadn't eaten any proper food since the airplane breakfast, we were starting to get very hungry and tired. After a 30 minute walk where we met multiple dogs, cows, jumped over big holes in the pavement and ignored staring and excited Indians, we finally found an ATM that accepted our cards. Amazing! So when we were back in the apartment we immediately ordered some indian food to be delivered at our door. After a few tries and two hours of waiting we finally received our butter paneer, butter chicken and butter naan (sensing a theme, I think we were hungry). Apparently we were supposee to order rice on the side, which we didn't, but the food was good as soups as well, even if it was a bit spicy for our Swedish tastebuds.

Below you can see our happiness when FINALLY getting cash from an ATM and a small temple we saw on the side of the road on our walk home.

We have also had two visitors in the apartment today:

1. Two Indian ladies knocked on our door and asked us kindly if we had Dengue fever. We told them that we did not have that, and then their next question was if they could take a selfie with us. So we invited them in and had a Little photo session with them. Now we are only regretting that we did not take any photos ourselves..

2. An employee at the apartment complex where we are staying knocked on our door around 9 pm, walked in to the apartment and grabbed a few tooth picks from our table. He told us that his managers had asked him to come here and take some since they had run out in the office, then he smiled and left.

Below you can see our two first meals in Inda: Butter chicken and butter paneer with butter naan, as well as paneer fried rice and a fried noodle wrap (?!)

Tomorrow we will go to the office for the first time, hopefully setting upp our accesses as well as applying for bank and sim cards.

The internet is pretty slow here so it took a while to upload images, but I managed to upload a few. Hope Everything is well in cold Sweden or wherever you are!

/Ebba

P.s. Lastly:

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