Friday, July 24, 2015


Visitors. Talk to any expat and they'll almost certainly tell you, "No one comes to visit you." It doesn't matter where you go, how cool it is, or how easy (or hard) to get to it is. The sad fact remains that far fewer people come to visit you than you (or they) think will come. When we got this job we heard a chorus of "We'll come visit you!" When we got assigned India, we heard a multitude of people say, "I've always wanted to go to India, I'll definitely come visit!" However, in the end... the showing tends to be poor. I like to think this isn't a reflection on us (I do bathe...) or the people involved. The reality is that people have limited funds, limited vacation time, or other obligations that tend to get in the way. Also, once you're gone, there's an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality.

Of course, we're not actually a good example, we've been fortunate enough to have a bunch of visitors, both family and friends. We've had people come for a few days or up to several weeks. It's been a huge morale boost for us. Every time a new person comes, you get the sense of awe and wonder of living in a new place all over again. There's a certain joy in dragging your visitors around town to experience all of your favorite or most unexpected things. We've definitely seen an appreciable increase in our moods while we have visitors. Besides which, it motivates us to get out and do things (fighting the constant intertia to hang out at home).

The downside to being in Chennai, is that almost everything our visitors want to see... is in north India, several hours' plane flight away. It's like visiting a friend in Florida, having always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and Niagara Falls. Generally speaking our visitors just stop by on their way to see the more famous sights in India. Don't get me wrong, we still show people the local hot spots, and they certainly get a less touristy view of Chennai. We just feel bad every time we put someone on a plane to go see the Taj Mahal without us, because we're really not interested in seeing the same thing over-and-over when it includes 10+ hours of travel each way.

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