This interview was featured on BlogExpat.com on 01 August 2016. Only an excerpt has been posted here.
You can read the entire interview on the link below:
From India to the Ivory Coast: PiyushiDhir
Namaste everyone! I am Piyushi Dhir, a young Indian traveler, author and blogger, currently residing in the exotic West African country of Ivory Coast.
Q. Why did you move abroad?
My husband and I started our married life in New Delhi, India, each of us employed in glittery corporate jobs. We were, however, getting restless with the tedium of a 9 to 5 and seeking something new and exciting. So when my husband got a job offer in Ivory Coast, Africa, we thought, “What the hell, let’s give it a shot!” I did realize however, that the move would entail me giving up my career in Human Resources management. Ivory Coast has limited opportunities, and it is a Francophone country. But I decided to use the opportunity to try my hands at an alternate career that had only been a dream so far- writing.
Q. How do you make a living?
So here I am in Ivory Coast, just a day old, soaking up everything new around me. The people, the culture, the language, the flora, the fauna- every single thing was an adventure! My mother, a writer herself, had sent me with express instructions to get started with writing, even if it was just a few words a day, from the first day itself. I got out my laptop, got typing and within a few months, I had established myself as a published author, a freelance writer and a blogger.
I find that I’m actually a lot happier, healthier and more satisfied with my career as a writer, than I was as a corporate manager. It may not mint as much money for me yet, but it gives me a whole lot of flexibility to work as per my timings, which in turn means that I can give myself and my family a lot more of my time and attention.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about being an expat in Ivory Coast?
After the hectic pace of life in India, we love the peace, quiet and serenity of life in San Pedro, Ivory Coast. We live in a sea-facing flat, something that would have been inconcievable in our home country. We dwell amidst lush greenery, breathe in plenty of fresh air and take walks on the sea beaches. The calm pace of life means we have more time for our health, our hobbies and for each other.
Q. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Ivory Coast?
When all is said and done, Africa is Africa. Safety is a concern, especially when elections are round the corner. Civil wars and bloodsheds are a definite possibility. In the election season that just went by, we stock-piled our homes with grocery, vegetables and milk and were prepared for a coup! Even in peace time, I lament the inadequate medical facilities in the country. So we keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best!
Q. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That it is in South Africa!! No matter how many times I tell people that Ivory Coast is a country on the western coast of Africa, I get asked, “So, how’s South Africa?” After moving here, I realized that people in the outside world know so little about Africa. They either think of Africa as a poor slum with groveling, malnourished children or if you say you’re employed here, they assume you’re in South Africa.
It is true that poverty is a problem here, but there’s so much more to this country. For example, how many people know that a third of the world’s chocolate is made from Ivorian cocoa alone? One reason I write about Ivory Coast in my blog is to tell the outside world more about this little known place.
Q. What advice would you give other expats?
Moving to a new place entails experiencing so many new things. To make the most of this experience, I’d say approach it all with an open mind. Don’t be quick to judge your new home and its customs. Try to learn from it instead, and treat every minute there as an adventure!
Read the entire review on BlogExpat.com here.
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Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.