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Chris and Simi Anderson
Restaurateurs, Paprika Grill
Chris and Simi chose to come to Vadodara from London in 2009 so that their children could grow up here and experience the rich culture of India.
Initially we were shocked by how much Vadodara had changed - it was alive, happening and there was this different vibe to it which is changing continuously. We had expected it to be a lot quieter but there's a lot of buzz at night. It's the manner of life here that hits you - energetic, vibrant, safe and positive.
People are fantastically kind and helpful. Nobody hustles you - you can go shopping and enjoy the experience instead of being badgered all the time. You don't have to struggle to balance life - home is about 5 minutes away so I get to give equal attention to business and home. There's plenty of help around and at reasonable rates. It's safe and in fact, pro-women - women are encouraged and not looked down upon. Socialising is easy given the short
distances. Chris's parents, especially, enjoy the whole experience of being here when they come to visit - they blend in and move around almost like locals.
The Expat Club, of which Simi is a member, has worked fantastically as a support system and as a place for enjoyment. Existing expats support the new ones to get used to the city - what to do, where to go, where to shop, what's best for your kids - things like that.
What has stayed with us the most is the dance festival - Navratri. It takes over the whole town - it's an amazing experience when you see that volume of people dancing at the same place that way. Unless you experience it first-hand, you can never understand what it really is.