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This family from the US have come to love Chennai for its beaches, fireworks and the warm weather

Relocating to a new city with four kids is no easy task. Yet, when Washington-based Joshua Porter heard of an opening in Chennai, he jumped at it. “I didn’t really take it up at once. I spoke to my friend whose post I was to take over in Chennai for two and a half hours before we were confident about the move,” says the engineering manager at FLSmidth. “Chennai is the largest city we’ve lived in and there’s so much of family activity here — the beaches, temples, Mahabalipuram, movies,” he points out, adding with a laugh, “we just love that you can shoot off fireworks without anyone getting mad at you.” He and his wife Rebecca, who has her hands full with three kids and a baby, share a love for beaches and poolside barbecues in their backyard — one reason why they have no complaints about the weather.

While Joshua misses “a nice big rib eye (steak),” Rebecca feels that the food is the most interesting thing here and recalls a friend’s wedding reception where they ate on banana leaves. “The warm weather is a good change. And the fish market was an experience with the boats, the fish and the people posing for pictures,” she recalls. Rebecca also looks forward to art and yoga classes that she has signed up for. They both agree that it’s the kids who are having the most fun. “At school, they have friends from across the world and are learning a lot about cultures,” feels Joshua, who adds that work offers a learning experience as well. “I find that people here are very hard working — they take that extra time and effort to make things happen.”

“The expat community is huge here,” says Rebecca, adding that most of the expats she knows, she met at The American International School where their children study. Their only regret? Not venturing beyond Pondicherry in the year they have been here. “We have plans for Kerala, Delhi and Bangalore very soon,” says Joshua, about their schedule for the remainder of their two year stint here.

— Ryan Peppin

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