Mounika’s Story No 3

Mounika (as she would like to be known) arrived in Wales from India in Christmas 2021 with her husband and son.  In this story she writes about her life in Cardiff and her hopes for the future.   In her earlier stories Mounika has written about her life in her hometown of Krishnanagar, in Chenai and Calcutta with her husband and son and her experience of COVID lockdowns in India. Her stories are filled with experiences of arrivals and departures and running through them her desire to belong and connect.

Chapter 3:  Cardiff is my new home 

When we came to the UK it was the 26th December 2021. At five o’clock we reached Cardiff. Luckily that day it was not raining, but outside it was dark. I said, “OK let’s go inside.”  First thing I saw in the house (we have the ground floor), I thought the lights are very small. Just a bulb. We don’t have lights like this in India. We have long ones. First time I saw it I said, “what is that?”.  I said “OK” and every day I got used to this small light. When I woke up, I often saw rain outside. But then I saw, as I looked out of the window, that everything is cool and calm. No sound, no horns, no sound of the neighbours. In India every time you hear the sound of horns – so noisy. But here it was cool and calm. Soothing.  

We heard that it was festival time in UK and we were thinking of going here and there, but on the 28th my husband was doing Covid test and he was positive. We were told “no, you are not leaving the house, because you staying at home”.  Some of my husband’s colleagues who also travelled from India, they were also staying at home and also staying in for fourteen days. It was very much depressing. In the fourteen days my husband was also not joining the office because that was on the 3rd January. We three people just sitting in the house and cooking. Other colleagues brought food and put outside the house. Internet connection also not there. Communication was difficult but we did bring a phone with a sim card. We had no symptoms but still testing positive.  

We are suffering. We are helpless. We are new to this country. We don’t know the rules. Noone is coming to our house. The weather was cold, and we were not expecting this type of cold. In India most of the time it is hot. Day by day we got used to that. After 14 days when we tested negative, I could go out.  We survived. Then I went shopping and to the city centre.  

Then my son joined the primary school in January this year. Every afternoon we dropped him off. Every day I learned so many things about the country. The roads! Then I met the mother of a friend of my son. She said I should come to this community centre. She said “please join the language café. You learn so many things. I also try to improve my English language”. She was my first friend, and she also comes to the café.  

I want to go to some job and the teacher guides me. I learn so many things through this café. I meet so many persons. I’m feeling very happy. Make friends. This café is changing my life actually. If I am sitting alone at home, this is not useful. I am joining the creche for volunteering for two days a week. Two weeks I have completed. My son can also come here in this creche – every morning. I am also doing three courses online: health and safety, food hygiene and first aid. If I complete, they will give me a certificate and I build up my CV. I am also planning to join the college to improve my English.  

Before I had my son, I was working in a nursery school, and I am trying to find some work like that here. The last four and a half years I don’t do anything – just housewife. I am thinking when my son has school full-time, I am doing something of my own. After September I am doing something. I would like a job in a school. That is my aim. Let’s see what I do.