When our family voluntarily chose to move from central Virginia to central Indiana in 2015, our friends and family asked us a slew of predictable questions. Why Indiana? Why would you leave the East Coast? What’s out there besides corn? Are you out of your mind?

While most Americans share a common set of criteria when searching for a desirable place to live – affordability, safety, climate, culture, recreational opportunities- three factors in particular tend to stand out for many Asian Americans: (1) an academically robust public school system, (2) proximity to well-stocked Asian grocery stores, and (3) the presence of a thriving Asian-American cultural community. 

One of the main reasons why we chose to relocate to Carmel was because of its exceptional public school system, consistently ranked among the top in the state. Our two kids understandably grumbled when we informed them that we would be uprooting them from their comfort zone in Virginia and parachuting them into a brand new middle school and high school in Indiana, respectively. But after a couple years of acclimating, both of them repeatedly let us know that they greatly appreciated exchanging an unhealthy East Coast cutthroat competitive academic culture for a far healthier school environment that encouraged holistic excellence and achievement.

Given Carmel’s 11% Asian-American population, it should come as no surprise that we quickly found a plethora of Asian grocery stores within a 15-minute drive from home. There are three decent East Asian grocery stores and a similar number of well-stocked South Asian (Indian/Pakistani) grocery stores nearby, which we frequent regularly to stock our fridge, pantry, and spice cabinet.

We also discovered, not surprisingly, that since Asian Americans comprise the largest minority group in Hamilton County, there are multiple outlets for strengthening cultural traditions and ties, both in the county itself as well as nearby within metro Indy: churches, temples, mosques, dance groups, language schools, and cultural associations. Our realtor introduced us to the Indiana Association of Chinese Americans, the oldest such cultural association in Indiana, and our family has been a part of it ever since.

So when friends now ask us why we chose to relocate from a vibrant East Coast metropolis to Carmel, Indiana, we boldly answer back, Why not? And what’s keeping you from joining us here? 


Hamilton County Leadership Academy (HCLA) and Invest Hamilton County have launched a new community ambassador program. The partnership, called HAMILTON CONNECTION will highlight the personal stories of HCLA alumni and allow those Connectors to help personalize the things that make Hamilton County a great place to live, work, learn, and thrive. Meet the Hamilton Connectors HERE.