August 2, 2015
It’s already been 10 days since moving to Kathmandu, Nepal — can you believe it?
10 out of 730, or more. My first impressions have already begun to transform; I am seeing Nepal with a different set of eyes than just ten days ago. For example, the spider in my room quickly learned who was the “bigger spider” and to not cross over onto my side of the wall. It was once my prey, so to speak, and now we’re just friends.
Who would’ve thought? Which reminds me.. who would’ve thought that I’d be living in 2072 ?? Yes, the year 2072. It wouldn’t seem like it though. We don’t have jet packs and everything’s not chrome. It’s more like I am going back in time as Nepal is a developing nation. There seems to be a festival or a holiday every few days, including Saturday. So I work Sunday through Friday 10-5. Not bad, right? If you are curious about reading how their calendar differs from our Georgian calendar.. here’s the link.
Going into my first day at work I was told not to expect much. Ever since the earthquake, ICMS has been struggling to keep up and to stay organized. However, I am pleasantly surprised. Work is so relaxed. I get served breakfast which is usually some sort of omelet and toast; coffee, which I didn’t like before but now I look forward to my 2 cups a day. Then I work doing whatever comes up. For now, it’s mainly social media upkeep or updating/writing for the website. Near 2 pm the smells from the kitchen start to distract me, it’s Nepalese cuisine time! Since I don’t speak Nepali (yet) 😉 it is hard for me to communicate with the cooking/cleaning ladies. Just smiles and thank you’s are what I do best.
Nepalese cuisine is so yummy. I haven’t yet tried anything I don’t like. Well, except “yarsagumba“. I imagine you are as unfamiliar with it as I certainly was. I’m not sure I would have tasted it if I had read the description beforehand, which I have provided conveniently for you here: “…is a fungus that parasites and infects larvae of ghost moths and produces a fruiting body valued as a herbal remedy.” No bueno. Pas bon.
The culture here is so different, and the only way to appreciate it is to do as they do; Bargain in street markets, wear green bangles to celebrate the month of Shrawan, wear henna, fast (by eating “pure” foods), take shoes off before entering one’s shop, home or room, dress up in sari’s and kurtha’s, and MY FAVORITE thus far – eat Dhal Bhat (with your hands!!!)
I was able to be “culturally immersed”, all thanks to my lovely friend Rozeena and her family for welcoming me into their home. Anyways back to eating like a child, growing up being told “NO!” every time you try and eat with your hands (of course except American food, i.e burgers, fries, etc..) makes eating saucy rice, smothered potatoes and beans kind of.. uncomfortable? Once you get the spoon technique with your four fingers though it gets easier. “When in Rome”, right? Not to mention that hole in the floor most people in Asia call toilets. It is so much more environmentally friendly though. The Western world wastes so much clean water that just sits in toilets.
Of course there are the other unexpected things you experience. Like getting pooped on by a pigeon or riding on the back of scooters, which is so dangerous yet so much fun. Late night trips to the creepy, dark-lit restaurant where you can eat ‘momos’ (dumplings) for 100 NRs. Yep, that’s a $1 dinner. My wallet appreciated it, my tummy the next day however did not. Eeh.
The first ‘touristy’ place we went to was Boudanath Stupa, a Buddhist temple. Below is my amateur shot of the place. The top part is under reconstruction, of course due to the catastrophic earthquake. Nonetheless, walking into the plaza area my jaw dropped and my American “oh my gosh” came out again. It was colorful, busy, smelly, noisy, hot, but with loads of culture and history popping out at every turn of the head. I didn’t know where to look! It was an amazing feeling to be there. “I am living in South Asia“, I thought. Too cool.
I just wanted to show my family immediately to see what they would say. That’s why I wanted to write this blog, and why I try to post as many pictures on Faceb. Buddhism is so fascinating, and the worshipers are even more so. One day I will dedicate a blog all to the two main religions here which is Hinduism and Buddhism. They are alike, yet have such opposite traditions and rituals. If I am going on a journey while in Nepal, I place my bets on a spiritual one.
If you haven’t already checked out my very first post from when I arrived in Nepal, you can read it here! 🙂