I have been asked to please stop writing about the Nepali wildlife (Sorry! Tough crowd, told ya I was afraid of blogging). Anyway, I’m here to please so I guess I will stop. So besides crying about creepy animals, there are plenty of other great things I do here in Nepal. A typical day looks like this-
I live in this house, with my auma (mother) and baba (father and/or grandfather) and sometimes babu (a grandson with 2 working parents in need of constant supervision). It is made of mud and on a large plot of farm land.
Most mornings, I wake up and head down to the shower. Where whichever villagers happen to be in ear shot of me promptly accept their unwritten invitation and join me for a bath. Well, they just watch and say things in Nepali that I don’t understand. The faucet is about up to my shoulders, so I have to squat to wash my hair. My thighs are getting really strong. The water only comes in one temperature so if it’s a cold morning, I forfeit my cleanliness.
Auma makes me tea as soon as I am dressed or sometimes half dressed but apparently that doesn’t matter. Most mornings, I sit on the porch and study my Nepali (thanks Melissa Hay!) while I wait for breakfast.
Then I have dal baht for breakfast. For every breakfast. And also for every dinner. But I can’t complain, Auma and Baba have been eating this for decades and they don’t seem to be sick of it yet. It’s a mixture of rice, lentils, and vegetables (carbs+protein+vitamins, as they say) and it is literally what everyone eats every day.
Then I walk to work through the rice paddies. Where the path is as wide as my foot. I haven’t fallen over yet but it’s bound to happpen..
I reach the main path and get to enjoy this view every morning. On school days, Anil waits for me and we walk together to our various responsibilities. This morning he says “are you my friend?” “Yes” I say, “Give me money?” He asks hopefully. I respond with the same 2 questions and I think he’s figured out my answer.
I work at this building, where sometimes we open before 10 and other times closer to 11. This is called Nepali time. I haven’t quite caught on to it yet, but everyone else seems to run on the same clock.
This is where I watch Rishi do consults. He is officially a ‘health assistant’ and unofficially, a nurse-surgeon-pediatrician-family planning specialist-pharmacist-nutritionist-secretary-questioner of all things western. I think we’re friends.
After work, I sometimes hike 30 minutes to the village at the top of the mountain (by the end of this I should be in shape) to use the internet and have a cup of coffee.
Otherwise I go home, where Auma makes me a snack.
I spend the afternoon hiking or reading and trying to make conversation with auma and baba. Mostly we just laugh. Or Baba mocks me and pretends to cry. It’s perfect. I also have some after school friends who like to stop by and hang out.
Dinner is Dal Baht, on the kitchen floor, by the stove/fire. It’s usually dark as there are only 4 light bulbs in the whole house and electricity is cut country wide multiple times a day. You learn quickly to always carry a headlamp with you after sunset. We sit on mats and I am given ‘the’ spoon (okay they might own 2 but thats it). Nepali’s eat with their hands, actually their right hand only. Want to guess what they do with their left? I haven’t tried the hand thing yet but I’m slowly getting up my courage, and my immune system. There is no refrigerator, so what is cooked, is eaten. I think they have probably gained 10 lbs each since I got here, because I eat a measly portion (you can only eat so much dal baht in a day) and they are stuck with the rest. Auma does the dishes and I still haven’t figured out if I should or can help.
Before it gets dark I try to make one last visit to the bathroom, outside around the corner of the house. So this is my toilet. The water bucket is supposed to be my toilet paper but I simply cannot bring myself to do it. Thanks mom, for sending me all those tissues I swore I wouldn’t need. The positioning takes some getting used to, but all in all it works out.
I usually get to sleep around 9, once I’ve crawled in to my safe room and put my ear plugs in (there’s no mice, if you can’t hear them). And that’s that. I spend my weekends in Pokhara (the closest city) with friends and do touristy things. Despite some adjustment, life in the village isn’t all that bad! I’ve really started to enjoy it! My friends in the city who hear about my misadventures can’t believe I’m still here. But now, I mostly just feel silly about all the things I cried about and feared. The whole village pretty much yells “mousa!” when they see me. Life is good 🙂
ps- the hardest part of life right now is trying to post ANYthing to my blog! I have been trying to post this for 4 days now. Internet connections are few an d far between… and when they are available, they are usually not any good!. So hope you will bear with my sporadic posting, I have so much more to write about… I just don’t always have the patience for the internet! Also please excuse my editing (or lack there of), another casualty of a poor Internet connection!