Tag Archives: Village life

My last tales of Nepal!

Greetings, from Sri Lanka ! I am currently in the capitol city of Colombo, biding my time at a taphouse before my train leaves for the south. I know, a taphouse, how western of me.. but I did pass on the TGI Fridays so at least give me credit for that. I want to share a few more Nepali experiences before delving into the bustling, surprisingly modernized culture that exists in Sri Lanka.

So, after returning from my trek and mostly ridding the sweaty smell of success from myself, I spent a few days in Pokhara before going back to the village. These days in Pokhara consisted of mostly eating and drinking as well as a somewhat exuberant amount of relaxation. Seriously tough times. But hey, after enduring 9 days of trekking I allowed myself to embrace it. I shared these days with my trekking team, as well as a British friend Rachel (also a volunteer), and a new Swedish friend Emil. Emil had just arrived in Nepal from India, with the scam story of all scam stories. Between that, and my recent Jet Airways experience, I have no intention of ever traveling to India alone.

The highlight of these days was most definitely our encounter with a new friend. On our first night back from trekking, despite suffering from a high level of exhaustion, Jamie, Chanelle, Emil, and I decided to celebrate with some drinks at Busy Bee. Busy Bee is THE bar of pokhara, Live music, large crowds, strong drinks, and lots of fun. This particular night, Jamie decided to go after the gin with an appetite I didn’t know she had. I guess it was time for her to make up an entire month of sobriety in Jopati (her small Kathmandu neighborhood where it is not possible for women to drink). Anyway, let’s just say I would party with this girl any day. Well, one encounter leads to another and we suddenly find Jamie introducing us to her new Nepali friend Pradeep. Pradeep is a middle aged man, out celebrating a successful work week with his colleagues. This guy was happy, friendly, fun, and genuine. He was immediately our friend and we joined him for another round of drinks. Pradeep tells us that he is the general manager at the Fishtail Lodge in Pokhara, the city’s most luxurious and historic accommodation. As the night is winding down, he insists that we join him at his hotel tomorrow for a cocktail hour. The next night, after much debate if we should go or not, we do indeed show up. Only 2 hours late. At first it appears that we have missed Pradeep, so we settle in at the bar prepared to indulge on one of Pokhara’s pricier cocktails. Moments later, Pradeep shows up and we are instantly VIP guests. Wow. What is happening?? Well we have a few cocktails and share good conversation with Pradeep and his right hand man. During the conversation it is revealed that the lodge is in fact owned by the Nepali royal family and is now in a trust. About ten years ago, almost the entire Nepali Royal family was massacred by a loony nephew. Hearing this, I was fascinated by the history of the Royal family and began asking several curious questions. Pradeep changed subjects and it appeared this was not something he enjoyed talking about. After drinks, we were taken on a tour of the grounds by the two men. We even saw the rooms where Prince Charles and several Kings have stayed!

Now, the point- While Pradeep is busy sharing his love for the property with my friends, the right hand man fills me in on a little secret. “You know, Pradeep is royalty, right?” Um, no, of course I don’t know this. SERIOUSLY?!! “His Uncle was the last King of Nepal and his Father was a military commander” UM ROYALTY?!! Are you kidding?!!! Why did I wear my flip flops and yesterday’s t-shirt for this encounter? Wow. Anyway, I could tell Pradeep had not wanted to disclose this information during our cocktail conversations so I kept my mouth shut for the remainder of the tour. After Pradeep’s driver returned us to our lowly guesthouse (Pradeep did offer a free night stay for us, I felt unworthy), I immediately blurted out this information to my friends. Wow, we had just enjoyed cocktails with one of the few remaining members of the Royal family of Nepal. After an immediate google search, we discovered he was a member of the Rana dynasty. This was the last family in power before a democracy was established. So surreal. Anyways, Pradeep (or more commonly known Tiger, as he blushingly admitted to us) invited us back for lunch and cocktails by the pool the next day. He was far too kind and hospitable to us grungy backpackers. Anyway, we enjoyed a few days of fun with Tiger and his colleagues. I was even invited to meet him at Annapurna, Kathmandu’s luxury hotel, for a farewell cocktail. A pretty remarkable experience, Tiger still isn’t even aware that we know his secret. What a humble guy. I hope I will cross paths with this generous man again someday!

Okay, lastly, I spent four days back at my village home. Honestly, after week one did you ever imagine that I would willingly return to this place?? I know, crazy, but I had really missed it. I returned for the Dasai festival. Nepal’s biggest holiday. Children and government employees are given 15 days off during this time and much of the country is closed during celebrations. There are several festivities, but specifically I went for the goat sacrifice and Tikka. On the 12th day a goat is sacrificed to the Gods by each family. Although I did not get to witness the beheading, I did get to experience various body parts in my food for the next several days. I think I accurately identified- tongue, vertebrae, liver, and fatty tissue. I was not successful in eating all parts, but I did try. The next day we celebrated ‘Tikka’. A tikka is the red dot commonly worn by married women on their forehead. On this day, everybody gets tikkas. The tikkas (consisting of dry rice, dyed red) are ceremoniously placed on children’s foreheads by the elder family members. They are also given a type of blessing with good wishes for the future. Delicious sweets and a small sum of money are also provided. After celebrating within your immediate family, the Hindu version of ‘trick or treating’ begins. Family members, young and old, travel eagerly around the village visiting the homes of their friends and family. At each house they are blessed with more tikkas (I never knew so much rice could fit on one person’s face), about 20 rupees (more or less, depending on your relationship to the family), and usually a snack of sweet bread. At the end of the day the children return and anxiously count their earnings from the day. They also have a forehead covered completely by rice. Such a fun day to get to be a part of! The next day I said goodbye to Auma and Baba, as well as the rest of my village friends, so sad!! I will miss them, but I have promised to be back one day.

Well, thats all for Nepal. I am in love with this country and everyday I am gone I miss it more! I highly suggest you all take advantage of any opportunity you have to visit this beautiful place. See you tomorrow, from the beach!

Getting my tikka from Baba!
Getting my tikka from Baba!
The tikka ceremony and offerings
The tikka ceremony and offerings
Babu, with a forehead full of rice!
Babu, with a forehead full of rice!

 

Asis, proudly displaying his day's earnings!
Asis, proudly displaying his day’s earnings!
An unfortunately blurring photo, but this is me with my village family just before I left!  The smallest boy is the grandson and the 2 other boys are the neighbors I spent a lot of time with
An unfortunately blurring photo, but this is me with my village family just before I left! The smallest boy is the grandson and the 2 other boys are the neighbors I spent a lot of time with

 

Why Nepalis are better than me, a top ten list

As promised, I will follow up my last post with an opposing look at my recent life lessons. For all that Nepal has made me appreciate about my own home, there are an equal number of things that they do significantly better. Hopeful that I can continue to bring these practices into my own life. Also hopeful that you’ve got nothing to do today, because this is a really really long post. I have always had a tendency to be long winded and I just really went for it on this post. Sorry.  So you should definitely take a seat, and maybe be entertained by my thoughts for a few!

1. Simplicity
Life is simple here, it really really is. In having so little, the Nepalis manage to have so much. I have wracked my brain trying to come up with a gift more my host father this week. When we arrived we were told by the program coordinators it would be a nice gesture to buy them something they might need at the end of your stay. Well, I have decided my Baba is the man who has everything. Yet, he has never touched a computer let alone owned one. Nor does he have a sports jersey supporting his favorite team, or a refrigerator to keep his beer cold, or a working television. Or even a mirror! His clothes are old and tattered. His flip flops are worn and breaking. I wanted to buy him a “topee” (nepalese hat) but when I realized he had 2 I knew he would laugh and probably tell me he would never wear it. As far as he knows, his clothes are perfect. In fact, I saw him sorting them the other day with ones he wanted to get rid of (I think he was frusturated he had too many). There is something to be said about people who own less clothes than I brought in my backpack and have no desire for more. I can’t help but think of my overly cluttered bedroom, with clothes i never wear and knick-knacks I don’t need. Such a life of excess. I showed some of the girls at my work a recent “People” magazine today. Jessica Simpson and a near nude Miley Cyrus graced the cover, none of the girls having any idea who either was. I am envious of this ignorance. People in the village walk around barefoot, in their tattered clothes, smiling, sharing cups of tea, living so simply and yet so happily. I can’t help but think, if we all simplified our lives a little bit, we might be better off.

2. Food
Compared to what I eat here, I feel embarrassed about the foods I ate at home. So much take out, frozen entrees, greasy fried anything, and overly processed crap that probably came from China. In Nepal, my meals consist of rice and vegetables. I realize I have complained about this, yes. But it is the root of the food itself that I am appreciating here. My meals are pulled from the garden minutes before they are cooked for me to eat. Every single one them. It blows my mind! Like I said previously, we don’t have a fridge so there is no storing food or freezing a prepackaged pizza. We also eat what is cooked (which can be quite a challenge for me sometimes!). Auma tries to prepare only enough for what we will need at that particular meal, if there is too much we stay until it is eaten. Leftovers are not a thing. She has a small rack of spices, sugar, and salt. The rice is harvested from nearby fields and the vegetables are growing in the front yard. Although I’ll admit I crave certain foods from home (burgers, a cheesy egg omelet, a sandwich), I cant honestly say I have not opened a packaged food since I’ve been in Nepal. And really I don’t think I’ve missed it too much. No packages of crackers, bag of chips, or box of cookies. Those things are just not eaten here in the village. In the future, I will try to be more conscious of what I eat and where it came from.

3. Sense of community
Nepalis love their neighbors! I wish I had the connection with my neighbors that they do. I don’t think I even knew my next door neighbors name (but I did know he was divorced and had weekend visitation rights!). I am ashamed about that. I know his gossip and not his name. I imagine the lady on the other side of me is old, because I see oxygen get dropped of and home health nurses stop in. It would be kind if I stopped by to offer some help now and again. Granted, I grew up surrounded by fantastic neighbors that I have remained close with, but neighbors are something I will appreciate more. In Nepal, if you are sick in the hospital your neighbors come to bring you food and take care of you. I can’t imagine what visiting hours looks like from what has been described to me. Your neighbors are almost more important than your extended family. Actually, they almost are a family. If you can’t pay your hospital bill at check out, your neighbors pitch in until it is filled. Imagine? If there is a project going on at the neighbors house, you forget your daily tasks and work until their job is complete. When you die, your neighbors arrange you a proper funeral and help with cost. I imagine that neighbors are synonymous with “best friends” as the people that live around you are probably going to be who you spend the most time with when you don’t have a car or phone or enough money for a plane ride. My best friends live all over the country and I don’t seem them regularly. When I get my next house, I will make an effort to know my neighbors.

4. Cost
Everything is cheap in Nepal! It all feels so reasonable. And if you don’t think so, feel free to say so and the shopkeeper will do his best to match your requested price. Last week, I went paragliding for $50. At Jackson Hole Resort in Wyoming, it will cost you a steep $350. That doesn’t even make sense. So much money all the time for everything in America. Hey Patagonia- I don’t want to pay $150 for that jacket, so how about I buy two jackets and we’ll make it a deal for $200. Haggling can be a headache, but it’s well worth a couple minutes of pain for a good price. There is so much overcharging and hidden fees and inflation crap in America it is ridiculous. Nothing costs what it actually costs anymore. The health clinic here in the village is free. Free checkups, free pharmacy, free pediatrician, free dentist, free everything. People can actually pay for college here too. You don’t have to sign your first child away and maybe even your soul to get a degree. Just saying. Life is cheap, and good.

5. Appreciation of culture

Nepal has such a beautiful, rich culture based from the Hindu religion. There are many daily rituals and cherished festivals. Nepali people love their culture and completely embrace all of it’s history. When was the last time you REALLY celebrated Presidents’ Day? Or labor day? Huh? I mean, don’t ask me how to celebrate.. but we have the day off of school for pete’s sake so I suppose we should do something. Just kidding, that’s a bit of an extreme example. But I’m just saying I/we could get to know our own culture a little bit better. The United States has a unique and diverse culture, that changes somewhat drastically from region to region. Anyways, I think I should try to appreciate my own culture a little bit more. As eclectic as our culture may be, it’s still pretty cool and I want to learn more about it. Nepali people have so many fantastic traditions and I want some of my own dang traditions. I will learn to love American history and celebrate my culture. Yay Thanksgiving!!

6. Actions speak louder than words
I grew being told this, but don’t feel like I really understood it until now. In a place where I can’t understand the words, the actions are all I have. Nepalis smile all the time. It makes me smile and feel happy. I can’t even talk to these people but they make me feel happy! I need to smile at people more when I go home. I am so wrapped up in my own head all the time that I don’t acknowledge anyone around me. Now, I know how it feels to be acknowledged and I will try to spread that happiness around a little bit better. Laughing also, it is amazing how much fun you can have with someone just by laughing. Baba speaks only a few words of english, but he laughs ALL the time. It is better than english. He laughs at me, he laughs at himself, and he laughs at absolutely nothing. I can’t help but start laughing and then neither of us can stop. I am having so much fun and I don’t even know why.  My family and boyfriend have scolded me on separate occasions for laughing “too much” in a movie theater. I used to feel embarrassed but now I have no shame. Sorry guys. Laughing is great, everyone should do it more often! As I’ve said before, I have recently experienced the magic of a cup of tea and I am hooked. I’ve never ever been a tea drinker and probably wouldn’t believe you if you said I someday would be. But on my hardest moments in Nepal, Auma handed over a cup of tea and suddenly I could breathe again. I’ve never felt so comforted by such a simple action. Maybe I’m the last to the party on this one, but I’m telling you people- TEA! And here’s the key, with lots of sugar!! It will stop your tears or someone else’s and warm your soul from the inside out. Some of my favorite moments this month have been sitting on the porch with Auma, sharing the silence with only smiles and sweet tea.

7. Environment
What a beautiful place I am in. But what an equally beautiful place I live in at home! Utah is one of the most breathtaking states in the US. Even in New England we have SO much beauty all around us! I am guilty of neglecting my surroundings. In the village, people live off the land and love it. The city (just a 45 minute trip away) provides so much more economically and beyond (running water, the potential for a refrigerator, a stove, etc). Yet, these people don’t have any interest. Auma and Baba hate the city. They do all they can to avoid it. It’s dirty, loud, busy, and ugly. They love the village- the serenity, the beauty, and the pace. I have so much of this all around me at home, there is no reason I should spending my saturday sitting on the couch. I do try to get out and enjoy it, but it wouldn’t hurt to appreciate it a little more. I have had much time to explore these past few weeks and my day almost feels incomplete without a hike after work. Often, I have no destination in mind (“m’am, where are you going??” “Just..walking” … thoroughly confusing to nepali villagers) but it makes no matter. Sharing the fresh air with the trees, sky, hills, and birds is so beautifully soul cleansing.  I can actually hear myself think, or sometimes I don’t even think at all, and it is so calming. I will seek out the beautiful places in my backyard more often, where I am, even if it’s just to wander. What do they say, “life is a journey.. not a destination” right? And its true, even in the smallest sense. Just journey out your front door today, to the nearest green space- breathe in, deep, and enjoy!

8. Hard work

The home I live in was made and is kept with the blood, sweat, and tears of its owners. Okay, maybe just the sweat, but it sounded good? There is no paying someone to fix your roof. clean your floors, tend to your gardens, or build your… anything. Baba is 60 years old and still wakes with the sun every.single.day. Every single day, he goes out to the fields to cut the grass to feed his animals or harvest the rice to feed his family. He returns mid afternoon with bushels twice the size of his body bursting behind his back. I have never seen such a little man carry such a big load. He makes another trip. And then it’s time to milk the buffaloes and make a trek to who knows where to sell his produce. He eats and then he sleeps, often fully clothed with the lights still on. This is a hard working man. I don’t imagine he will stop until he physically can’t do it. It is the same story across every village household. In the meantime, Auma has tended to all the animals, pulling out the dirty hay (soiled with many forms of excrement from nine non-potty-trained animals) and replacing it with fresh grass. She has cooked them breakfast (they eat dal baht too!) and lugged several gallons of fresh water up the hill for them to drink. You wouldn’t believe how much food is required by a buffalo. Then she tends the garden, fixes up the house, and also goes to the field. The bushels she carries are three times her size. Wow! My life is not hard. Sometimes, I whine that it is. These people are not afforded a sick day. They do not get to go their lake house for the weekend or take a road trip to the beach. They can’t complain to management that their load is too tough and the expectations unfair. If they don’t work, they don’t eat. My life is not hard. I will try to remember this, next time I am sitting in the staff room eating cookies and complaining about how crap my day is. I will remember a sweaty, tired, aging baba; still smiling though holding his aching back bones, on his way out to the fields on a Sunday. I will get up from my plush chair and work a little bit hard, relishing in the fact that tomorrow is a day off.
9. Ingenuity
Okay, whew, this writing thing is hard. So I may have to give these last two a little less love than number 1-8 or may fingers might fall off and my head pop. But as you know from my multitude of remarks about the struggles of village life, there are many many modern marvels that are lacking in this neck of the woods. The result, is a keen sense of ingenuity that would impress the likes of Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. If they were alive, that is. Everything is used, re-used, recycled, and refurbished around here. I wish I had been born with a creative bone in my bottom and maybe my remote-nepal-village survival skills would be a little sharper. Maybe in the next life. For now, I will look on in awe at medical tape tubes that become water pipes and short lengths of rope turned backpacks capable of carrying a fifty pound load. And next time something breaks at home, I will try to think a little bit harder about fixing it myself or finding it a new purpose before I run to the store or toss it in the trash.
10. Self Reliance
Okay, now I’m seeing stars. I will finish this post, I will finish this post. So I’m sure you can imagine where the art of self reliance comes in handy in my remote nepali village life. From a young age up here in the hills, the villagers figure out they’ve got themselves and themselves to count on when the going gets tough. Hell, I’ve figured it out and I’ve been here a month. People are brave up here and they’ve got it figured out that they count on themselves. My four year old neighbor walks two miles home from school by himself. The last half mile down a steep stone path (refer to post #2 for further insight on this path) and through the frequently leech infested rice paddies that I once cried about (also- post #2). He is usually singing or laughing when he gets home. I’m officially embarrassed about that. Auma swats scurrying mice off her face in the middle of night. She’s not scared or panicked, just irritated. Baba spends the day in the sweltering heat of the sun by himself. If something goes wrong, I suppose he could yell.. loudly. There’s no hospitals, police officers, or shops of any kind around when you’ve got an issue. Few people have cars. My point is, if you’ve got yourself a problem it’s on you to figure out how to fix it. These people live in conditions far more difficult than any of ours, and they just have to make it work. Some times things are really hard, and they work it out and survive. So can I and so can we all. Sometimes its good to remind yourself how strong you really are and that when it comes down to it you have to be the person you trust most in the world. I was scared, challenged, upset, and worried during the past month. I had no friends and not even a fellow english speaker around. But I made it through, with a smile on my face. It was a good lesson in my own strength. Sometimes, you can find a lot of comfort in discomfort.
Queue the band and fireworks. I made it through, and if you are reading this, so did you! You are a good person for sitting through my stream of consciousness and reading my sometimes incongruent thoughts. Sometimes it doesn’t even all make sense to me, so if I’ve managed to get any points across I’ll consider it a success. Even when living my home life, my mind is up and down and left and right. You can’t imagine what traveling Asia on my own has done to it! But, it has been both fun and therapeutic becoming a “blogger”. So I will continue trying to narrate my experiences, maybe letting you see a little bit of life through my greenish brown eyes. Thanks for reading!

Conversations with Nepalis

Some of the more interesting/entertaining/insulting moments of my day occur when I have conversations with various villagers. Between the little Nepali I speak and the broken english they speak, you never know what’s gonna happen. What really makes things interesting is their brutal honestly and lack of social appropriateness. A few excerpts from recent days-

Today was Bunda (Bundai?) in Nepal. I found this out while brushing my teeth in the community shower. “Bunda Nepal! Bunda Nepal! No school, no health post!” my young neighbors yelled up to me. “huh?” I had no idea what they were talking about. “Bunda!” Aneel yells again, now while making a gun with his hands and shooting at various things, his little brother his shooting what I can only guess to be a bow and arrow. I am so confused. At the moment I am thinking Bunda is either- a) a serial killer on the loose in our village or b) a hunter or hunters (maybe the crying tiger was finally spotted?) Either way I am apparently supposed to stay home. I return to my house, to find auma and see if she can shed any light for me. Her definition of Bunda is “no taxi, no bus, no school…. Bunda!”. Again, what? I called Krishna (her very helpful son) and he tells me there is a strike. OH, now I get it. Kind of. How did everyone find this out? Is there like a special smoke signal or something that tells the whole country to stay home from work? Who woke up and decided this? It’s not like anyone knew about this yesterday. One villager tells me “the students decided”. Sorry, but I highly doubt the students collectively got together has a country and said we’re not going to school today. Anyway, we did open the health post, but only had about 3 patients in 2 hours… so we locked the doors and went home. Bunda!

A few days ago I decided to hike from my mountain top village down to the city of Pokhara to visit with friends. The path descends from the touristy part of my village ( a 30 minute walk from my home) down to the valley, along the lake, and to the town. It starts right next to a little shop who’s owner I have befriended. I stop for some water and to say hi. I ask him “About how long to Pokhara by walking?” He says “For us, 30-40 minutes. But you… you a little, fat.” Chuckles, “So maybe one hour” 

A similar experience at the health post. The “waiting” area of the health post is actually more akin to a town pub, without the booze. The villagers come here daily, to see what everyone else is up to, catch up on the latest gossip, and complain about their problems. Granted, I don’t speak Nepali- so this is all speculation, but it seems likely. A few days ago, There were three middle aged guys sitting on the bench across from me, a few of the other health post workers sitting to my left. They were deep in conversation for about 30 minutes, I was completely tuned out because I haven’t any idea what they are saying. All of sudden, Rishi (my coworker), turns to me and says “How much do you weigh? They want to know” Um, what. “Why?” I asked, a little defensively, glaring at these weird 40 year old men. “They just do, they wonder” “They think I’m fat? In western culture it is very rude to ask someone their weight, especially a stranger” Rishi laughs, “Not in Nepal, we all know each other’s weight. It’s not rude. Please tell.” Rishi then proceeds to guess a few kilos more than I actually weigh, adding insult to injury. Also- everyone back home who is thinking WOW she must have gotten really fat. I have not, and have actually lost weight, just not enough by Nepali standards apparently. A few days later, Rishi is genuinely offended when I have only half a piece of pound cake that is offered to me. He can’t figure it out. I say “You think I’m fat, I don’t need a whole piece” He says “No if you’re heavy, you need more… eat!” UGH.

Yesterday, I went to the village center to use wifi. I look at the menu and order veggie momos (my favorite! a little steamed, veggie stuffed dumpling). “No momos today” says the waitress/chef/owner. Apparently there are no momos on sundays, good to know. I look through the menu and decide on french onion soup, don’t ask me why. “Uh okay, I try!” She says. Interesting response. 20 minutes later, I am served a steaming hot bowl of veggie broth with extra extra onions. French onion soup. It costs 75 rupees more than the veggie soup.

Every Nepali ever, when I walk in the village in any direction other than towards the touristy spot “Where are you going?” “Where are you going American???” “HEY!! Where are you going??!” It kind of ruins the peace of the mountains when I have to answer this question at least 20 times per walk (NOT exaggerating!). Doesn’t matter if their 5 years old or 90, if a Nepali knows any english phrase- that is it. And they all insist on knowing where I am going and more importantly, why. 

I Don’t Even Know What to Call This One

I will never complain about spiders or leeches again. Ever again. I swear. My problems are so much bigger. Wait for it…. RATS. BIG FREAKIN RATS. Except the Nepali people refuse to call them that, they are “just mouse”. Are you kidding? They are size of a small child and wake me up from my sleep. That is not a mouse. And “they don’t bite ever, but I do this one lady…”. Oh, okay.. so they do bite. Needless to say I did not sleep last night. And yes this morning I cried. Many times. First, when my sleepy eyed father opened his bedroom door at 2am to find me sleeping across it on the porch. Very confusing moment for us both. I decided the porch was safer than my bedroom, for some reason. Then a lady told me today that she heard a tiger crying last night. First of all- tigers cry???? Second of all- are you sure you didn’t just hear me??? Whatever. Anyway, sobbed some more over breakfast when I finally found out the nepali word for ‘rat’ (it falls under the same definition as ‘mouse’. ugh.) and tried to relay my odd behaviour to my mother. I couldn’t tell if she was scared for me or of me. She tried to be sweet about it thought…. tea!! Then I went to my volunteer post and and balled when my two middle aged male coworkers asked me how I was this morning. NOT OKAY!!! They immediately regretted it and I don’t think will ever ask me again. I did tell them I was sorry once I got myself together. Now I am down in the city, eating tabbouleh and drinking lemondade with my newly purchased mosquito net aka mouse net sitting next to me. I don’t know who I’m fooling. A mouse will claw through it in a half second but I’m gonna just pretend we’re all good. 

Hopefully I fall asleep before the roid-raged “mice” come out to play tonight. Or I will have to take an elephant dose of sleeping pills. Also am considering asking mom and dad if I can move into their room? Yay? Nay? Last night I saw the first one scurry across the rafter just before I got into bed, it was game over from there. I took turns between breathing and saving myself from the mice under my sauna sleeping bag. Saving myself would have won everytime except that suffocating kind of hurts. A few people offered to let me stay at their homes in the city tonight, but I declined because I’m either pretending to be a lot braver than I really am or I’ve just totally lost it. Dunno. But I do love the village and I want to make it work. I just wish night time didn’t exist. Or the super mice. Whichever. 

PS- Had a GREAT weekend! But too amped up on the animals right now to write about it. Came to the city (Pokhara) and stayed at a little hotel ($7 a night!) right in the central area. Went exploring and sightseeing with friends and then to the Nepali women’s festival yesterday! 

Makura massacre

Thursday there was a massacre in my room. Of makuras, or better known as spiders. They are the most massive I have ever seen in my life and I am trying desperately to be okay with them. Anyways, on my first night I went to use the bathroom (a small shack, outside the house, with a porcelain hole in the ground. Seriously!) and there was a HUGE spider just staring at me. I managed to use the bathroom without incident and crossed my fingers that I would never see one again. Anyway, thursday night I go to my room and there is one just hanging out above my bed! NOO, this is not happening. I know you’re all assuming I probably started crying, but really, I didn’t! I went outside and gestured to my house father (Baba) anticipating him to start laughing at me. But he did not! And then the massacre happened. I wish I’d gotten it on film. My little old parents jumping up and down and under my bed, chasing this makura, yelling at it (I think), and not giving up til every last one was killed. I just stood in the corner helpless, feeling like a big moron. I was silly to assume there was just one, because when all was said and done they had captured and killed at least 5. 

Next they decided that it would be to my benefit to put up an ancient mosquito net that I swear was made of lace and probably older than they are. They had obviously never used such a thing before, made clear by the 30 minute process and final outcome. When all was said and done, I had a lopsided yellow tinted net that was more effective as a decoration that anything else. They had managed to place the “entrance” of the mosquito net directly against the wall, leaving my entire bed exposed to spiders and no real way for me to get in or out. “Thanks!” I said “This is great!” They appeared to be quite impressed with themselves. Needless to say, I did not use the mosquito net that night. 

I wish they had not killed the makuras. In fact, I am surprised they did. The Nepali culture is very much centered around a belief of karma. It can not be good karma to murder innocent makuras. I am sure there must be a gang of them coming for me now. Everyone in Nepal assures me they are harmless and there is no such thing as a poisonous spider in this region. I can only assume I will find out.Image