Monday, December 16, 2013

On being an expat in Kathmandu

People at home often ask what it's like living in Nepal, and while we could talk at length about it, most people don't want the long version.  Here is a list of small things that give an idea of what it is like to be an expat in Kathmandu; it was started by a friend, was added to by another friend over here and again adapted by us.
1. Water is always an issue - is there any in the tank, had it been pumped to the top of the house, will there be hot water, did drinking water get delivered, etc. 
2. There is no government, but that doesn’t seem to bother anyone.
3. Our students are the best travel agents in town.
4. In the winter it’s warmer outside than inside
5. We step over sleeping street dogs like they are curbs on the pavement (and vaguely fear rabies)
6. “Namaste” isn’t about yoga anymore.
7. When I hang out with my British friend, I talk in her accent in my head for the next hour.
8. We love our jobs.
9. Nepalis are friendly and kind.
10. The Bagmati River in Kathmandu is the stinkiest river we have ever encountered.
11. We can see the Himalayas from school. 
12. It’s not uncommon to see someone with rice on their forehead.
13. We regret it every time we leave home without headlamps.
14. Instead of snow days we have bandh days
15. Work clothes can come from REI and white is never a good idea. Brown is always safe.  If you want to wear heels it is best to put them on once you get to work and not before. 
16. Bangles are always a good accessory choice
17. The roads are so bumpy it often feels like you are on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland
18. Stomach problems are a regular lunch time topic. 
19. We get in fights with taxi drivers over a 50 cent difference.
20. Cows get the right of way.
21. There is a Nepali holiday nearly every week.
22. We can find our way around Kathmandu without knowing a single street name.
23. Saris are beautiful. 
24. Our kids have an incredible extended family in our friends. 
25. Most "convenient stores" are walk-up stalls with only room for the owner to stand in and stock chip flavors like Masala
26. 9:00pm is Nepali midnight.
27. We love the monthly "Florida shipment" days when packages we've ordered get delivered through a forwarding company in the states. Coffee is a regular item. 
28. The power goes out twice a day, every day, for hours at a time
29. We can give and receive hugs through facetime and Skype
30. There is one foreigner clinic in town and you will inevitably run into someone you know (a student or parent usually) in the waiting room and engage in awkward chit chat until you get called back.
31. We don't even use the tap water to brush our teeth. 
32. “Morning price?”, “I live here.”, and “How much if I buy more than one?” are all bargaining techniques.
33. We have a place to stay in Lincoln, Nebraska and Lincoln, England. 
34. We buy clothes twice a year - Christmas and summer - when we go home. We also buy hygiene products in 6 month supplies. 
35. We love it!

1 comment:

  1. This makes me want to visit Kathmandu :) What is the name of the mail forwarding service you use?