Missing Some Things from Home

I haven’t talked to an American in weeks (outside of skype and gchat). I have been meeting lots of really awesome, friendly people around my age, but I miss connecting over American culture. I also miss food from home…My cravings seem to come in waves. I’ll totally forget about whole wheat bread or home-made cake or chicken noodle soup and then I’ll see something or smell something and it all comes back. Last week, someone with sweet-smelling perfume walked by. It happened to really smell like sticky buns, and after I got a wiff, all I could think about was those delicious gooey desserts.

A Turkish lady I know told me that it took her two years to adjust to life in the US, but it never really felt like home. When I came to Nepal for the first time, everything seemed strange and new, but slowly things became more normal, and I didn’t look on with wide eyes every time the morning meal was being cooked. But there are some things that I probably won’t ever feel comfortable with. The traffic is one thing. Other things have to do with culture and tradition. At least in the Baun and Chhetri castes, women (particularly mothers) traditionally serve other family members first, making sure they are fed, and then eat after everyone else has finished. Because of rules about jutho (where after you start eating with your hands, you can’t reach to take seconds; someone else has to do it for you), this method may be practical. But it’s never going to feel right to me.

I miss some aspects American culture, but I never have to fear that I’ll forget my traditions or that my children will never learn them. It’s different for those who move to the US. In Nepal, the channels on TV are fulls of English language programs, and cuisine from the US is served in plenty of restaurants. If I raise children in Nepal, they will learn both Nepali and English. If I raise children in the US, they might speak a little bit of Nepali but probably won’t be fluent. Not all immigrants to the US want to maintain the culture or language of the country they come from. But for those who do want to preserve these things, it can be very hard, particularly in the face of discrimination and anti-immigrant feeling.

I know that things will continue to get easier, and I’m hoping my cravings for the American food will diminish. I also have Tri! Not only does he understand my American mannerisms and culture, but he’s also really supportive, and when I’m having a bad day, he always makes feel better.

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8 thoughts on “Missing Some Things from Home

  1. If you ever need a sympathetic American ear let me know!

    When I was in India I used to yearn longingly for salad. Not just sliced carrots, raddish and cucumbers but the whole salad shabang. I used to take those three sliced vegetables and eat them with mint chutney to trick myself into thinking I was eating salad. I think that would be the hardest part for me if I moved to Nepal for the long run. I love fresh crunchy veggies, and P’s mom is horrified every time I eat lettuce.

    🙂

  2. NIce post. So how come you and Tri don’t live in the US? Is it just because you are enjoying living in Nepal or is it because of him not wanting to move or visa stuff? It’s so hard to decide what country to live in. When we have kids, I would really love to live a few years in Nepal so they can understand their dad’s culture and spend time with their Nepali grandparents. But if we have a mortgage and careers over here it’s going to be so hard to decide what we will do

    • We moved here after his mom passed away, wanting to spend more time with the rest of his family. I don’t know how long we’ll be here for, but it’s possible that we might live in the US or Nepal or both in the long run. It’s never easy to move to a new country; you always have to give up things in the old one, but we were lucky to have few things (like mortgages, etc.) tying us to US. I think if all of this had happened 10 years down the road, it would have been harder for us to make the move.

      There are definitely job opportunities here (of course it depends on the field), but if you move here, you wouldn’t necessarily have to give up you career. And being here (both during study abroad and now) has helped me to figure what field I want to go into.

      Before you come, just make sure that your husband can get back to Australia. In the US, we met with an immigration lawyer to make sure that Tri could apply for a green card from Nepal for when we want to return to the US.

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