And We’re Back

After almost 40 hours traveling, we made it Nepal! Trilok’s dad has actually been in the US for the last few weeks for work. We weren’t able to make it down to New York or DC to see him, but we knew we’d be meeting soon in Nepal. He flew into Kathmandu the same morning as we did (on a different flight), and Trilok’s brother, uncle, aunt, and cousin were all there to pick us all up.

I still can’t believe that we’re back. It seems so strange but entirely normal at the same time. In some ways, I feel like we never left Nepal in the first place, but, of course, things have changed. The city feels just a bit more crowded, and Trilok’s brother has been telling us that the government has been busy building new roads around the valley. Bua’s home is also different now. Things have been moved around and there’s a new room that’s been added on the roof. We also have a new member in the family since Trilok’s dad remarried last year. She is a wonderful women who is doing so much to make us feel at home.

I expected changes in Nepal and in our home life here, but what I didn’t expect was the flood of emotion I would feel after arriving in Kathmandu. For the last year or so, I’ve tried so hard to put Nepal out of my mind. I think that part of that has been a desire to mitigate the pain I felt about leaving, but it got to a point where I wasn’t even sure I wanted to come back this summer. However, since Tri was traveling here and I wanted to be with him, I knew I would go. I expected to feel sort of indifferent when I arrived, but instead I have felt incredibly relieved. I had forgotten how much Nepal feels like home to me. Of course I also have a home in Philadelphia, where I’m from, and now a home in Boston, where I live, but I can happily say that Nepal is on that list.

I had also forgotten how much meaning Nepal brings into my life. I can’t say for sure whether it’s the family that we have here, the people in general, Nepali culture, or the physical beauty (maybe a combination of these things), but there’s something about this place that makes me feel content and at peace and loved. I am very happy to live in the US, but after being in Nepal for just a day, I feel like I have a renewed vigor to work towards a life that allows us to live in Nepal for a month or two out of the year. I don’t want to get my hopes up! But at the very least, it’s nice to know that I will always have a second country to come home to.

For the next few weeks, Tri and I will be meeting up with friends, visiting our old haunts, and spending lots of time with family. We’ll be jetting off to Thailand for five days in the middle of our trip, and my parents are coming to visit us here in late July, so it should be an interesting month 🙂

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Breaking the Ice

I keep starting blog post after blog post, trying to figure out exactly what I want to write, but I seriously don’t know where to start. So instead I’m just going to say that it’s been way to long since I posted last! I’m going to try and post a bit more for at least the next few months.

Partly because…we’re going back to Nepal for a month in July! I’m super excited to see friends and family and eat a TON of Nepali food while I’m there. Thinking about going back to Nepal is bitter sweet because I know that we’ll only be there for a few weeks, but alas such is life. Tri thinks that after our short visit, I’ll be ready to come home to Boston, and I kind of hope he’s right so that it’s not too painful to leave.

I can tell you a little bit about what I’ve been up to for the past however many months. Since last summer, I’ve been working at a learning center, mostly helping kids who have dyslexia. I’ve also been applying to and getting into grad school and taking classes that I needed to get out of the way before I start school in the fall. For the next two years, I’m going to be studying communication sciences and disorders so that I can become a speech language pathologist. As I’ve written about before, my interest in language and communication all started back in Nepal when I was first learning Nepali. In college, I became more interested in communication disorders when I got the chance to shadow a few speech language pathologists. While I was teaching in Kathmandu, I kept asking around to figure out if anyone knew of any speech language pathologists there. Although I did hear of people in Kathmandu hospitals who work with stroke patients on language skills, I don’t think that any of the schools in KTM have speech therapists. Anyway, I’m kind of hoping to do some more sleuthing while we’re there to see if I can meet a Nepali SLP.

For the month of June, I’ll be finishing up my last prerequisite classes and getting ready for our trip. I’m so excited to be posting again. I had forgotten how much fun it is to blog!

Making Sense of Migration

One of my co-workers from Korea told us today that she’s leaving Nepal in mid-November  because her visa is going to expire. Her fiance, who will be leaving with her, is also an immigrant (from Europe), but neither of them want to return to their home countries. They’re not sure where they’ll be headed next. I felt so sad. Although I’ve only known her for a short amount of time, we connected over travel, life in Nepal, and being in international relationships. Hearing of her departure got me thinking about movement and migration.

In the US, I’ve met people from all over the world. What seems to be particular about immigrants to the US is that they often move there and stay, or at least the ones I’ve met have. So once I get to know someone from another country, it’s easy to meet up and stay in touch.

In Nepal, I’ve also met people from all over the world or who have lived in or traveled to other countries. Many of them are Nepali who have lived in the US, Australia, Europe, or other places and are back to visit. Some have lived abroad for years (like Tri) and are back in Nepal for a while. Others are temporary or permanent immigrants from the US, Korea, China, and other places.

What’s different about the people I meet here is the brevity of their time in Nepal. Even though some of the immigrants I meet or the Nepalis returned from abroad are planning to settle here for good, the majority of them will move away again. It makes for a lot of mixed emotions. I love meeting these people who have great stories to tell and different perspectives, but it’s also incredibly sad getting to know them and then coming to terms with the idea that I may never see them again.

The amazing thing about it is it makes me live in the moment, enjoy the likely limited time I have with new friends, but it’s never easy. Those in international relationships have to consider these realities of movement and migration all the time. For me and Tri, at least one of us will always be an immigrant, no matter where we live.

I’m still trying to understand migration and the mixed feelings I have about it. For those of you who have lived abroad, traveled, immigrated, how do you make sense of the realities of migration?