Monthly Archives: September 2011

Earthquake in Kathmandu

It was end of a beautiful Spring weekend , around 11:00pm, Sunday 18 September 2011 . I was about to go to bed and just browsing my facebook page. My heart sank when I read the status of one of my friend “Earthquake in Kathmandu”. Without thinking, I pick up the phone and dialled my parents’ home number in Kathmandu. I got through but noone was picking up the phone.

I was really scared as I was trying to get more information but as it just happened, there was no information in any media apart from facebook. Now it seems like everyone have calm down in Nepal and updating their status in twitter and facebook. I have read so many times before that Kathmandu is hotspot for big earthquake so my mind was racing 1000mile/hr on why noone is answering phone at my parents house. In the mean time, AS got hold of his family and they were fine.

Seeing me worried, AS asked me to call my dad’s mobile and he picked up the phone in 2 rings. I was so happy to hear his voice and to know everything was fine. He just explained to me that they went to ground floor when earthquake started and they are still there for a while in case aftershock occurs. I talked to my mum for a while before hanging up.

After I hung up the phone, I couldn’t get the fear out of my head . I am so far away from them, the only way I have contact with them is phone and Skype. Imagine if something happened and there is no phone and internet in Nepal for sometime, I won’t be able to be in touch with them. I can’t imagine what would I do .I am trying my best to go there more often and they have come and visit whenever they could but it is nothing like living in next city or next door. We are so far away, 8,028 km according to Google that it make me wonder sometime “Is that really worth coming so far from my parents to find a better life?” Is my life really better now that it would have been if I have stayed and lived in Nepal?

 Sometime I feel really bad thinking my parents have given up so much to make me who I am .Now when I am capable and independent, I am so far and they have noone to look after them. I know they are really happy for me that I am doing well and happy in life but from within I always feel guilty that I let them down. They are growing old everyday and I hope I can be with them when they need me the most. One day I want them to be living  around the corner from them so I can pop in whenever I want but until then thank you Skype for making me feel closer to them. Can’t wait to talk to them this weekend.

Big, Loud, Crowded, Nepali wedding

Around three years ago, I decided to get married. From that day, I have dreamt of having a very big traditional Nepali wedding. I know every girl dreams to fall in love with their prince charming and have the biggest celebration possible, and I was no different.

There is a special reason why I mentioned 3 years. It is because before that I always thought marriage, especially Nepali traditional marriage, are made only so that men can transfer the job of cooking, cleaning and looking after them from their mothers to their wives.

I am not a feminist but I hate to be one of those wives so I decided that not getting married was the easiest way out. I even told my decision to my parents and they constantly tried to changed my mind. They always gave me all the reasons why marriage is good for me.

Growing up I was a tomboy with lots of male friends. I always found it is easy to make friends with boys than be with a bunch of girls. I do have some really good female friends but I was never a part of the girl group. Hanging out with boys was more fun and I was learning how to ride motorbike and how to play pool.

But things changed slowly when I came to Australia. I started liking dresses to pants and let my hair grow. I still remember my dad’s reaction when he saw me for the first time when I went back to Nepal for the first time after four years. I think seeing me with big earrings and in a dress made him realise that I was no longer a tomboy who had left Nepal four years ago. His exact words were “My daughter has grown up”.

Around 2006, I started getting invitations from my friends for their wedding. I used to ask them how they knew “he/she” was the one. They told me , they were happy with this person  they have married. Even though marriage is not a piece of cake but it isn’t bad either. The weddings I went to were between Nepali – Indonesian, Nepali – Fiji Indian, Nepali – Pilipino, Nepali – Aussie, Nepali – Italian, or Nepali – Nepali. No matter who they were marrying ,one thing was common , they were all in love and extremely happy to be married.

Most of my close friends got married which meant that I was now hanging out with couples. Then I saw what was missing in my life. I saw the care and love they had for each other. They still had arguments, they still disagreed with each other on some things but at the end of the day, they cared for each other and they loved each other.

I wanted the love and care that you can only get from your partner. I liked the thought that “You are no longer alone and there is always someone looking after you.” When I was sure of what I wanted, I called my parents and let them know my decision. I think that was one of the best days of their life as they had been worried sick that I would end up as an old and miserable spinster.

Fast forward two years and I was in the middle of the chaos of my own wedding celebration. Almost a year of preparation from both the families, a few changes to the wedding dates, a twenty man band, almost 2000 guests, 10 day long celebrations and finally me and AS were getting married. It was loud, it was crowed, it was chaotic but I didn’t mind that. I was actually enjoying it. With the blessing of both the families and all our relatives and friends, we got married. One thing I learnt from this experience is that “marriage is not just about two people but it is about two families” – At least, it is in Nepal.

Travel Travel Travel

Since I can remember I wanted to travel, but living in Nepal, it was just a dream which was hard to turn into reality. So I used to go to libraries and look at photos of all these beautiful palaces I wanted to go to and dream. I wished that when I grew up I would very rich and would travel all the time or I would have a career that would take me around the world. (Neither happened  )

Growing up watching channels like Travel and Living and Discovery made my dreams come alive. Not only could I see the picture perfect mountains, landscapes or cities, full of nice things to do, in pictures but I can see them move. I could see the most amazing sunrise but couldn’t feel the sun rays against my skin, could see these amazing sea creatures but couldn’t go swimming with them or I could see these small cafes next to the snow-capped mountains but couldn’t feel the fresh air. I think my inner travel demon became even more restless. Deep inside me, I always hoped that one day I would be able to go to these places.

When I came to Australia, I thought “I am a step closer to my dream.” I hdn’t seen an ocean until then but now I was swimming in it. I thought that at least I have come one step closer to becoming a world traveller, but being a student it was really hard to find time and money to travel. I still tried my best and travelled around Sydney whenever possible. The first time I went outside NSW was for my graduation which was held in Melbourne. I was so happy to make this trip because I knew this is the starting of what I wanted to do all my life.

After graduation the biggest reward I gave myself was a proper holiday. And that was FIJI. Ohooo it still feels so good as it was a dream come true.

Am I less Nepali?

Every time I met any new Nepali , the first thing they ask me is “how long you been here?” . When I answer “more than a decade”, they react with answer “Ohoo pure Aussie baisakecha”(So you are Australian now?) I used to get annoyed with those statements before but now I kind of expect it.

It always makes me wonder, just because I have been living in Australia and going to Nepal only during holidays, will that make me less Nepali than someone else who came here just a few years ago?

Nepal, for me, is still my home and I have good memories from there. My parents still live there. I still worry about the situation there and keep myself up to date with the news and current affairs from there. It is true that I have spent most of my time here in Australia but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care or think about Nepal in a different way than what I used to do 15 years ago. So how come some random person can imply that I am less Nepali than they?