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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Messages 1 2 3 

Appreciation to the 'Nepali Way' the beginning by chillibetty on 26 December 2006 10:58am
Well, almost impossible to objectively define- but at least it will be objective from my point of view.

30th October 2006
After spending 3 months travelling in Vietnam (attacked by a fan, a deer, monkies, a hotel manager and motorbike) we were sure that we would be equipped to deal with any issue arising abroad.

However, as we landed on the last day of October, we had little idea that no experience in the world can prepare a mother-daughter team for the 'Nepali Way'.

8 weeks on we are wiser and can shed some light on this fabulous country.
My 8-year-old began school straight away, made many friends, got a new puppy and clearly is very accepting towards the Nepali Way.

For me, it has been an interesting time to put it lightly... Against all odds and many hurdles, such as the constant black-outs, no hot or cold running water for weeks on end, near-death experiences on the roads, lack of proper beverages and two weeks of illness, I still maintain that the positives outweight the negatives by a very long shot.

One thing is keeping us at the edge. This is the constant state of "not knowing". I know in western societies this is a usually an unexceptable state, but here this is pretty much the essence of life. Surprises in any shape and form will happen on a regular basis. And this fact is the only thing you will know for sure.

In a snapshot here you have:
Smily faces, deep stares (if you are different...)
Amazing cloudless blue skylines with incredible backdrops of mountains
Traffic chaos and pollution (as per usual)
Traffic standstill every Friday (as per ordered by political forces, but great for people like us who use bicycles to get around)
70 thousand stray dogs in KTM valley and of course various other animals trying to share the little roads there are
Piece and quiet
Everyday challenges...
but more about these later
Re: Appreciation to the 'Nepali Way' the beginning by tucsonmike on 27 December 2006 1:36am
What made you choose Nepal as a place to live? Are you working?

It is not a place I would have thought of going until I read and saw Himalaya. Just seems so far away. (Then again, I speak of possibly going to Kazakhstan).

What does your family think of your bringing your daughter there?

Just seems like a heck of an adventure.
Re: Appreciation to the 'Nepali Way' the beginning by MarcoP on 27 December 2006 1:51pm
Woah, brave!
I had family issues with moving from Italy to Scotland! :-D
What made us come to Nepal. Re: Appreciation to the 'Nepali Way' the beginning by chillibetty on 13 January 2007 12:58pm
Well, this will be very difficult to pinpoint without entering into serious philosophical discussions.

However, let me try. Get yourself a nice cuppa!

The decision to move has been a long time coming. But just like the monsoon, you can be absolutely sure that it will arrive.

Neglecting adequate self-satisfaction in all areas of our lives would probably be the main reason. By nature, this covers quite many aspects of existence; life in the big city, no family ties, running around aimlessly on weekdays, not appreciating the real things in life...

We used to live in a 2 bedroom flat in London,(my second chosen home) altough next to the park and real posh, the immediate area was full of noisy council rents, drug-dealers, prostitutes, gangs of mobile-snatchers, who made many run for their lives, you felt you were in an violent, unruly Zoo most of the time. The only differences being that unfortunately 'they' were not kept behind bars and you foolishly paid for this pleasure many times over you would be usually asked for in London Zoo (I think around £12 per day)...

This kind of social destruction and breakdown can only interest one for a while, I guess, but most certainly it could not suffice as the evironment you would consiously decide to bring up your precious and yet-innocent child.

I was uncounsious myself for a while and the awakening began years ago.
From a very personal point of view, the final straw was reaching the total disillusion state about the Western way of life. Materialism, lack of respect, fragmentation of everything that we build our values upon, the disappearence of real relationships sank my heart way below acceptable levels and so the move really was a movement of inner self to a higher ground. After all, I can grow anywhere, right?

I had worked with someone from Nepal a while back on a large project and we got talking on e-mail. Him and his family offered many times to be our host if we ever came to visit. As the opportunity presented itself I was not going to turn it down. First, we took a detour to Vietnam, luckily I think, because a week after we actually arrived in November, the peace-accord was signed.

The rest is history...

What made us come to Nepal. Re: Appreciation to the 'Nepali Way' the beginning by tucsonmike on 14 January 2007 6:48am
OK I have my tea.

I guess Europe has those problems as well. I asked the chairwoman of the Sister City group if Tucsonans were that private. Her response? Not just privacy but apathy.

I like the Mexican element of the culture. Things just happen. That part comes from the Native Americans. They will seek signs. Alan Riding's book Distant Neighbors, explains the concept of "Ganas."

The maid quits before her wages are due. Why? Ganas. In standard Spanish, ganas means desire. A Mexican will use it as "felt like it." The maid quit because her spirit said it was a bad place to work. More and more I do things by feel.

Now that I have my Mexican friend I want to explore more. Maybe I will get to Nepal. Beatrix, I see the same things you do and you make some good points.

I need another cup of tea.

Re: Appreciation to the 'Nepali Way' the beginning by sighthound on 14 January 2007 8:41am
Thank you, chillibetty, for your thoughts. I totally understand your desire for a more authentic life and I wish that I had your courage. Please keep in touch and let us know how your odyssey proceeds. I'm eager to hear how things open up for you and I wish you well.

On another much more mundane note that I am hesitant to bring up, I'm an avid student of canine ethology so I'm intrigued about your observations of the 70,000 dogs there. What is the human population there and how big is the area where these dogs live and how do they survive? This is sorta OT here so you can respond to me privately if you wish at geraldine101010 @ yahoo.com (take out the two spaces)

Best wishes, Geraldine
What does my family think of bringing my daughter here? Re: Appreciation to the 'Nepali Way by chillibetty on 14 January 2007 5:37pm
Another cuppa? (Actually no clue!! Maybe I should ask them??)

The answer to this is really hidden in the question... 'MY' means I do not have to serve any explanations to anyone in my family about my decisions and my life. And since my daughter is totally my business and my life I think any decision concerning her shall remain 'MINE'.

On a more practical level let me give you some background info. Selfishness goes a long way in my family and no wonder we have no desire to be part of the mess and pretence we normally label as 'family'. Our family is small, but creates a lot of trouble and pain.

When we staid relatively near to Hungary while in London, my folks-who are very well-off- hardly ever visited, so they have no right now to complain about distance... As much as they all said they loved the only grandchild in the family- they, along with my sisters consistently failed and still fail to show this in an adequate manner.

My older sister (32) has just moved to Spain, busy with her life, so we do not hear much from her, and when she used to live in London, she normally neglected to bother with her only niece.

My younger sister (26) is as selfish as it gets. And envious maybe. We lived in the same city, although far from each other, (1 hour on the tube) we saw her at the most twice a year for half hour... it seemed she was not exactly appreciating my daughter either.

(Most importantly, if it was not for me neither of them would have ever come to London, as I put them up in my house for 2 and 1 years respectively!!)

In fact, you will be shocked to hear that NONE of them sent even a Christmas present for my lovely 8 year old.

All this will make me sound like someone who just complains about everything- but you have to understand that I am just laying down the facts for you plain and simple... Not bitter, not angry, maybe a little sad that I cannot make my own family understand simple things like love and how to show that love.

And, I shall not even attempt to actually make them understand why we left and how we can manage without their 'support'.

They are the ones, who miss out, not us. We have nothing to learn from them. We have learnt to deal with our on issues ourselves, not expecting any help or real support. Despite our resistance to liven up family ties with our closest, we receive critism and that with a bucketload. Even when we are this far, we seem to attract their negativity. I say- hell no, this is exactly what we refuse to live with, then I realise, that maybe this is the only way they know to show their love. My god, some people have a long way to go!!

Without intending to sound superior, I am finding that the two of us with 38 years of experience have more emotional intelligence than 4 grown adults will ever have?

It took me a long time to overcome my family's neglect and to accept that they simply do not know any better and move on swiftly. Of course, thta hardest part is that my daughter suffers as a result, but she will also learn that empty words need not be listened to and family matters are sometimes rough. I teach her also to be assertive with people and to recognise and move away swiftly from negative forces.

And this is just half of our family!! Don't get me started on my in-laws!
Only kidding... they are quite the opposite- huge family with gigantic hearts!
The desirable Mexican Way by chillibetty on 14 January 2007 6:25pm
Mike, I read you comments with interest.
Spontaneity with flair is really great. Planning is brilliant too. I feel however, that there is really more to life than knowing exactly what is to happen next week, or in your 9-5, or how 'cool' you are and what car one drives.

No doubt the debate could go on about the pros and cons of getting out of your safe zone, but I can verify that Life is for living and the Zoo is for visiting. And I beg you not to miss any opportunity to SAFARI!

The mind will become more accepting and open and you will be able to choose your very own path! Shaky legs, perhaps even p***ing in your pants, but would you rather die of excitement or boredom?

Maybe you should get to Nepal..., or Kazakhstan, or...
70 thousand stray dogs by chillibetty on 14 January 2007 7:03pm
Thanks Geraldine for your comments!
Glad you enjoyed my little rumblings. Ok long rumblings.

I was going to write about the dogs later, because it is just amazing how they survive here, but being prompted I bring this pleasure forward...

The human population in the valley can be anything between 600K-1 million, but let's go with the median of 800K. There was of course a recent expansion to the capital due to village folk seeking refuge from the Maoist threats. (As in literally taking young kids by FORCE into traning camps for over a decade) My uncertainty stems from the above and noone really knows or counted!

My source on the canine issue however is fantastically reliable and was shed light upon as we handed over our puppy to the vet in Lalitpur for her immunisations. We were shocked by his comments on the situation. He has been one of the very first vets to open many years ago, promptly recognised the seriousness of the stray dogs problem and was inclined to do something about it. So he researched, estimated and proposed a programme of neutering... BRAVE MAN. Little did he know the obstacles ahead. In particular, the unwillinness of humans to contribute to his plans. So, he stopped at around 800...

Therefore, the dogs remain in ever greater numbers, most of them in petrifying conditions, riddled with illnesses, most of them infected with rabies, many disabled, many starving so much that can hardly walk.

It is pretty heart-breaking. Suffering on unimaginable scales. I say this because they really are helpless.

However, they are really good-natured and we never saw them agressive or attacking.

Saying that, walking our puppy has proved to be a very dangerous act, as we walk through villages, we almost always come across some territory-defending monster that is ready to take our little one into pieces.

Of course, we defend her with incredible bravery!

Re: 70 thousand stray dogs by tucsonmike on 15 January 2007 2:28am
I guess it is true. Westerners have become extremely uptight and wrapped up in trappings and not enjoying life and exploring.

No, you should not have to explain to your family your decision. Trust me, life got better when I came to Tucson.

Question. Are you afraid of the Maoists? Have you started to learn a local language? I wrote a Masters Thesis about Tibet, so I am a little curious about Nepal.

If you want, email me, [email protected]

I'll let you know Wed. when I present my talk of Toastmasters in Kazakhstan.

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