|We have a winner.|
In the states, when someone doesn’t understand English well, people have a tendency to speak louder and slower. Here, instead of getting louder, their Nepali gets quieter when I don’t understand them, and start talking with their hands instead. So confusing! I asked Kanchan about it and she said that they do that because they think I can’t understand them, but I REALLY can’t understand their sign language. Sometimes when I’m talking to someone, they get quieter and quieter and I can tell they’re about to change to just sign language, so I start trying to repeat what they say so they don’t switch. I caught my step mom doing it and internally I was like “NOOOOO!!! aaaand another one bites the dust.” Luckily my birthdad didn’t do that, he knew he had to speak slowly with me. When we visited other people, he'd often repeat what they said either slowly or in simplified speech so I could understand.
They liked to teach me to write and read in the Devnagari script, which I can do pretty proficiently, just painfully slow. It’s really fun. I would go downstairs and hangout with the tailor and his wife and their one-year old boy. After a few minutes, one of my uncles would come in and steal the show. He liked to shout the few English phrases he knows, like "WHAT ARE YOU...DOING?" or "WHERE YOU GOING?" or "WHERE YOU FROM?"
One time, I was sitting out side with some family, and a bideshi guy was awkwardly standing across the street. They said, "Namaste, hotel daai!" (hello hotel older bro!) He didn't understand and everyone was giggling. Then they realized I could probably speak to him, so they were prodding me "ooh speak to him! ask where he's from!!" So I found out he's from Oregon and he likes to raft yadda yadda. But it was funny seeing his reaction when out of a herd of Nepalis lounging in the street, one of them speaks pretty good English. I really like blending in, then BAM hello foreigner, I speak your language. I definitely get a kick out of using this natural camoflage, even with my friends around. It's the best disguise ever. Anyways, after we were done talking, my family/neighbors asked "ooh!! eh eh what'd he say!?" and I had to translate which was pretty cool.
A few nights after getting back from Sommaya's village, there was another tiny festival. Most of the village went out to the mandir that is on the peninsula where the two rivers meet and danced. It was really fun! Debaki and one of her friends danced with me and told me what the song types were. I knew 2 songs from school: Rusam pheriri (spelling..?) and Simple simple kanchi (learned from trekking.
|Mandir where the 2 rivers meet.|
Debaki and two of her friends also recently bought a pig. They feed it and clean it and plan to sell it to make some extra money. I spent one night with them wandering around the village asking if people had uneaten daal bhaat, which we collected for the pig. Other nights, I would ride a bike that all the kids took turns on. It was slightly scary because one of the pedals was mostly missing, the front wheel was extremely bent, and the right-hand brake didn't work. I tried to fix the brake but 1) I didn't actually know how and 2) none of the screws seemed to be budging. Buwa liked to watch tv, especially "boxing," aka wrestling. I think it's funny to watch because the acting is so bad. Smita's husband also likes wrestling, so I've seen a lot of ridiculous men in ridiculous speedos doing ridiculous angry, macho things.
For a little bit, I thought my step mother was really sweet. I was initially really wary of her, I thought she was going to smite me dead while I slept. Back when my birthmother died, she (my step mom) didn’t treat my sisters well - saying ‘these are not my children and they are not my responsibility.’ They also say she might have beaten them sometimes. But, that was 21 years ago, and she was newly wed to my birthdad and with out kids yet. Since then, none of my sisters live at home (2 married, 2 in school in Kathmandu, 1 in the US). She was always trying to feed me. At dinner she’d ask if I want more and I'd say ‘no no that’s enough” and she says “ali keti?” just a little more? just a little? gahh. I gained SO much weight. Daal bhaat bellies ambush you out of no where.
Anyways, I started to get annoyed with her because she started to ask for money. She always did it when I was alone and when buwa was gone which seemed really weird. One time she mentioned how she cared for me as a kid, and then proceeded to ask for money. That bugged me a little because I knew how uncooperative she was at that time and that she was part of the reason I was adopted. I just pretended I didn't understand her or just smiled and nodded. Buwa also mentions they don't have enough money, but never unprompted. It's usually when I ask questions like what he's going to do when the new road comes or what he's doing for work these days. I mentioned to buwa that one time she asked for clothes. He just laughed, said she had enough, and didn't need more. Who knows. I think I'll get her a nice hat.
I really liked my half sister and brother. Debaki seems really industrious and independent. Suresh is really cute - he hasn’t quite hit puberty yet, so his voice is still high. I shared a room with them. I got the bed and they slept on the floor. I felt awful. They wouldn’t take the bed. They also didn’t let me help make breakfast or dinner for awhile until I hovered in the kitchen and started snatching potatoes to peel or just peeling garlic. Sometimes I could also get away with cleaning or doing my own laundry.
My last night there they served me meat. This included the 1/4 inch thick buffalo skin and its fat. I reaaaaallly didn't want to eat this, but it's not one of those cultures where a dad (or dog) can just swoop in and eat your leftovers. Soooo....I did a total little kid thing and when they weren't looking, put the skin and fat into my hand, put the hand in my pocket, and "went to the bathroom" to dispose of the fat. I feel a little bad, but once it was on my plate, I knew they wouldn't eat it. ALSO I justified this by thinking about my food boundaries that have been widened - namely in the category of vegetables. I drew the line at chewy skin and straight up fat.
Today Kanchan asked what the difference between "home and house" were. This was pretty easy. I said they're usually the same, except home can be more abstract, like somewhere you feel comfortable. A house is usually just physical and not always a home to someone. Just now, she and her friends asked what "insist" was. That was hard. I just used my thesaurus.
Happy belated Thanksgiving! My friends and I got together for a huge dinner at a foreigner restaurant. This was one of our friend's first Thanksgiving (Luna's) because she's from Denmark. We ate everything we were supposed to and were packed full. It was so nice because everyone has been doing research for the past 3 weeks, some of us all alone. So it was a great reunion and I think everyone really appreciated everyone else. The whole group is smart, hilarious, good looking, and interesting. I will miss them all after Nepal!