In some ways this is unbelievable, simply because I never thought this day would come, but honestly, Kathmandu is looking better than ever. When I say “ever”, I am referring to the last two years I’ve been here, so not exactly “ever”, but you know what I mean. Figure of speech and whatnot. The main road in front of our house that has been dug up and dusty for over a year now, is finally getting paved (to some extent). Cement blocks have been laid down and the dust has settled (again, to some extent). There is still a long way to go before it’s finished, but it’s amazing to see some progress after lots of dust and mud for months. The fact that a newly paved road turns into a vegetable market every night around 6 pm, is not important.
After the SAARC summit ended, I predicted all the cleaning work they’ve done around the city will go to waste, but lo and behold, they’ve been keeping everything clean. I am amazed to see the road cleaning truck cleaning the roads almost every morning! A sight that was hard to come by in Kathmandu before. I wonder if the truck will be there only until it breaks down for the first time!? I am not sure maintenance is in place around here. But regardless, this is happening right now and it makes me excited. Flowers are trees are still in places they were planted, and flourishing. Roads are still being built, fixed and arranged. Traffic police seems to be managing traffic better than ever. Almost all the major roads in Kathmandu are getting solar lamps. It’s just great! Kathmandu is slowly, but surely transforming into a more livable city.
However, and yes there always need to be “however”, small roads, the ones that “don’t matter as much” are still a complete wreck. Take our road for example. It used to be a very nice road. All the neighbors chipped in money to have it paved. It was lovely. Then the government decided to change sewage and water pipes. That’s good right? So they dug up the road, but never paved it back again. Just left piles of mud. That encouraged some of the neighbors to start digging as well. Before we knew it, the road was a mess. Hole upon hole upon hole. Muddy, dusty and horrible. Sometimes when I drive home and make a turn from the main road onto our street, I feel like I enter a different world. Like I just traveled through time and landed in Middle Ages. Muddy road, filled with potholes. People huddled around small fires by the road. Stray dogs and half-naked children running around. And no, I am not exaggerating. Hopefully, some day soon back roads will be taken care of as well, and Kathmandu will become a true capital city.
Until then, mask up!
Work on progress – absolutely necessary
The inevitable has happened. I started neglecting my blog and writing less and less. And it’s not because I don’t like blogging or writing. And it’s definitely not because I got nothing to say. Believe me, I got plenty of things that I want to share. It’s because most of the things I want to say or write about are negative. You see, I entered somewhat of a “frustration” phase in my life in Nepal. I am annoyed and frustrated by almost everything surrounding me. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not because Nepal is not a good place, or because Nepalis are not nice people. There are plenty awesome things in Nepal and my life in Nepal, like:
1. The super tasty Japanese food I get to have often
2. Or this amazing view
3. And the Samosas I raved about on my social media
4. And especially this spectacular pool I got to enjoy recently.
But living abroad is a tricky thing. You experience a range of emotions you never even knew existed. And my emotions right now happen to be more negative than positive. I believe it wouldn’t be fair of me to write only negative stuff about Nepal just because of my state of mind. So until my attitude and my feelings change, my blog might be seeing a dry spell. But don’t worry Nepal, it’s me, it’s not you.
You would mistakenly think that culture shock is something that hits you in the first week of your stay at a new place. In fact, culture shock is a sneaky little devil that creeps up on you just as you start to relax. I have been in the first, and the best stage, Honeymoon stage, for quite a while. I liked everything; happily enjoyed all that Nepal had to offer. Then I slowly started easing into the Withdrawal stage. You see, in that particular stage you start finding things around you different, strange and frustrating. I went through a whole bunch of bad days (not to be negative and say weeks and months), and I thought I was finally over it. I thought I was surely making my way to the Adjustment stage which would offer me some relief from the frustration I was feeling. Then my two trips to Croatia happened. They were lovely. No wait, that’s wrong. They were amazing! And also, they made me focus on the bad sides of Nepal again upon my return. And then back I am in the Withdrawal stage. Boy, it sucks.
I got good days; don’t get me wrong. I also got excellent days. I got days when I am in love with Nepal, Kathmandu, my family, my job, my life. Then there are the bad days. There are days I don’t sleep because of heat, or dogs, or mosquitos, or all three combined. There are days I don’t understand why people drive like maniacs; why plumbers/carpenters/painters don’t actually know how to do their jobs; why sun is so strong that it’s killing my freshly planted tomatoes; why ground is uneven and I keep tripping. The last two are totally logical, right? Yup, such is the culture shock. And there’s nothing I can do to fight it. Only time promotes you to the next stage. I feel like I am half way there. Just the last small push and I will be Adjusted. After that, only the straight road ahead: onto the Enthusiasm stage where, apparently, only milk and honey flow.
This is, in fact, an outside wall of the bathroom, that needed no remodeling. Now it does. Joy.