Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just so you all know, I'm still alive...

Allow me to apologize for my most grievous sin: I have failed to update my blog for over a week. While I would prefer to use a laptop to write this important post, I am stuck with my tablet in the WiFi-equipped faculty room at my school, so please excuse any typos.

I arrived at my placement in Lalitpur, a little over an hour from KTM, last Monday. My new house is a concrete structure in the midst of many rice paddies. I say structure because it is under construction, as my host family is attempting to add two more floors to their home. Most of it is there. It is just missing a few key features, like railings on the staircases, or indoor toilets.

Other than the brick and concrete dust raining down every day, it is a very nice abode. Every evening, we take chiya, or tea, in the third floor terrace - and is the monsoon is kind, we can watch the sun set over the far western hills of the valley. My bedroom is also the temporary sitting room, but it is cozy, with bright blue walls and a very welcome mosquito net.

My family is lovely: I have an aamaa (mother), buwaa (father), and bai (younger brother). They all speak English to some degree, and are determined to learn more from my presence. While technically of the Brahmin, or highest, caste, my aamaa is a Christian, and she teaches Nepali at a local Catholic private school. My buwaa is Hindu, and also the primary cook, which is rare in Nepal. While watching my host parents share housekeeping duties is nothing new to me, my aamaa has assured me it is uncommon, and their neighbors find it odd.

It speaks greatly to the kindness of my host parents that on the first night, I woke them up around 12 as I tried to break out of the house to use the bathroom, and they did not seem to mind in the slightest.

My school placement is an easy fifteen minute walk from my house that takes me through the heart of Lubhu (loo-voo) bazaar. The student ages range from nursery to class 10, and there is an average of 15 to 20 students per grade. Communication has been a tad difficult, both with students and faculty, because of my limited Nepali, but there are a few teachers that speak English well. I am currently teaching classes 1, 2, and 3, but I may add more in the coming weeks. Today was my first day teaching, because last week was filled with exams. I did, however, help to run the English listening and speaking exams.

I think the students were terrified of me.

I shall end on the topic of food. There is always a morning and evening meal, and each almost always consists of rice, lentils, and curried/pickled vegetables. I say almost because my aamaa has kindly acknowledged my love of noodles. "Pickled" has a different connotation in Nepal, and normally refers to a salsa-like condiment made from salt, lemon, and fresh vegetables. There is normally a light lunch in the middle if the afternoon, and after that, milk tea and biscuits. Thank goodness I enjoy tea!

Well, that's about all I can type right now. I apologize if my English seems a bit stilted; I've been reading too many pre-20th century novels of late.

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