On being all new

I love traveling, but what I love even more is trying out living in a totally different setting from my normal life. Though it’s challenging, sometimes very challenging, and when you add fieldwork to it, well, it’s almost too much. There is a quote saying “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and I like that quote, it makes me feel a bit better out here, far from my comfort zone. More than once have I sat on a plane going somewhere new and asked myself “WHY do I do this to myself?” One month into fieldwork here in Nepal I believe I have asked myself this a hundred times. Though in between asking that, there are those awesome moments when I absolutely love it, like when I figure out how to do something, when people understand me, when I laugh with new friends, when I take the right bus or when the shopkeeper understands my brand new, broken and mispronounced Nepali language. Most of all I love it when I start to feel a bit at home and in place. On week six I ask the question of “why” less frequently.

I have now created new routines here in Kathmandu. I eat different foods, washing is different (whether it’s myself, laundry or dishes), power is out 7-8 hours a day, shopping is different and public transport is certainly different. Yet it all starts to feel familiar and function smoothly. This is my favorite feeling of short or long term living abroad, the feeling of having figured it out and doing just fine. Also, how nice it is with a bit of change!

Of course, falling asleep to the neighbors’ daily Bollywood movie took some getting used to. If you are not familiar with Bollywood movies I’ll give you a quick introduction. Though I have never actually SEEN one, I consider myself quite familiar with them. There is always shooting, though it sounds different from shooting in American movies, more like “puff puff”. Fist fighting is mandatory, as is women screaming at regular intervals, sometimes from distress and sometimes from jealousy. It’s topped off with Indian music and I picture beautiful women dancing and some romance to go with that. At first I did not find this soundtrack to be the least bit suitable as a lullaby, but when one evening after three weeks it was not on, I felt something was wrong and it was eerily quiet. I might have to bring a Bollywood soundtrack with me home to Norway!

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