Living in Nepal- my very deep thoughts

Lately I’ve really been thinking about whether or not I could live in Nepal.

Rabindra and I have discussed this recently and it’s something that scares me a fair bit. He has mentioned that we could move to Nepal if we got sick of life here or after our prime years of working, we could consider moving back to Nepal essentially to “retire”.

We have absolutely no plans to move there permanently but I can’t say that Rabindra will feel like this forever. There may be a time he longs for his homeland, the life he had as a child with his loving family, and we may have to make that decision. So…what would I do?

Life in Australia is all I’ve ever known. Whilst Australian culture cannot be as easily identified as Nepal with its strong traditions and culture, life in Australia is about comfort, freedom, family, fun and an easygoing lifestyle.

Before I visited Nepal I felt that no matter what I could live there. I think my love for Rabindra was so strong that it lulled me into thinking I could live in Nepal no matter the situation. Part of me thinks that’s because I was so desperate to fit into the culture that I would do anything to be accepted.

Since visiting Nepal, I have mixed feelings about whether or not I could live there, like permanently.

There were a number of challenges, firstly the physical conditions. It was freezing and I spent most of my time feeling cold. The lack of hot water (no hot water in his home at all). Bouts of electricity blackouts. Washing all clothes by hand. Cleaning dishes in the dark outside under freezing water. Having to go outside in the middle of the night to use the toilet. Not having a normal toilet and eating the same food of dhal bhaat everyday.

These are by no means criticisms of Rabindra’s family. This is real life in Nepal. And for many this is an absolute privileged life to have dhal bhat every day, to have running water, to have a toilet.

I do not want to complain about these conditions but I wanted to be honest and share my experiences. I cannot help that my Australian upbringing has given me these luxuries my whole life and I never questioned these privileges. It has certainly made me appreciate these little things since arriving back in Australia.

The biggest challenge of all was being unable to communicate with people. Some days I felt so lonely because I couldn’t understand a thing and I had nobody to talk to.

This triggered something in me. I realised that even if I had Rabindra in Nepal, I still needed people to talk to. People who could understand me. I wanted good friends or my family there.

And the other really big thing that scares me about moving to Nepal?

Well, it’s something I have not really shared with many people but it’s this. The expectation of women and their role in society.

Only some Nepali women have careers and when they get married and have children, they very much become housewives and are expected to give up work to be the housewife, live in the husband’s home with his parents and take care of their children.

The whole notion in Nepal of women moving to her husband’s house and leaving her parents after marriage is something I am not 100% comfortable with.

The other thing is I am really focused on my career at the moment and I have really strong ambitions for the future. I don’t think living in Nepal would develop this side of me. Then again, maybe it would.

People who know me know that I am very set on having a family and I adore babies. Motherhood is something I would not be complete without. I’m also very passionate about many things from human rights, to journalism, multiculturalism and education.

But I can’t imagine being just a mother a wife. This is so important to me but it’s not my everything. I need to be satisfied that I am doing even more with my life.

I also enjoy being young and feeling young. Having freedom, going out my friends and not worrying what people think of me. I am not being mean but in Nepal, it’s true that society doesn’t like women to be too independent. Married women have responsibilities to act a certain way. (In saying this I got this impression more from young Nepali women living in Australia than I did at Rabindra’s home).

So what scares me more than anything is being expected to give it all up to fit in like a true Nepali women (who are seriously amazing to do what they do) but it’s not for every woman.

Maybe I am over thinking things, maybe Rabindra’s family wouldn’t expect me to give it up and be that ‘Nepali woman’. Maybe they will understand. Maybe they won’t accept it. I don’t know.

I feel I am being selfish when I think of this situation but I wanted to be honest and say with certainty that the thought of moving to Nepal and living there scares me. Be honest, am I being unfair? Am I misrepresenting the expectations of women?

On the other hand, I had a very strong connection to Nepal when I visited there. I loved the place, it’s amazingly beautiful and the people were so lovely and friendly. When we have children I would love them to spend some of their upbringing in their father’s home country with his family.

So there it is. I have laid my feelings out bare for all to see. I hope i don’t cop too much criticism.

For the other goris out there- can you relate to me? What were your impressions of your husband’s home country and could you fit into society as a local ‘Nepali’ wife/mother and not just a visitor? What would you do if your partner/husband expected you to live in his country? Does it scare you like it scares me?

Please share your thoughts.

This entry was posted in Cross-cultural, Culture, Differences, Family, Intercultural, Intercultural Relationship, Journalism, Love, Nepal, Nepalese language, Women and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Living in Nepal- my very deep thoughts

  1. I think you have every right to other think such a dramatic change, even if you have all the modern western comforts, like I do in India, there is still the cultural difference especially when it comes to being female and the lack of easy communication often does make one feel isolated, even when everyone around you is being friendly & helpful, it’s still a totally different mindset than we are used to (and that isn’t meant to be a criticism, it’s just a factual statement). However, I haven’t visited Nepal so I can’t say how different it is to India, but I guess ultimately it will have to be a joint decision based on what’s best for you both…. Good Luck 🙂

  2. tashsn says:

    Wow these are the kind of things I never thought about myself partly because my boyfriend doesn’t want to live in India ( he’s Nepalese from Sikkim) but in the long run I dont know what would happen unless we move to America or Australia or somewhere we’d stay permanently and also partly the reason my folks are against our union. *sigh*

  3. If you ask me if it will be easy to live in Nepal after living so many years in Australia, my answer will be NO but I know I can still adjust with the situation. It won’t be easy but it is possible. I have a cousin who lived in US for 15 years but came back to Nepal. She came back with her husband and two kids. It was bit hard to adjust in the beginning but they are doing fine now.

    The situation you describe for woman is very old style of life in Nepal. My mum has always worked so has my aunties and my cousins even after they got married. So I am sure if woman choose to work and still bring up the family, there are no restriction.

    For you, I am sure these rules won’t apply at all as they will understand that you are from completely different background and culture. If it comes to that situation one day, just give it a go and see if you can adjust to Nepali life style. Also you may think about living in Kathmandu where you get most of the facilities like in Australia. About language, you will learn it for sure once you moved there.

    Good luck with your future!!!

  4. Claire says:

    Love both these new posts Case. I sit with trepidation reading through your first experiences with Rabs’ family, as if I am right there feeling what you felt – excellent writing.

    As for living in Nepal, I think you would be surprised at how much freedom you will be allowed as a Westerner so long as you do not disrespect Rabs’ family traditions in a public sense – I found that by living modestly, covering myself appropriately I was still able to retain independence without threatening the local way of life, but obviously this would probably be different if you decided to live in a small village and not Pokhara.

    As for working in Nepal, check out my friend’s charity that I worked for – you might like to work for her for a bit.

    xox Claire

  5. nepali jiwan says:

    You definitely expressed some of the concerns I’ve had about being in Nepal! In terms of the physical conditions, if you live in Kathmandu or Pokhara, you can get a washing machine and hot water and many other western comforts, although with electricity cuts, etc, they may not always be reliable. If you live in Rabindra’s village, though, like you said, life would be very different. As far as the daalbhat goes, you do get used to it, but that didn’t stop me from going to the grocery store to buy western-style food (cheese, chips, chocolate, etc) 🙂

    Like nepaliaustralian mentioned, life for women is very different than it used to be. Many of the women I know in Nepal work outside the home and many have had very successful careers. Except in very remote or rural areas, I haven’t heard of families not allowing their DIL’s to work. And a great thing about Nepal is that childcare is very affordable! So it can be easier for mothers and fathers to work outside the home. As far as opportunities go, Kathmandu has a lot going on, especially in journalism. I’ve met a couple of foreigners working at some of the major news papers there, and of course there are lots of opportunities in education if you’re interested in that 🙂

    I think you’re totally right when you say that married women are expected to act a certain way, but as foreigners, we are allowed a bit of leeway. Some of the expectations were common sense and easy to fulfill but other things were more difficult. For instance, I think people there might have liked it if I had learned to cook better, especially when it comes to Nepali food. But alas I am not a good cook! And when I tried to learn how to cook Nepali food, for the most part, I failed pretty miserably.

    I think the number one hardest thing about living in Nepal for me wasn’t culture-related but instead had to do with health. I found myself getting so sick there! Cold after cold, then stomach issues, and worst of all: bad asthma.

    The other hardest things about being there was feeling isolated. You touched on it too, “I realised that even if I had Rabindra in Nepal, I still needed people to talk to. People who could understand me. I wanted good friends or my family there.” Once I started working at the school I taught at, things got a lot better because I was able to connect with a lot of the other female teachers there. The school also had a real community feeling to it, and it felt good to be part of that. That potential for isolation might be a good reason to do something outside the home like work or volunteering. One of the things I wished I had more of while abroad was a great connection to other foreign women. I met a few through the school I worked at and through the NGO I worked at before that, but I never really had a chance to make strong connections with them. I think if I had, those feelings of isolation wouldn’t have been so strong.

    Despite the potential for challenge, I think moving to Nepal would be a wonderful thing to do! I’ve met a few foreign women married to Nepalis who have decided to make Nepal their home for the long run, and they’re very happy there, so it definitely can be done 🙂

  6. Where should I even start? I fear this may end up long winded but will try to make it succinct.
    As a woman that has just come back after attempting to settle in a joint family system in India all that I can say is that anything is possible, but you should always be prepared for what may come and aware of your situation.
    Different people in different areas and classes of India and I am assuming Nepal live vastly different lifestyles. The mentality is different, the level of formal and informal education is different and living standards are worlds apart. Whether you can access facilities all comes down to money in every country in the world. Yes some people live like kings in India and the same applies to Nepal but generally for people that migrate to other countries as Rabs did they come from a middle class family where those facilities are completely beyond them and a modern mentality in line with your thinking will be very difficult to find. Do you personally have job opportunities you could continue there, does Rabindra, would you have to live with his parents or be able to live somewhere more modern?
    Not only will you be frustrated with the amenities, the facilities, the differences, the cultural mindsets, the lack of potential friends or people to talk to and the need to speak in a language you are not familiar with you will also face restricted access to the things you love, the things that comfort and satisfy you.
    Being realistic is the best way and in honesty after Rabindra migrated to Australia and met you there I think it is very unlikely that he would want to make a permanent move there. After such a long time in Australia he will also be a very different person, not quite Australian, not quite Nepali but somewhere in the middle.
    If you want it bad enough and you are ready to make the sacrifices to make it work then it is completely achievable, but if it is not something that you yourself want then in many likelihoods the idea is a lost cause that would leave you miserable and in a regretful position.
    The biggest loss living within India for me was FREEDOM. Yes we come from an educated family, with a very decent amount of assets (even by Aussie middle class standards), yes they speak English and were accepting of me, yes we have hot water, high speed wifi, English channels but you know what is the hardest part about moving abroad – the things you don\’t know about and hence can\’t prepare for.
    Cultural differences are immense and in the Indian subcontintent the negative attitudes to women and girls are rife, the restrictions on them, the bad eyes, gossip, nastiness and everything we never had to endure abroad will be shoved in your face – all day, everyday.
    If you were going with a good job and earnings in hand and prepared to slog it out with the hassles of generators, water filters, water pumps and tanks, bandhs, civil unrest etc then I would be all for the experience but if you are thinking or expecting a middle class existence I would heed every warning that you get and make every consideration you can because in simple it will be hard.
    If you heart is not really with Nepal, then there is no point trying to settle there. Australia has its many faults but coming back from India it feels like paradise.
    The hardest things I experienced were backward mentalities and people who want to take away the freedom of others. The gossip, questioning, mistreatment of those seen as inferior, the nastiness, misery and constant interrogation that some people will happily impose on you is very hard to tolerate as well as the other changes.
    Don\’t ever expect any different or preferential treatment because you are foreign, you and I both know of a number of women who are treated with the same contempt, disrespect and foul behaviour that desi girls have endured even though they are foreign and even though these women made huge sacrifices more often than not for their husband.

    • Thanks for your comments. you put a lot into perspective 🙂

    • Prakriti says:

      The Gossip! That one I get… Its like these ladies are in Highschool! Okay We are not in Nepal. We live in married student housing. All of our neighbors are from India, Nepal, China, or Bangladesh. Try walking by. Open your door. Shut a car door. Every window curtian of every Indian/Nepali house with open slightly. I honeslty think those women have nothing better then spy and gossip. A great example. I went to the store one afternoon while my Husband was in class. (He by the way new I had planned to get some grocerys) He came home from class and asked where I had gone. ( teasing me) Here is what happened, no exageration. One of the wives peeked out her window and saw me leave. Called her friend, who mentioned to her husband that I leave the house a lot ( By the way I have two jobs and work 60 hours a week.. I am never home) Her husband then teased mine about how He can’t keep his wife at home where she belongs.

      • Prakriti says:

        If you think the news of me leaving the house at 1pm travled fast you should be around for something juicy… like the repair man coming by when my husband isn’t home..

  7. amy says:

    dear casey,i live in kuala lumpur and i have many nepali my workplace there are many nepali work as security guards ,guest service ambassador and recently there are 5 trainees work with me at the hotel reception.the nepali people is very2 nice,friendly and always respectful.when im around them im always feel so comfortable and it makes me feel like i really have to go visit nepal someday.i wish u good luck in your journey…..

  8. Kassie says:

    Hello white girl in a sari!
    My name is Kassie I am an American. I am married to a Nepali myself and I understand your position completely 100%! Me and my husband have discussed moving to Nepal permanently in a light manner. Nothing has been decided, simply ideas, thoughts, feelings, and desires tossed about. I thought too, that I could live in Nepal no matter what at first, but at this point in time after gathering information I feel that I am no longer certain that I could live there. I have never been to Nepal so I am waiting till I visit and see for myself. And I am sure it will take more than one visit.
    And about the women giving up everything, this is something I haven’t really experienced that much. My mother in law owns her own school in Nepal and most of the Nepalese girls I meet here in America are very career oriented. My friend in New York Sanju has started her own business! Sanju has a serious Nepali boyfriend the business is fully hers and another girls. So I was wondering what part of Nepal Rabindra is from?? Because in Nepal life varies depending on which area you live in.

  9. Sushmita says:

    Hi white girl in a saree
    I am a Nepali girl living in Sydney for the past 5 years. I live here with my boyfriend who is also a Nepali. Though living together before marriage is not acceptable in Nepal , both his and my parents have no problems with it now as the can understand that’s the most practical thing to do. My going to be in laws were here a year ago who lived with us and I felt absolutely no restrictions about what or what not to wear, speak or do. If I being a Nepali can skip that bit of culture which is just not practical , believe me u can too. Once love and warmth wins, everything else is negotiable in Nepalese culture. And for other matters for facilities and privileges, it can be arranged. Good luck with your decisions Bhauju.

  10. Prakriti says:

    I think I could fit in there for a while. I know I would be okay with being a housewife. But I would still like to go out sometimes and be free to do as I like when I had spare time. This is not a luxury all Nepali women have. I also would want some luxuries like indoor plumbing and a generator. My husband however does not want to move back there. I thought it might be nice to spend a year there. And although he said he would think about it, I think he made up his mind and we wont be moving there any time soon, if ever. All of the Nepelese women I know are in college for Masters or PHD excpet one so from my very small world all I know is Nepelese Women who are independant, but still serve there husbands like they are expected to. I also have not been to Nepal yet but hope to go soon and talk to mero Bhai every day. And my husbands cousin. (Who he also calls Bhai) weekly. I actually hope to be fluent in Nepali by the time we visit but so far I’m behind. I was really suprised to learn Kaushal did not want to move back to Nepal, but I’m okay with it if he is. I do feel like I’m missing out on something but maybe with frequent visits ( I hope to go every year) that feeling will subside.

  11. Aliza rokaya says:

    hey cassie i ve been following your blog since few months already i love how you write. As i m a Nepali living in australia and its almost 7 yrs i m away from home i was 3 years in singapore before i came australia i love this country like anything not just because its more developed than nepal but everything about here makes me feel this is my second home .Regarding your moving to nepal yes whatever criticism you have mentioned are all very true and i can agree with you more than anybody else as i was born n raised there . I am from kathmandu my family background are quiet free and revolutionary as my mom works independently so as my dad all my relatives are free thinker in terms of gender balance so it totally depends on what you and your partner decide .You can never make the nepalese society happy with whatever you do even as a nepalese there is a root of conservative thinking among people but there are also modern people like my family and new generation who thinks like me ,i m independent since yrs now and i m free to do whatever i want to do ( i m in a relation with an european guy since 3 yrs this october ) .Economically i don’t think its good idea for you to set up a career the country itself is in such a crisis , you are very kind in putting up the uncomfortable situations in nepal that you have faced .i don’t know what you will decide but if i were you i would constantly visit the place and stay close with family as family means so much in nepali culture i m sure you know it from vinaju (rabindra)and at the end it all matters is happiness and satisfaction in whichever situation you are .You are blessed with this love between two of you don’t think too much about settling down in nepal but stay positive .thanks aliza

  12. Leilani says:

    Hello, I just want to convey to you that I appreciate your blogs. I am in a relationship with a Nepali man and navigating the cultural differences has been both interesting and staking at the same time. His family knows about me(very little), but I have not met any of them yet. After nearly two years of being in a relationship we are considering going to Nepal to marry and spend time with his family.

  13. Diana says:

    This blog gets more interesting with every post I read! 🙂 I appreciate your openness. Your doubts are 100% justified. It might work, but it would be hard work for both of you.
    I noticed that I missed the small things most while living in Kathmandu, like greenery and parks, or concerts, going out late at night, riding a bicycle without the constant fear of being run over. Being invisible, being the majority, and not some construct of white foreigner = loose morals = big money blaaaaaaa… But it all depends. If you have the chance to find work and build a social network there, it might be the most enriching experience! It all depends on the people you have around you.
    Especially once you have kids, they will be grateful if you give them a chance to get to know their origins a little deeper than just on a summer holiday. I say this coming from a multicultural, multilingual family myself. It feels sooo weird and sad not to be fluent in the language of my mom’s home country.

  14. Jb says:

    Very nice writings! All of them. The picture you have transcribed here about living a life in Nepal couldn’t have been said more perfectly. I might add to your points- Nepal has been without stable government in the last dozen years. Historically any kind of Nepali government is very corrupt. This dysfunctional state makes you to believe anyone on the governing seat is above the law. It does not matter what law you pass it will not be enforced the same across the board. You mentioned bringing up your offspring in Nepal- I hope you reconsider it. The sanitation, the health services and the school system all are underdeveloped. Your kids get sick when they are young because they haven’t had a chance to develop their immune system yet. Speaking of your husband wanting to retire in Nepal- he may change once he becomes fully comfortable and has a stable career in the beautiful country, the Australia. I hear, she is a beautiful country! The more I learn about the USA, specially it’s stable government the faster I was no longer nostalgic about Nepal. It took me until I graduated and found a job here. Until then I frequently thought about returning to Nepal someday. Now I think, I would not be able to drive as fast as in the US. I would miss hot shower- now I take at least once a day, in Nepal once a week. Because, didn’t want a cold shower. Just to mention a few! your husband might mean you are sweaty, when he calls you sweaty-if you choose not to take a shower for week. I have a Nepali wife (a yahoo date only then went to marry her), she is ambivalent at this point whether to live in the US or Nepal. My job is (from my experience) to empower her to be an independent. She too would be just happy to be mom and wife. We have distrust over this. I hope she will understand me some day.

    • You are defintely right. The lack of stable government means the people call the shots and unlike other western countries where people protest when they are against something, In Nepal, some minor poltical party can make a small threat to government and then shut down the city for the day, or days, by calling a bandh. it’s terribly disruptive to society.

      Thanks for sharing your views. so you’re nepali born but living in US? what do u mean you have distrust over her being happy to be mom and wife? coz she is not interested in career independence etc? hope to hear more from you

      • Jb says:

        She has a trust issue over my gentle push for her career!. I want her to enjoy the fruit of her own creativity and hard workings. There’s so much opportunity in the western countries, like the Assie and the US. I feel like she is limiting herself from intertaining her sharp minds. She agrees with a plan that we come up from our discussions. But, would not follow through it unless some other people also tells her the same thing. I feel less than good for her. I lived thru, and feel like I am capable of guiding her too. I don’t and am not claiming that I know all the system here. I often praise her and thank her for teaching me new ideas that she picks up from the college….. I am trying just one way street, I feel like. When i try to motivate her and compare Nepali woman’s life to hers and how better it would be for her, she calls out on me… “You’re dishonning your motherland”.which I am not and argument accelerates. I lived inside the American society and distanced myself from the Nepali community. It is possible I left my roots.

      • Jb says:

        … Yes living in the US. Moved to the US after high school.

  15. Robyn Shrestha says:

    I couldn’t do it. Live in Nepal I mean. I’m Australian – married to a Nepali – and I love Nepal – but I couldn’t live there. Met my husband in Nepal 20+ years ago – he came out to Australia with me for 6 months before we got married so we could work out which country we were going to live in. We had this rather romantic notion of living 6 months of the year in each country with a business and a house in each. Building our own house in Nepal overcame a lot of the cultural and family difficulties that you’ve mentioned. It was a grand plan until our baby daughter nearly died from a simple infection during a trip back to Nepal. I very quickly lost my rose-coloured glasses during the longest night of my life spent in a Nepali hospital with my sick baby. Luckily she got admitted and treated as a ‘tourist baby’ and we had the money to pay for her treatment. 12 Nepali babies died in that hospital that night. The medical facilities are woefully inadequate and one of my biggest regrets is that I couldn’t do anything to help save any of those other babies. But that isn’t the only reason I decided I couldn’t live in Nepal – there are many many more which would take me far to long to list here.

    • Oh wow. I’m so glad you found my blog. It’s nice to see someone married to Nepali for 20 years and living ehre in Australia. would love to know more about your experience including what else makes you not want to live in nepal.

      Your story about your baby really touched me. I honestly think about access to good medical care a lot. If we were to live in Nepal, we would need to know we had good private hospitals nearby. can’t believe those other children died. it’s awful to things your baby was ok and theirs wasn’t, simply because of money

      • Robyn Shrestha says:

        Hey, white girl in a sari – by the way that’s something else I can’t do – wear a sari I mean – well I can but I look absolutely ridiculous – I just don’t have the natural grace that Nepali and Indian women have – my beautiful Australian/Nepali daughter does though. I remember one time in Nepal when my Nepali sisters-in-law ( I have five of them) thought it would be great fun to dress me in a sari for a family photo. They made so much fun of me ( I don’t think they realise that I understand a whole lot more Nepali that I speak ) that I ended up refusing to wear one at all but thats another story.
        Anyway I’m glad I stumbled across your blog as well. Haven’t read all your posts yet but I did read the one about gender inequality and thats one of the big reasons I decided I couldn’t live in Nepal – not in regards to myself – but for my children’s sake. We have two, a daughter now aged eighteen and a son, aged fifteen and they enjoy all the benefits of growing up in Australia. Not just access to a good education and good healthcare but the freedom to grow into independent, self-sufficient citizens of the world, free to make their own choices and follow their own dreams. A constant struggle for their father to accept I know but I didn’t want my daughter growing up in a country where position in not just the family but the community and society would be lower than that of her brother because she is female nor did I want her brother growing up with an attitude of male superiority. I’ll add more when I have time. Namaste.

    • It pains me to hear about you not wanting to live in Nepal due to gender inequality. I pretend it’s not so bad but it is, and often i found it’s women who reinforce it. When I was in Nepal I noticed that Rabindra’s mum would not eat until after we had all eaten i.e. after we had second or third rounds. At first, I didn’t notice it and wasn’t paying much attention. Rabindra’s mum is always happy though and I don’t think this bothers her, but i was really uncomfortable and by the end of the trip. I would tell her to eat more. That’s another thing I noticed, nepalese men usually eat and socialise without women, and women sit seperately to the men. I hope rabindra’s parents see a different side of that whilst in australia. i am going to make sure we all eat together when she is over here 🙂

      • Robyn says:

        Gender inequality – just one of the reasons, albeit one of the bigger reasons. Here’s a smaller reason – I’m left-handed. So are both our children. It’s a cultural no no to be left- handed in Nepal. I remember once when we were in Nepal and all the female members of my extended Nepali family were in the kitchen preparing food for a festival. They were horrified when I started to help them. I pretended not to notice that all the food I prepared or touched was put to one side , deemed not fit to serve, particularly to the menfolk. It was on the same trip that I decided to check out some of the schools with the idea that it would be good for our two children to go to school there for 6 to 12 months as a way for them to become more familiar with their Nepali heritage. I decided against it.
        Your soon to be husband, Rabindra and my Nepali husband are of different generations as are you and I , after all we’ve been married 20 years and you are only just about to get married. Segregation of the sexes at social gatherings are quite common in a lot of cultures, not just in Nepal. Have you been to any good old Aussie backyard bbqs lately and mothers the world over will feed their husbands and children before themselves.
        Be gentle with Rabindra’s parents when they come out to visit. Do make sure his mother eats at the same time as everyone else, as she will be your guest but be careful not to make her feel uncomfortable. I often think going back to Nepal from Australia is like going back 500 years in a time machine and comming to Australia from Nepal is like going forwards in that same time machine. Not sure which way is easier to adjust to.

      • Thanks for your wise words. I feel it’s easy to say “i am going to make sure we all eat together” but you are right I need to make sure she is comfortable with that too. I didn’t know much about the left-handed thing. I will have to speak to rabindra about it. I noticed lower-caste visitors who visited our house had to eat seperately and wash their own plates. I have never seen discrimination like this in Australia. it was terrible.

    • Eleanor says:

      Hi Robyn. I met my fiancee in Nepal for the first time 3 years ago. I moved back to Nepal a year later. Had no idea we’d become romantically involved at the time and had moved back for different reasons and hadn’t been in touch with him in between. Met him again by chance and formed a close friendship which turned into a relationship. I stayed with him for a year in Nepal and then moved back to New Zealand. Our plan was for him to come out to New Zealand next. But it’s been over 12 months, and I’m in the middle of studying for my masters, and looks like with the tightening of immigration laws over the last few decades that he wont be getting a visa to come over anytime soon! Basically because immigration know we’re in a relationship… he’s been classified as a high risk over stayer (well ofcourse he is… because we want to get married!). It’s been very upsetting. So I’m moving back to Nepal when I finish my masters (or possibly looking at another country like Thailand). Going back to Nepal isn’t our first choice, but thanks to modern governments it’s our only choice.

  16. john says:

    oh so sweet of you. its interesting & affecting)

  17. furaja says:

    hi, this blog is really informative. .
    I have a Nepali boyfriend, and we met in a hospital since im a nurse. He’s having a residency here in the Philippines by the way. I love his attitude and way of things. We always talk about the future, our soon to be family. He actually asked me to moved in with him but i said no. And he will plan to marry me after his talk to his parents- that he is marrying a filipina.
    However, in all of him that i love i think the culture is what i fear most. Im an independent woman and will start my career soon in Canada. I asked him if maybe he could come with me, you know to live there with me and maybe start a family, but he refused because he said he love his parents and he cant leave them. I am somewhat annoyed since he’s a guy, and from what i knew growing up, children need to be separated to their family after they get married and start a new. You can visit the in-laws once a week; Its not like I’m tearing him from his family. I told him once that I’m really scared, because maybe i cant carry all the culture baggage that will be thrown on me. Their culture is really different. I feared that maybe if by example Im in Nepal and we’re already married, we will always have a fight over this matter because i’m just persuaded, our lives will be miserable in the long run. Moreover, i feared that I’ll miss everyone in my life before, especially my freedom. He sometimes tell me about the recent government, the way of living in Nepal. I dunno if i can bear it.
    Anyway, the thing is, he haven’t asked his parents if he can marry a filipina outside of their tribe and culture. I told him before that if ever his parents is against it, I wont marry him although I love him. I don’t wanna live in with him because it’ll be a shame to my parents and his parents as well, and i want to be married before sharing a roof with a guy,

    I’m really sad right now because I’m having a cold feet about our relationship. I actually asked him if we can cool off, for me to think this through…

    • slyvie says:

      hi how is ur relationship going with the nepali guy?..if you would allow me to give you advice…your cold feet might be telling something….continue with ur plans for canada…nepali men are good as long as they are in your country but when they go back to where they belong it would be a different story….they will always choose their families…because that is what matters to them..not love nor romance….

      • angela says:

        your right slyvie…i have a friend who had a relationship with a filipina for 3 years…she was an accomplished woman. a doctor doing her residency training with the nepali that she was with. from my point of view they had a wonderful partnership until the day the nepali had to go home after his residency. things changed..communication became difficult.and one day my friend learned as she was able to open the nepali skype account that he was already trying to pursue a nepali woman a doctor same as she was.the same months the nepali still told my friend that he love her was the same months sweet words were exchanged with the nepali woman. it was pure betrayal. from an educated person it was not expected. so furaja pursue your canadian dream. because nepali men have the softest backbone there is. a patriachal society with men who cant keep a promise and cant even tell the truth…

    • Hi Furaja I hope you have found a way to deal with all the cultural aspects. I sympathise with you as we face many similar challenges

    • Michele says:

      Hello there.. Also read about your comments.. I wanna hear more from you regarding your story…

  18. Sanyas says:

    I was searching for Nepalis’ experiences on returning to Nepal from Australia and came across your blog. We currently live in Australia with two kids but me and my wife were born and bred and completed our undergraduate degrees in Nepal. We have been looking into returning to Nepal in the next few years and there seem to be so many roadblocks. I am highly impressed that you are even considering moving to Nepal as an option!
    For us, me and my wife would be able to adjust in Nepal although it will take a bit of time readjusting to power cuts etc. We could rent out our house here in Australia which would give us a healthy income on top of whatever we earn there because we will have more or less paid off our mortgage.
    One of the main issues for us (probably not so much for you) is our citizenship status. Because we have taken up Australian citizenship, we’ve in effect lost our Nepali citizenship. We can get long term visas to live there but this would make things a bit more difficult for us in Nepal in the context of buying property or jobs except teaching.
    Another concern is health services. There are some hospitals that provide services at Australian standards but they come at a high premium. Add to this that there is no health insurance system. Having had access to Medicare and health insurance in Australia, it feels a bit scary to not have any health insurance. If we hadn’t experienced the Australian system this wouldn’t have been an issue and we would have tagged along with the millions living in Nepal. However, because we have a choice, we always compare to amenities available in Australia. We have come to the conclusion that we will require to put aside funds for potential medical needs if we go to Nepal.
    It will be a problem for the kids as well. They say they love visiting but don’t think they will be able to adjust to life there in the long term. As others have commented here, the basic commodities in Australia become expensive luxuries in Nepal… The kids speak good Nepali but can’t read/write which would also be an issue in terms of schooling there unless they go to international schools.

  19. she says:

    I’m a new reader of your blog and I’m loving it. I’m reading your posts one after another and giggling. I’m a nepali girl, with a nepali husband, and both of us arrived to New Zealand few months back. I felt curious what other people feel about nepal and nepalese, and then I found your super-interesting blog! 🙂

    I can’t answer inter-cultural aspects (sigh, even we face inter-cultural confusions within same ethnicity), but I think I can add something about the freedom to work. Well, have no doubts about being allowed to go to work. Nepali families will always encourage their daughters and buhari’s to work. Yes you do see lots of housewives. But it’s mainly about the lack of opportunities. I was born near Pokhara and brought up in Kathmandu. Before marriage, I always wanted to live in Pokhara or nearby in my village with my grandparents, but the fear of not getting a good job there forced me to stay in Kathmandu. (I’m not saying there are no jobs in Pokhara, I just didn’t find the one I was skilled at, or maybe didn’t research much). Even me, being a Nepali in Nepal, felt worried if I’d have to go to my in-laws’ place, give up my job, take care of all household and agriculture and buffaloes … but that didn’t happen. In fact I didn’t even live with my husband few months after marriage, because he worked at a neighboring district of Kathmandu and came to have date nights with me at weekends! (Not that I liked it. Ours was a love marriage and I missed him!). I ended up staying with my own family before I came here. Well, that is rare, and I would have found a way to live with him, maybe by feeling less greedy about the salary I’d get (my parents were slightly struggling with finances, that was the main reason I didn’t move in with him immediately). Some of us would stop working for a short while when we’re just married, I thought about it too. But I don’t think you or anyone would be forced not to work at all. You see everyone was supportive of me having a job.

    Is Rabindra from a village/city near Pokhara? Where exactly? I love villages around there. Your blog is very cool and so are the comments.

    • I am sorry for the very late reply. This comment must have slipped through the cracks. Yeh rabindra is from a very small village outside of POkhara. It sounds like you have very supportive family and in-laws. My in-laws also support me to work here in Australia but i don’t know what would be the case if we lived in Nepal because no women in his village work, they all stay at home raising babies.

      • she says:

        Hey thanks.
        My village is a small one outside pokhara too. If you remember to ask Rabindra about the village’s name, and feel like writing it down, I’d be happy. But it’s not very important. I just hope you felt happy there, I really do when I visit.

  20. Ajita says:

    Hello White girl in Sari. I just want to say one thing to you that you don’t have to try and change yourself so much to fit into Nepalese society. Your husband’s family will understand that you have been raised in a different society. So your partners family will accept you for what you are. I was born in nepal and I have Nepali husband, both living in australia as citizens. When i visit Nepal my parents in laws don’t expect too much from me. I have got a little baby girl and she is allowed to have Dummy, was allowed to sleep in a cot in our room and she is bottle fed because i go to work. I was given all the freedom I wanted with lots of love and support. So I don’t think you need to have lots of doubts about what Rabindra’s family may think if you don’t act the certain way.

    • I think in an ideal world you are right that they have to accept me for what I am. You must have very modern parents or in-laws, lucky you :). The reality is they are from a conservative village in Nepal and never seen other cultures. They try to make me more Nepali but I am not. Such is life

  21. Sarah says:

    Hi there, I thought your write up on Nepal was brilliant and I’m so interested to know if you have moved there to live? I’m considering … And would be so keen to communicate with you some thoughts! Hope to hear from you.

  22. Isabella says:

    I am an Australia girl, I have read your post and have seen many similarities to my life at the moment. My partner prem
    is nepali (trekker) we are not yet married but he has asked me to marry him, I am coming back to Nepal later this year, our relationship together has faced many hurdles as my family have not given me their blessing to be with prem and they have given me an automatim of either my family or prem. I feel pretty awful at the moment as I couldn’t let prem go and I have chosen to be with him now after a long time of deciding and therefore my family has cut me out I am now not welcome in my family and they won’t have anything todo with prem, I had told them he is the love of my life but they don’t want to know.
    I am now moving to nepal for 5 months and will be getting married in this time, the fortunate part of this situation is that his family have been very welcoming and are happy to make me part of their family. I have similar anxieties like you in the fact I will have no one other than prem in nepal I have a few napli friends already but I have no other support other than prem and I think this is a lot of pressure on him and I don’t want him to feel I am burdening him with all my worries, also I don’t speak nepali very well I’m only a begginer in the nepali language and I worrie about making a good impression with his family and friends, I also don’t know what to do about a career as I am planning to move to nepal permantly and understand that prem makes less than USD 80 a month and I want to help support our family aswell and do not want to depend on prem financially, he is a very modern nepali man and has no problem with me being independent and career focused in fact he has supported me with all my career decisions but I have no idea what I can do in nepal there are not many job opportunities for a a western non nepali speaking woman, I would be thankful for any thoughts that someone could give me.

  23. Karin (wi says:

    If we also end up ” retired” in Nepal ill be happy to talk to you. I think I will face many of the same challnges. My husband has been talking about moving us all to Nepal one day. He will say if we save now, we can spend much less then we do now but live very well. Im hoping this means indoor plumbing and a generator for 24/7 electricity. 🙂

  24. imaginativecoconut says:

    i know the post is 4 years ago but i just wanted to share you my thoughts. I’ve been in a relationship with a nepali guy for 6 years now and have a child. We are planning to get married next year. I visited the place twice already and i loved it. I don’t know if I can stay there for too long. The language the culture and you’re right, you will feel alone and without having the chance to speak to comfortably. Now I am hesistating if i will still continue this marriage as i dont want to end up being unhappy and hurting him. I love him very much but i think i have to consider all the differences first. My child never been to Nepal and I’m sure it will be very hard for him to adjust. Open to all advicees. Thank you all.

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