It all began as any other long travel does, a bag full of stuff, and a few hard goodbyes. From airport to airport I flew and waited to finally reach my first destination in Nepal. It was here I sought the wisdom of monks and solitude for myself so that I may somehow, reconnect or deepen my understanding of the world and myself.
Upon my arrival in Kathmandu I was taken to a hotel in a car that seemed unfit to drive with two Nepalese people down dark side roads that didn’t seem to have any logic or order. After a long nights sleep my adventure began.
For the last few weeks I’ve been toured around from site to site and have been privileged to learn about the Nepali culture. Visiting Tapan, Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, and other temples. Old religious values are as apparent as the poverty. Although they have electricity for only certain hours of the day, the streets are filled with trash, most don’t have a flushing toiled and the rivers are polluted the people seem to be generally happy. The most important cultural difference I have noticed that I noticed that aids in their positive attitudes is the importance and love of family. It is so important to have a strong family base, which then results to community base and a happier culture, which is ever diminishing in westernized countries. The Nepali people live a more relaxed lifestyle and many wish they were in America living the dream of flying around in jets and living a lavish life, little do they know it’s just an illusion.
There are all walks of life and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people and even got invited to a wedding reception. I was hesitant to go, as I knew I was going to stick out like a sore thumb but the comfort of my house family and a few other volunteers made the mission less daunting. Upon arrival to the hall as always the Nepali people treated me with respect and hospitality, the reception featured appetizers including waiters that not only served the food but beer, whisky and wine so I didn’t even have to get my lazy ass up to go to the bar. It was shortly after the dancing began and continued for several hours, I dug in as I always do and enjoyed the festivities. The evening ended with a buffet (I didn’t see coming) before we took a taxi home for twenty minutes that cost the equivalent of three Canadian dollars.
I spent a night around a fire as many people do in Nepal burning mostly garbage; I conversed with locals who’s English ranged from good to non-existent about life and the differences between our worlds. I sat and watched as they sang songs and conversed for several hours relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. My opinions of my homeland are always high and I appreciate every day for where I was born and the luxuries I have been awarded, I explained to them however many in our country don’t realize how good we have it and lack the appreciation of living in a free and flourishing country. I continued however to say for the most part I have noticed the Nepali people are generally more cheerful, more smiles, less stress, and they are not running like chickens with their heads cut off to go to work and get more money. This country could certainly use some more economic opportunity as could ours for that matter but the lifestyle they maintain of spending time with friends, family, and the ability to live a life with less stress is something to be admired, especially since by our comparison they have so little.