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Culture Shock

NEPAL | Monday, 4 July 2016 | Views [317]

I was invited to a dinner with my in country manager at his home in the city of Kathmandu. I was welcomed with the warmest hug by his wife. The wife barely spoke any English but the two teenage boys knew it fluently. They told me everything about their lives about school, sport, celebrations etc. Students in Nepal have to attend school six times a week, and while they have universities a graduated professional will only receive around $200 a month (And here I was thinking we don't get paid enough). They also have a five day celebration called 'Tihar' which celebrates not only humans but also the the animals who maintain a relationship with humans such as the cows, dogs and crows. On the second of the celebration, which is celebrated for the dogs they offer dogs garlands (flowers), Tika and food. Why can't every country be like Nepal?

Before dinner the family told me stories about the earthquake. The father described how he was driving his motorbike when he suddenly fell off and the ground began to crack, the buildings were swaying and crashing in front of his eyes. Luckily the whole family and their house survived. After the earthquake the people were to scared to sleep in their houses and slept outside in makeshift tents. Seeing it on the news is one thing but hearing it personally from a family is another thing. I cannot even begin to imagine experience something like this.

Now to the culture shocks, most people would assume that when you eat dinner you use a knife and fork, in Nepal they use their hands. I probably should have researched the customs prior to coming because I was so confused when they started eating with their hands. I explained to them I had no idea this is what they did and they laughed and told me I could still use a knife and a fork. Not only this, but the food was so spicy. While they sat their indulging their food with their untouched glasses of water, I was sculling water like there was no tomorrow. They told that they only used four chillies in the dish- ONLY FOUR.

Arriving to the hotel and seeing that there was no toilet paper, I thought it might just have been a mistake. When I asked the man at reception for some toilet paper he looked at me like I was weird and handed me half a roll of toilet paper which would have to last me four days (lucky I filled my suitcase with tissues). After some research I discovered that Nepalese people don't actually use toilet paper and instead use a bucket of water and their hands (it's a no from me). Also they think westerners asking for toilet paper is just as weird as not using toilet paper. And so here I am struggling to conform to these customs and trying not to vomit at the thought of not using toilet paper. Lesson learnt here is to bring toilet paper wherever you go and maybe do a little research before hand. Everyone wish me luck for the rest of the month.



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