Monday, January 4, 2016

Life in a Foreign Context

It has been a gift to spend a week with my cousin and her family in Kathmandu. We have explored all the tourist attractions as well as strolling around back alleys that open to beautiful views of open valleys and towering mountain tops. (Sadly it was too cloudy to see the Himalayas.) They new all the hole in the wall places that were safe to eat as well as the western style restaurants that rivaled Chipotle. I was able to meet some of the expat community and hear the wide variety of things they are involved in throughout the country. I found it interesting that at some point during conversations someone would bring up the gas shortage. The would ask how many tanks of cooking gas we had or what the going black market price was for taxis or where they were getting black market gasoline. I realized this part of the world creates extreme hoarders out of even the most normal people. (I learned to hoard small bills in India.) I realized a good school is important for every family living abroad and kids are kids no matter where they live. People who call a foreign city home learn to negotiate everything and will walk away if they can not get a local price for something. Americans abroad wrestle with the reality of having the means to pay for things that make life sustainable while still wanting to engage local culture and community. (I have argued to the death over 10 rupees which is $0.15.) All expats are always looking for a good deal on flights to their home country and usually know the best routes and have flown enough airlines to know which ones to never fly no matter how cheap it is. (I will never, ever fly Biman Bangladesh again.)

I am forever grateful for each and every expat who has welcomed me into their homes and community. I have learned invaluable lessons on what is truly important when living abroad and how the little things become precious gifts throughout a hard day, week, month, year. I am blown away by the amazingly strong men and women doing life outside their home country/culture. They are a beautiful community that has learned to welcome people well and say hard goodbyes. I cherish the opportunity to meet so many expats around the world and am so incredibly thankful for their hospitality and generosity extended to me. 

1 comment:

  1. Praying for your current adventure Natalie!!! Blessings!!!