Saturday, June 18, 2011

Old people, family and a brick load of guilt?

 One thing i really love about Nepali* lifestyle is that it is so family orientated. 

I admit i was a little shocked when I learnt we would be expected to live with my mother in law and Mero Budda's grandmother. I was even more shocked when I found out we have to live with them FOREVER! But I have gotten used to the idea and the constant invasion of privacy and bath-time rituals (another complaint for another post). 

Once you get your head around the concept that nothing is yours, even your time or personal space, it is actually kind of sweet. I know I am making family life in Nepali sound like a cult. It is not my intention. I am very sincere. I will even go as far to say I enjoy the power out at night, sure when I wanted to work it was a pain in the arse but really it taught me once i leave the office it is time to be with my family, something a lot of people could benefit from. At night when the power is out everyone in our house sits and talks, sometimes we get a few drinks, play some cards. It is nice. 

I particularly like the way older generations are respected and included. In Australia we don't really live that way. It is really unusual for people to live with their parents (especially at my age), to live with your grandparents seems unthinkable. It isn't that we don't value the elderly, we just value them more from their own homes and on Christmas when they cook up a feast, give you a hideous card and $20. 

I've been thinking about it a lot because My Granddad burnt down his house last week. We didn't even know for three days. The hospital called us to say he was going to be released and didn't have any clothes or anywhere to go. 

It my family and even as I am reading i am thinking 'What kind of self-involved people don't even realise their granddad is in the hospital? Maybe if we had been more vigilant, more involved it could have been avoided. 

In our defense he does live five hours away and He said he heated up a brick and put it in his bed to keep it warm, and then left the house for a few hours, I don't know if anyone could have seen that coming. 

My family is scattered from one end of Australia to the other. One sister in Melbourne down south, and cousins up top in QLD, with everyone else in between. So now comes the inevitable discussion can he return to living alone? If not then who and where? He has lived in his village his whole live. His friends are there, even if none of his family are. We can't just force an old man to move to where we live, can we?

 I've got some time to waste, once his house is rebuilt i'd be happy to go look after him but i can only make plans one visa at a time. In a few weeks i could be on the other-side of the world? I can't offer any stability (If Mero Budda gets his visa then maybe we can). My family has longevity in there genes. Granddad is in his 70s and his mother lived well into her 90s. So this is not an issue likely to be quickly resolved (wow that was callous). I just don't know if i can commit to 20 years of living in a tiny town with no employment opportunities... i've just committed to living in Pokhara where there are no employment opportunities! 

In Nepal this wouldn't have even been an issue. My dad is the oldest son so we would have always lived with my granddad. Someone would have been home to turn the heater on, no hot bricks needed! 

I have kind of lost the point of this post in my ramble of shame and confession. Maybe it was that living with your grandparents is good, or maybe it is don't put hot bricks in your bed? Anyway that's all i've got for you today.

*Ahhh OK once and for all is it Nepali or Nepalese? I have had people correct me when I say both terms. 


  1. enjoyed reading it. Its Nepali in Nepali language and Nepalese in English so you can decide it by yourself and yes Nepalese is the official english version anyway.

  2. I like Nepali better. It somehow sounds more authentic to my ears.

  3. Thank you for the information. I think i like Nepali better too. It sounds better so i might stick with that even if i do speak English.

  4. ck lal has written a fantastic book on the debate (regarding the spelling of nepali/ese, not living with grand/parents)....unfortunately it's in nepali. or is it nepalese? ; )

  5. I think in the passports it says Nepalese. Surely it would be wrong in a government issued document? :)