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 Moving back to Nepal is a hard choice, and a very personal one

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Posted on 02-09-19 1:29 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Feb 8, 2019-

My eight-year-old son often asks me, “Mom why do all our relatives live in Nepal while we are the only ones living here in America?” I try to console him with the narrative many migrant families relay to their children: We moved here from Nepal when he was a toddler ‘in search of new opportunities’.

During his ‘Curious George’ phase, he would ask multiple questions about family—and, in the process, would get jumbled up in details about his maternal and paternal sides. I had drawn up a large family tree and tangibly shown him our large family, one by one. When we grew up in Nepal, we never had to ask our parents these questions because we automatically knew who constituted family. As many of us know and have experienced, living in another country permanently alters you. You will never be the same and will never see things the same way again.

I have read many articles on going back to the home country after living many years abroad and my story is nothing different, but just one more point of view. Recently, an article by Rabindra Mishra of the Bibeksheel Sajha Party and his home coming story moved me. It made me ponder: what is the purpose of living here, struggling each day, when back home our family is missing us each day? We are missing out all the seemingly minute things we can do in our own country—where our slightest contributions can have gigantic impacts. As I’ve delved in conversation on this issue with many people, I’ve realised that I’m not alone.

“Eventually, it is really something only you can decide,” someone recently told me. Half a decade has passed in the blink of an eye and my husband and I often debate going back. As the only son in the family, I’ve sensed that he always wanted to return to ensure that his parents were taken care of. But to lay my truths bare, I wasn’t certain of returning, because the pressures of being a typical daughter-in-law in a joint family were taking a toll on me. But at the same time, I always felt that it was possible to extend support to our family from the outside.

When I moved here, I had it relatively easier than most, as my sister had also moved with me. In the beginning, it felt as simple as moving from one house to the other. The real struggle emerged when we had to survive on our own. Starting over from ground zero is not easy. Cutting a long story short: we managed, we survived, and we moved on. No matter what, we never lost connection with our families and friends back in Nepal and I have sought to ensure that my kids knew where our roots are and where we come from. Some of my good friends often ask me to come back. They point to my newly-gained skills and often tell me that they may be more valuable in Nepal.

When my mother lived with us here in America, she felt sorry for my husband who worked almost 18 hours a day at one time. Seeing us brave severely cold weather to scrape layers of snow from our cars and driving to work on slippery roads almost made her cry. She firmly requested us to move back. She’d often tell me, “You might be happier living a more humble life in your home country instead of a luxurious life in a strange land with different culture, different people and that lingering feeling of being an outsider,” she said.

Obviously, we can't demand or expect from Nepal the kind of infrastructure and facilities we have access to here in America. But Nepal is still the place we were born and raised. I have always wanted to go back--be it for my parents, who are all by themselves, for my kids, who won't even know our own family members if they stay here, and for our society, which needs people who can voice change.

So, in a nutshell: I am mentally preparing myself and my kids for what life in Nepal can be like. Rather than proscribing to the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ narrative, I always like to think that the ‘grass is greener where you water it’. I hear so many friends trying to muddle through the mess of deciding whether to go back or not. If they're going to have to take their watering can with them wherever they go, then why not take it to your own country?

This isn’t to say that you should stay where you are if you’re feeling unsatisfied with your work or realise that you want to have face-to-face interactions with your family on a more frequent basis, but it’s a healthy way to reframe the decision. So, gathering up all these clues, I have decided to move back to my own country where I belong and where (I hope I will) find my true calling. All these decisions should, in my opinion, be based on a number of aspects, including how easily you can make a living, how clearly you know the present realities of Nepal, how risk-averse or risk-taking you are and whether you have dependents or not. At the end of the day, only you can do a balance sheet of your life. Ultimately, the decision is only yours.

Published: 09-02-2019 07:00


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Posted on 02-10-19 10:37 AM     [Snapshot: 762]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Also, something to note here - whoever 'returns' to Nepal, they don't actually fully return. They still retain their citizenship, green card or at least leave some family members back here (as a backup and the sponsor for potential future immigration) . They know very well this country offers them better medical care, better education and 'stronger' passport and they are in complete love with all these amenities wholeheartedly. They are just confused on what really is more important to them - family, culture, festivals or better opportunities (this can be argued) for their kids. Like she said, it is case by case scenario, some have solid foundation back home, some don't, some have good 'connections' back home, some don't, some will live more comfortable life back home, some won't.

My point is if you did make up your mind to go back, that is not an unselfish decision either. If you are going back it is because you couldn't cope with the fast lifestyle and high work ethics of United States. So, no need to portray yourselves as patriotic selfless Nepali just because you 'returned' back to your country.

Posted on 02-10-19 2:02 PM     [Snapshot: 950]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Hard choice yet the best choice you will ever make in your life! No regrets always happiness till you die. Make the right choice.
Posted on 02-10-19 6:18 PM     [Snapshot: 1016]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I went back after 10 years with my 2 an half year old. In my honest opinion, things were not the same as they used to be. Well, it wasn't at least for me. We had our wedding here, so it was the first time that I was living with my in-laws in their house. My in-laws didn't like the idea of me wanting to live with my parents for few days which was totally not fair as I had gone for my brother's wedding and wanted to help my mother with wedding preparations.
Speaking about social life, people are more isolated and I could not find the kind of intimacy and bonding between the families/relatives as it used to be before. You will never hear praises for the good things you have done in your life, (may be a few will let you know), rather you will be criticized a lot for leaving your country and parents. I was even asked by one of them why my daughter is dark skinned inspite of living in America (seriously?!). They were very judgemental and would not leave any chance to point something wrong. People are more into show offs. At my brother's wedding, I was highly criticized by my own family members for not wearing enough gold and was questioned if I and my husband weren't doing too well in the states. Nobody would believe me that I had one of the highest paying jobs in US just because I didn't have enough gold or diamonds.
Apart from that, everything is so expensive. People who have money spend it like anything; birthday parties in expensive hotels and what not...there is competition for who spends how much on weddings and bratabandhas. And good schools in Nepal are too expensive. My friend who sends his son to one of the top schools in Kathmandu told me that he spends about Rs. 60000 on his tuition and books.
I do miss my country and my parents a lot but three months of time was enough for me to decide where I would like to spend my life. Everyone's situation is different but I didn't feel nice living in an environment with so much social pressure and constraints. Being judged for your every actions and choices is not what I would want to deal with when there are so many things to focus on in life.
Posted on 02-10-19 6:39 PM     [Snapshot: 1062]     Reply [Subscribe]
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This is what happens after staying in Amrika for 10 , 15 and 20 years- you lose your mind and become a Pakhe.

Actually the ones in Nepal aren’t pakhe anymore, the new Nepali generation are way too westernized- cloth wise, gadget wise, *showing off wise, mentally wise, english speaking wise or anything else wise more than the Nepalese living in a western country or westerners themselves. ( *Showing off- isn’t that what westerners teach? ). 
The pakhes are the ones who stayed in a foreign land for 10, 20 years and never saw or realized what actually is happening back in their country where they were born, where they grew up, did their schooling and came to US after +2 or when they were a kid or were born in a foreign land. And after a decade with a half cracked brain when the pakhes return to their home country, they are amazed at how things have changed and how expensive things have got because they are just some pakhes who just landed in Nepal’s Kathmandu shahar from a foreign country gaaun after spending a decade or more in their gaaun unknown about the rest of the world.
Last edited: 11-Feb-19 02:39 AM

Posted on 02-10-19 6:50 PM     [Snapshot: 1068]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I am just stating my views. I am sure some will relate and some will not. Totally depends on what you want in your life and your status here. And I haven't lost (loose?) my mind. In fact, I have become more sensible, reasonable, and independent person due to my education and experience in AMRIKA.
Last edited: 10-Feb-19 06:53 PM
Last edited: 10-Feb-19 06:55 PM

Posted on 02-10-19 6:57 PM     [Snapshot: 1095]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Posted on 02-10-19 6:57 PM     [Snapshot: 1099]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Posted on 02-10-19 7:25 PM     [Snapshot: 1128]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@ Abhilasha_pokhara, totally relate to your experience and thanks for sharing that.

Not saying Nepal was better before. It is arguably better off now politically and economically - still booming real estate, more roads and bridges, more global franchises, new businesses, better buildings etc. The problem, however, is with the ever widening wealth inequality. A few have grown insanely rich and poor are living unimaginable lives. This gap have brought new sets of problems - growing distance between neighbors, families and villagers as everyone is running after money. It is basically a show off versus bitterness or jealousy culture now. This is bound to happen in any capitalistic society though. Nepal is going through that phase and heading towards the individualism of the rich countries. It is not fair, I guess, to expect Nepal and Nepalis to remain nice and innocent while expecting them to be better off economically.

Overall, Nepal is still a male dominated, caste infested and socially ultra-conservative society. It is the culture that some of our Nepalis think they miss the most, but its the culture itself that you would find hard time adjusting to when you go back to Nepal. Yes, in terms of culture and values, Nepal has a long way to go still.

Posted on 02-10-19 7:55 PM     [Snapshot: 1145]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Nepal is screwed up because the society puts more value in wealth and power of a person than his or her role in the society. This is the main reason for exodus of intellectual population from nepal.

 Nepal never realized how important the role of traditional farmers played in what it was. 
Those who did work such as farming was always set as example of what would happen to one if he did not do well academically as if it was one of the worst professions.

Benchmark of successful education became a high paying job or settling in a developed nation. Those who could not make to one of the two options were often labelled as failures.  

Even relatives looked down upon or dissociated from the ones who were not so well to do. It did not matter how one became rich as long as one was rich..diplaying gold all over the body in parties and using car l go to places which would be a 10min walking distance..but 30min with congested traffic and 200rs/liter petrol..Politics poured fuel in this fire.

As a result here we are..half the able manpower sweating in middle east and returing in boxes. Country getting rich with their remittance and acting as rocket boosters for inflation. And a few well to do still showing off..hopefully not beating empty drums.

Seriously speaking is there even any role left for people who get degrees in western nations which are in some cases considered specialized fields even by western standards.

Or is going back to nepal is going to be a case of a Lamborghini stuck in traffic jam in a place full of pot holes?
Last edited: 10-Feb-19 07:59 PM

Posted on 02-10-19 11:01 PM     [Snapshot: 1267]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Whoever has returned to Nepal and planning to return. Your decision. Good and Bravo!
Whoever has No plan to return Nepal and stay here in USA. Your choice. Must be good and fair one.
Everyone calls me STUPID for having my baby born in Nepal while I have a choice to have my baby here . Nope, I do not and wouldn't regret that decision of mine. The happiness and bond I can see and feel between my mother, father and my baby, it's just beautiful.
अहिले पनि जब नेपाल जान्छु. तेही बाबुको घरमा बस्छु. आमाले बनाको खान्छु. (She cooks amazing food. She is my Gordon Ramsay)
siblings संग अहिले पनि ठाकठुक पर्छ and I always love them.
I feel immense lucky to have wonderful parents and family.
Love Nepal and Have special place for this country in my heart.
नेपाल फर्के पनि येहा बसे पनि, I I wish and prefer to be doing such that would grant me, family and things i love; 'SERENITY'
For sure i would be returning to Nepal too. 
Last edited: 10-Feb-19 11:01 PM

Posted on 02-11-19 9:19 AM     [Snapshot: 1467]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I have people from South Korea and many rich Chinese at my workplace. They still want to stay here. I do not want to move to Nepal for three main reasons.

1) Hard to get laid
2) Hard to make money
3) Hard to breathe (due to pollution)
Last edited: 11-Feb-19 09:20 AM

Posted on 02-11-19 12:08 PM     [Snapshot: 1573]     Reply [Subscribe]
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ल्वाल. Why South Koreans and Rich Chinese don’t want to go back? Because they can’t show off like in Amrika back in their communist country.
Posted on 02-11-19 12:28 PM     [Snapshot: 1576]     Reply [Subscribe]
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They can show off all they want. China and South Korea are perfectly capitalist countries. They just don't want to be near family and overcrowding back home.
Last edited: 11-Feb-19 12:39 PM

Posted on 02-11-19 1:18 PM     [Snapshot: 1643]     Reply [Subscribe]
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It's an interesting discussion !!

I don't judge people's decision because, there is no RIGHT or WRONG decisions when it comes to heart and feelings.
Posted on 02-11-19 1:26 PM     [Snapshot: 1655]     Reply [Subscribe]
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ल्वाल! देव आनन्दजी को पहिलो युटूबे भिडिओ बिनाको टिप्पणी पढ्न पाउँदा हर्ष न बिस्मात भो | क्यारनी
Posted on 02-12-19 12:15 AM     [Snapshot: 1855]     Reply [Subscribe]
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There is no right or wrong decision, we are all about our own choices and our attitude towards life. Happiness comes from within no matter which part of the world you live in. But personally for me, being raised in middle class family (esp. in early childhood period as a lower middle class), I started learning about socio-economic status differences from that very young age in Nepal. My father, a very hardworking man,who worked 7 days/wk to leave no stone unturned to send us to good school for our quality education. Our relatives/neighbors were well off and I could sense my family always being ridiculed for not owning a house or any property AT ALL. We were constantly downgraded for our economic status. Mine & my sibling's self esteem were so low at one point, that we did not even wanted to bring any of our friends from school/high school at our rental substandard apartment because they all had a big beautiful houses, expensive decors and what nots (of course, I was very young and naive those days, a kid i.e embarrassed for not having a show-off economic status). All those things made me very rebellious and determined to do better in life on my own. I came to US after high school, worked very hard getting my bachelors and further advanced degrees (full scholarship) and after that working in a reputed company with high pay, I truly am living an American dream while supporting my family who is now living a comfortable life in Nepal. In future, I may go back and time will tell when it comes. Not being born into family with silver spoon can hit you really HARD in Nepal from every aspects. If your family is affluent, have successful family business then you should definitely and must go to continue/expand your business rather than settling here for 9-5 job. However, if you have huge family responsibilities and not enough money, my 2 cents suggestion would be to wait until you are financially stable/capable. At the end we are an adult with lots of bitter sweet experiences, stories and memories and we know whats better for us and we must do what we gotta do. For all hustlers no matter where you reside- I wish you nothing but the best!
Posted on 02-12-19 12:37 AM     [Snapshot: 1891]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Timi devil vaye ni timro kura angel ko jastai raicha. Timi malai mann paryo. Timilai pani all the best kanchi.
Posted on 02-12-19 6:44 AM     [Snapshot: 1978]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Chinese and Korean society is more f***ked up then neplease. They make you work like donkey. They don’t even get time to get laid. Japanese , Chinese and Koreans are so over worked, super expensive and super high real estate cost that no middle class wants to go back even though they can’t speak single English word. People in South Korea are dying due to over work.

Nepal is not difficult to get laid either anymore. Every other dude is going abroad leaving their married wife back home for years :) . Just need to find and hit right target and don’t get entangled with her :)

I do plenty of back and forth between Nepal and US. And some one the issue talked about are real pain. What ever you do, you can’t avoid pollution, traffic stuff like that.

Nepal specially if you have to live in Kathmandu it is really expensive now a days other then labor cost. Decent house in Ktm cost same as much as in many us cities. Society related things are only relates to the point, you care about it and how much you keep entangled with them. If you have small circle and don’t care much, I don’t think it should bother what others think and say. If you are going to do regular job , income I think will be relatively low compared to expense . If you have kids, school will be expensive but raising kids in Nepal is super easy compared to US. I personally find raising kids in US super demanding and expensive as well. Expensive both financially due to child care cost and expensive from the prospective of how much time you have to put on. In Nepal they grow-up easily, mainly because of closeness to extended family which most of us do have.

At the end most of the thing comes back to finance. Nepal is definitely not a place to be poor or even middle class. I personally think only folks with at least higher middle class should consider going back, everyone else keep busting your ass* here. If you have net worth of 1 million then you can think about going back, not that it will give you affluent life , you still need to work, but gives most needed foundation to start in decent way.

But at the same time busting your ass* in cubical for years, lack of some decent human connection and interaction in US kills your soul slowly. It really is difficult choice.

Now for women it more difficult because of the way neplease society treats women and they have to stay with in laws, they feel more free and empowered in US. But again all these can be overcome if money is there.
Last edited: 12-Feb-19 06:49 AM

Posted on 02-12-19 6:50 AM     [Snapshot: 1981]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Run back because you can’t forge meaningful relationships outside of Nepal because you can’t get out of the sheltered Nepali mentality, and then write an utterly confusing article about it. Oh, and don’t forget to mention you’re going back to be the voice of change. So hip among the returnees.
Posted on 02-12-19 10:14 PM     [Snapshot: 2236]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I lived abroad most of my life. Been 4 years since i returned to Nepal. For me, it was fear of dying abroad and my filial duties. Always felt i only belong to Nepal and always wanted to return. Life is much better in Nepal in many ways. You must have saved enough to buy a house here and extra cash as savings though. Don't think too much, life is never perfect anywhere.

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