Nepalis, they are just like us.
Sometimes you have moments here where you are just like “Fuck, am I still in America?” Because whatever you are witnessing is just like something that happens in America.
Tonight we had a big family meal. Uncles, aunts, weird relatives I had to pretend I remember meeting 6 months ago, etc. And before shit went down I actually remember thinking, “Gosh, this is eerily similar to a holiday in America”
For example my Host dad sports a wicked Burt Reynolds mustache, much like my dad did growing up. He also has a brother, and when the two get together they just chit chat and pretend like the rest of us are not there. This reminds me of a Christmas when my dad and uncle got into an extensive discussion about the Kennedy assassination that no one else cared about.
But, otherwise, much like my family we are completely dominated by women it seems. The men are severely outnumbered in my family in America, as they are here. So for a large part of the evening, drinking the raksi and chatting is done by the women.
But unlike America, when the men decide they need to make their point heard, they will shut down the women. And the men are usually wrong, because I’ve noted before they tend to be jerks. This resulted in someone sobbing in tears.
But it wasn’t me this time! Surprise. Tonight the evening started as fun as ever, drinking, chatting, but they got on the topic of how my oldest host sister was not doing well in her computer class (and let’s be proud of me I understood what they were talking about).
I remember looking at my host sister, who is about 18 now, and she was just bawling. A position I have been in, in this house, very often. Her dad, uncle, and cousin (all males) were telling her things like she needed to try harder, and computers are easy. And inevitably, because I am always on my computer, they turn to me and ask me to teach her. Which of course is no problem, computers are in my blood. I was raised on them. So when her cousin says to me “She should understand this, computers are easy” I say “No. They aren’t. I only know computers because my dad and brother work in them. I’ve always had a computer in my home. They aren’t easy for everyone. Which he seemed to understand, but I don’t think everyone heard me.
I tried to tell them I feel the same about math. Math will instantly make me cry. For whatever reason my brain just won’t do it. I mean I had to take basic college chemistry three times. Can you imagine trying to learn a subject in your rural village which you don’t understand, and on top of that your teacher probably doesn’t understand? And for sure your parents don’t understand. Computers are not something that existed here until recently.
I did the best I could. It sucks to be the one sitting there crying while your family shouts advice at you. I am going to try and take her shopping tomorrow and help her forget about it. And then if she wants we can look at the computer shit. But man did I relate. Not only having sat there and cried in Nepal, but also sat and cried at home in America because I found school tough, and I thought about all the advantages I still had, tutors, learning centers, Google, etc.
Mostly though I wish I had the language for “shut up, you don’t know anything” to say to the males. The women never got much of a chance to talk. I wish I had the language to tell her she is smart and she will be ok, and yeah this subject is tough, and your family members don’t know anything because they don’t have to work with computers.
I wish I knew how to tell her that.