Rule Number Six (While in Asia): The electricity may go out while you are showering. If this happens, remain calm, and try not to slip and fall!
I hadn’t showered in three days (I know, even I didn’t want to be around me anymore), so last night I decided it was probably time to clean up a bit. I got in the shower after dark. The electricity had already gone out (it cuts at random times during the day), but the generator was working in my room, so I was using that light to see in the bathroom. Unbeknownst to me, the generator also happens to shut off at random times during the day (making it somewhat useless?), and it just so happened to turn off while I was in the shower. I did manage to get some of the dirt off me, but all I could think the entire time was…”Only in Nepal!”
Yesterday, my Nepalese friend took me to the market to do some shopping. I had to pick up some fabric for my sewing training, so we went to a vendor I had purchased from a few days ago. He knew who I was (I have only seen one other non-Asian in this city since I got here); nevertheless, he still tried to rip me off. Now, I have been to Israel a couple of times, and Israelis are the world’s master barterers. They apparently trained me well. I sat and bartered, via my friend, with this Nepalese vendor for nearly ten minutes, but he finally gave into to the price I was asking. Afterward, he was laughing and saying something over and over in Nepali to the vendors nearby who had been listening in. I asked my friend what he was telling them, and she just smiled and said, “He is telling them what a clever girl you are.”
I got to help cook yesterday at the safe house! Back home, I am a Food Network junkie, so I know my way around a kitchen. However, cooking in another country is a bit different from preparing Rachel Ray’s cuisine. For one, if you open any of the drawers in Nepal to get cooking utensils, you will get the utensil, along with a cockroach the size of your thumb and a few ants. After a few minor freak-outs, I got over my disgust for the insects and figured that we could use some extra protein in our diet. In Nepal, I have also figured out, after some confusion, that they have three meals: lunch, breakfast and dinner (in that order). So at 3 pm, I helped prepare breakfast! The name of what we prepared, I am unsure of, but it tasted something like Malt-O-Meal, which happens to be my all-time favorite breakfast (it’s actually manufactured in my home state of Minnesota, so perhaps that’s where my affection derives from). While in the market, I had picked up some dried coconut, so we added that to the concoction. If you have never tried it, dried coconut is one of the most fantastic things I have ever tasted! I am not sure where to get it in the States, but I intend to find out when I go back home.
I have acquired three new positions at the safe house: pilates instructor, math teacher and cosmetologist! The girls and I have been doing pilates every day, which they love! They giggle the entire time and all groan that their muscles hurt. Yesterday, I taught them how to flex their biceps and kiss each arm like Hulk Hogan! We also worked on their addition, subtraction and multiplication yesterday. It’s a bit difficult to teach the girls, as they are all at different levels of their education, but we started with the basics and used Cheese Puffs to help them learn how to count and do math (some of them ate the Cheese Puffs before we got started though, so that idea kind of backfired)! The girls and I also put on a fashion show and modeled for pictures one afternoon. They absolutely love getting dressed up and having me do their hair. They have the most colorful clothes and make-up, and it was a lot of fun to get dolled up and do something girlie with them!
I am now off to sew the pants to my Nepalese outfit. I finished sewing my sample punjabi, and now I get to make the life-size version. I’ll let you know how it goes, but don’t expect great things!