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 Is America heavan or prison for Nepalese?

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Posted on 09-07-10 2:45 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I live in a country that is not mine with people...that the more years go by, the more I find that I have less in common with. I cannot go back to my country because it is a mess. America, the land of opportunity, sometimes feels like the prison I find myself in. I am used to the ease of the Western lifestyle. I am addicted to the luxury of a lifestyle here. And yet my heart yearns for the familiarity tasted in my childhood in Nepal. I long to be surrounded by the familiar tastes and smells of Kathmandu. But then I remind myself of the other, darker, not so romantic reality of Kathmandu, and I come to connect and talk with other Nepalis in sajha.com. I don't feel comfortable enough to express my personal feelings. So instead I type on my key board to express my frustration of what is going in Nepal. And all that comes out are words and emotions that are over-used and cliche on sajha.com. Like cigarette smokers finding commonality in the smoking hut, we come togethor to inhale other people's second-hand smoke as we exhale our frustrations about the situation in Nepal.

I was so happy to escape to America and leave behind the state of affairs that was Nepal. Today I have some stability in America. And my heart longs for the familiarity of Nepal. Whenever I go to a Nepali gathering, I am reminded of where my heart belongs. That is when I miss Nepal. Because of Nepal's condition and my American conditioning, the decision to go back to Nepal is becoming more and more difficult with every year that goes by. America, for this Nepali, feels less like heavan and more like prison. But if you threaten to kick me out of here, I will protest very loudly. What a dillema?

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Posted on 09-09-10 11:30 AM     [Snapshot: 1814]     Reply [Subscribe]
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If you came after High School your heart is always there. My cousin came to USA with 2 daughters and for last 3 years they always wanted to go back HOME. What ever the puzzle in our brain does get solved in USA, we live a compromised life every where. If you were back home you may be seeing things differently. Is our brain keep reminds us about the other side of the wall is green.

Life is run under compromised and it is like a tossed coin.  you can get ether head or tail not both same time.

Posted on 09-09-10 12:49 PM     [Snapshot: 1874]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I think the questions that we need to ask ourselves is: "How many generations of Nepalese will need to leave Nepal before the Nepalese that have left Nepal come to the realizations like we have above? How many generations of Nepalese will need to leave Nepal before the Nepalese who have left Nepal turn around and do something for Nepal so that Nepalese who don't want to leave Nepal don't feel forced to leave the country? How many more generations of Nepalese need to come out of Nepal and have the kind of realizations we are sharing above...10 to 12 years after they leave Nepal, when it is too late to go back? How many generations needs to pass before the Nepalese who have come out of Nepal turn around and do something for Nepal so that Nepalese don't need to leave Nepal to make their livelihood."

Perhaps some of the people speaking above are correct. Perhaps we are doomed. Perhaps some of us will never go back to live in Nepal.

But is it too late to ask this question: "What can we the Nepalese who had to abandon our nation do so that more Nepalese don't need to abandon their nation only to grieve for Nepal years down the road?"

Posted on 09-09-10 2:26 PM     [Snapshot: 1940]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Why? Could it be (and I am guessing) because you have not been to Nepal in a long time and your heart longs for a part of your past that you associate with happiness? Does  walking past Bhagwati Bahal bring back memories of those succulent lemon and orange flavored candies your favorite uncle bought you at the corner shop? Does Sano Gaucharan remind you of that fall from your tricycle? When your parents and grandparents heard your cries, dropped everything they were doing, rushed to your aid, consoled you, told you everything would be okay and treated you to a popsicle  at the nearby cold store? Could you possibly be transferring happy emotions from the past to fill an emotional void in the present?  Do you still fall from your tricycle at times and look for  someone to empathize with you?  

Is that why we feel so content in those settings in Nepal because they bring back a warmth and happiness that eludes us in the present? 

I don't want to play internet shrink or pretend to be Sajha.com's Ajmeri Baba (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9F0zE8DhvJA) so I'll drop the Freudian line there. However, if I asked myself the same questions my answer would be yes to all of the above (at some level). My inner child sometimes yearns for the innocence and  happiness of the past. I think that is healthy as long as we don't get stuck, or as you alluded to, get imprisoned in our past. Perhaps a visit to Nepal might give you another chance to make a choice about where to live.  I often use my Nepal trips to decide on the next chapter of my life.  I look at my friends who have gone back to Nepal after living in the US for a couple of years and opinion is divided on life in Nepal. Some have come back to the US. Others have stayed on. Both have their own sets of woes. Good luck with finding your answers. On a matter like this, only you can answer your questions to your satisfaction.

Pire and Mucho Fiesta,

Mine is just one way of looking at things and I am sure, like you guys said, there are so many other things to bear in mind.

A couple of other thoughts on some of the points raised on this thread:

As far as specific solutions go, most people will probably agree that there isn't a magic pill to ease the pain in Nepal. There is no one great unyielding truth on how to develop a country and reverse brain drain. It will probably have to be a combination of the things suggested on this thread plus whatever comes out of the creative genius of our people  in and out of Nepal. My personal take is political stability and good law and order will slow down the mass exodus of talent from the country and lay the groundwork for a public-private partnership to improve things in Nepal.

I also feel going back to Nepal is not the solution for everyone. It may be for me but  as I stated earlier, it depends on your personal circumstances and preferences. For all we know, Nepal may not be able to handle the mass return of so many people at one time. What is that nuclear physicist working at Los Alomos going to do in Nepal? Become  miserable writing reports about hydro power at NAST? What about the businessman in Los Angeles running a profitable handicraft store who sends thousands of dollars each year to his aging parents in Bhaktapur? Nepal needs investors as much as it needs professionals and technicians. If you can't go to Nepal and work there, you can still help the country by earning enough and going back to invest. All  who want to help should be welcomed with open arms regardless of whether they go back to work or to invest.  We have much to learn from the experience of the Chinese and Indian diaspora where expatriates have helped the motherland both by returning and investing from abroad. 

Posted on 09-09-10 2:42 PM     [Snapshot: 1962]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Here's an encouraging example:

Last edited: 09-Sep-10 05:28 PM

Posted on 09-09-10 2:56 PM     [Snapshot: 1951]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I don't think that all why's can be analyzed and put into neat piles. Why do I enjoy hearing the strumming of a sitar? Why do I enjoy Narayan Gopal's and Nabin Bhattrai's songs? Why do I enjoy walking through Bouddha in the evenings? Why do I like to talk about my school days with my friends from school? Why do I enjoy my best friend's company?

Just knowing the 'why' analytically and then finding a 'rational' solution is not always the answer. We cannot always just surgically remove all emotions from ourselves and find an attainable solution.

I know for me, I don't want to find a replacement for my Nepali emotions. I don't want to transfer my Nepali emotions and find a replacement for it. I mean, just because we can't associate with our Nepali parents or relatives doesn't mean that we go to an adoption agency in the United States and find a replacement right? At a certain point of 'replacing' our emotions with what is easy and attainable we lose who we are. That is what brainwashing is.


Posted on 09-09-10 3:12 PM     [Snapshot: 1987]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Very interesting. Homeyji, you are absolutely correct. It is that comfort zone that we miss the most here. You do not have to take calculated steps everytime you move in Nepal. Here you always need to think if you should eat that pizza with your hands or just cut it up into small pieces and eat it with a fork when you are having lunch with your co-workers. But back home you always know that it is fine to pick up that last piece of momo with ur hands, dip it in the sauce and finish it off by licking the sauce off your finger and it is perfectly fine. I guess with time we can expand our comfort zone here and know instinctively what to do in most situations but it could take a really long time to adapt and before you know it you won't have teeths to bite that pizza so it won't matter anyways.



Posted on 09-09-10 3:28 PM     [Snapshot: 2018]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Babal Khate,

Agreed. Hence each one of us has to find our own answers according to our needs and circumstances. My perspective applies to me alone. If others find something in common with it, then that's a bonus :) The 'you' in my response was merely to keep with the rhetorical flow of the writing but speaks mostly to my own personal experience. My bad if it sounded a bit too pointed for your liking. The best to you in finding your answers.
Posted on 09-09-10 4:04 PM     [Snapshot: 2047]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Allowing my-self to drop in my 2 cents I contemplate as we/ you change and or grow while living abroad on the other hand so does our country and society. The question is can we/you cope with each other’s change? If the answer is yes than we/you can settle in our country for real.

Posted on 09-09-10 4:26 PM     [Snapshot: 2067]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Posted on 09-09-10 5:01 PM     [Snapshot: 2089]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Things are actually changing back home too and somehow changing for good.
Posted on 09-09-10 6:39 PM     [Snapshot: 2089]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Let me be honest
Not everybody fall under this category, at least not me. I've decided NOT to return back and will die here. Yes, those sweet memories of Nepal still come up once in a while, along with all the negative aspects of our society. Let us be honest, we have lots of social issues, leave aside politics. Unless you come from the dominant cast/class from a rich family to roam around freely with your head high, it is not sweet all the time for some groups. Not everybody was hanging around New Road, Hanuman Dhoka and Thamel having fun, some were begging. Put yourself in their shoes, what do you think their memories are? Some of us have faced cruel upbringing.
In the state, I'm free and can live away from all the BS. Yes, America has its own issue, but I'm not bound by that social pressure, I can choose to stay away from people I hate.
I do admire those who return and RESPECT....wish everybody had your courage.

Posted on 09-09-10 11:25 PM     [Snapshot: 2265]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I totally agree with Vhootee. Let's analyze these two situations.

Your social background at a young age determines what you want to do in your future. Like said above, if you are from a prosperous family, you do have a lot of emotions attached and you miss people back home. While you were in Nepal, you were never misbehaved or ill-treated, never had to earn your living, never thought of how father earns for everyone in the family.S o except than the political turmoil; really there is nothing in Nepal that you would be uncomfortable with. Like you get mixed up with the American Culture, it might take some guts to return and get adjusted but considering family support and love, it wont be as hard as you think right now.

Now, what's with a person who came from a poorer family? I am taking myself as an example. Obviously, its not the same. Poorer family means you pretty much do not have any positive experience. You had no respect and no social support. Things even get worse if your from a broken family, you even loose the family support. So, these kind a people who somehow get here and try to do well and in turn gets the respect they always starved for; never miss so called "Home". This is a new home for them which at least gives them opportunity to grow and gain the pride which they use to dream about. Of course, there are memories associated with friends and some closed ones, but as time passes that weakens too. 

I am sure there are people here who wish that they could work from 8 AM-5 PM here in US and spend the remaining time back in Nepal with friends and families and get back to work on time the next morning.
Last edited: 10-Sep-10 07:47 AM

Posted on 09-10-10 2:43 AM     [Snapshot: 2330]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I definitely agree with your interpretation. For some people, the fact that they are in USA gives the 'leverage' back home. They get the respect they never enjoyed. May be lots of people have this situation, but obviously this is also changing.

Meanwhile, what it means for foreign trained men to go back to Nepal? I was reading this news today.
Obviously, If I were in Kantipur, I wouldn't even print this news, let alone give it such prominence. It is clear to me that the journalists are giving this foreigner a lot of values even though he deserves none. It is not only this guy, it is sood, the chinese ambassador and others...they shouldn't be given so much media coverage. The inferiority complex among the journalists is shocking.No wonder an European ambassador said something along the line that "in Nepal, I was like a king".

Posted on 09-10-10 7:26 AM     [Snapshot: 2384]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Dimag Kharab,

Unlike kids from well-to-do families, for kids of struggling back ground, America gives them a hope that they did not have in Nepal. So perhaps America may seem like a prison for those who were well-to-do in Nepal and come to America and miss Nepal. But for people from poor families who had no hope to get respect, status or support, America still feels very much like heaven. In many ways, these poor families are getting respect and are able to provide support to their families in a way that they could never have provided if they had stayed in Nepal. America gives them a new hope.

For different people, what it means to return back to Nepal means different things. For some returning back to Nepal means returning back to the good times. But for others returning back to Nepal means returning back to bad times. Is this what you're saying?

Posted on 09-10-10 7:46 AM     [Snapshot: 2402]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Yeah! What i mean to say is, Nepal is still the best place for those who belong to well-to-do families. Its exactly the other way for those from poorer families.
Posted on 09-10-10 12:01 PM     [Snapshot: 2489]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Some further thoughts on the subject:

Socio-economic considerations may be one determinant of whether and when a person returns. So is age. I would submit that just because a Nepali person in America happens to be from a humble background in Nepal, that doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't want to go back to Nepal at some stage in their lives. On the contrary, as people grow older, their needs change (remember Maslow?) and Nepal maybe the ideal place to  retire and get respect, name and fame and anything else they were not able to get in the US. We see examples of it in our villages today where people go to India and the Middle East to work but return later to buy a piece of land either in their village or the nearest town with basic amenities. Picture yourself at 50, doing a blue-collar job in an American city, seeking recognition and respect from the community and not getting as much of it where you live. I mean for all this talk about an egalitarian society, how much stature does a cab driver, especially an old cab driver, really get even in the USA? Going back to Nepal and rehabilitating yourself into Nepali society may be your way to realize those higher needs . Plus, it's cheaper to live on your American savings, pension or 401K in Nepal than in the US. Just a thought. 

Also, I can probably provide a detailed explanation of why the strumming of a sitar might make one happy but most people here are smart enough, I presume, to Google how the workings of the  sympathetic, parasympathetic, limbic,  Endocrinol  and other neurological systems  impact our emotions and behavior. Add a bit of old school Freudian thinking and the reasons why we feel the way we do might just be staring us in the face. And yes, free will does exist and if that's what you are wondering but in my opinion free will exists relative to the biological systems and space we operate in. It all boils down to whether you want to emotionalize or rationalize a situation. I prefer to do the latter hence I try to seek out rational answers to problems :) 

Happy Friday to you all and have a great weekend.

Posted on 09-10-10 12:09 PM     [Snapshot: 2484]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Everything is not honkey dorey once you leave Nepal to the US. Everything is not honkey dorey once you leave the US for Nepal. Accept reality. We all have our own unique situations. We have to make the best of our individual situations. If it does not turn out the way we imagined then we have to take responsibility for our decisions and move on.

Posted on 09-10-10 12:48 PM     [Snapshot: 2533]     Reply [Subscribe]
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No matter how much we try to justify it, the fact remains that we are only human and that the grass will always appear green on the other side of the fence.

Posted on 09-10-10 1:05 PM     [Snapshot: 2560]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Yes, but my father told me that Nepali grass will always taste sweeter than American grass. And he would never lie to me.

On a more serious note: isn't it wonderful that us Nepalese atleast are in a position to discuss different options in our life? Think about where Nepal was just 60 years back. Our grandfathers did not have so much choice.

The United States has become the new Benares for Nepalese. Anytime we need to go on pilgrimage we just go to Busch Gardens or Disney Land.

Last edited: 10-Sep-10 01:32 PM

Posted on 09-10-10 8:09 PM     [Snapshot: 2694]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Some insightful thoughts shared by people for/against residing in the US on a permanent basis. If I had a MBA degree right now, I'd return back in a heart beat, abandoning my permanent residency. 

Problem is, people back home tell me that just having a Bachelor's degree doesn't suffice.... 

And my experiences, academic background, current job market, costs etc don't allow me to pursue a MBA degree from a reputed University. 

So I suppose I'm stuck..sorta...


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