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Reflections on my homeland

18 April 20240 comments

I have been living permanently in Melbourne for the past 20 years and in 2023 my family and I decided to go back to Nepal for a year.

I needed to go back to be with my family but making that decision was hard. Although I had been back to Nepal for holidays over the year, going to live there for a year with my family was daunting. However, once we made the decision, we went on to set things up.

My family in Kathmandu helped me with securing an apartment and they set it up for me. So basically, I walked into a house ready to live in.

The first thing I noticed in Kathmandu was the noise. You don’t realise how quite Melbourne suburbs are until you are living elsewhere.

Dogs bark all night, trucks and big buses run all night and they use their horns like their life depends upon it. The roads are full of cars, buses, motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians and dogs.

Kathmandu is a chaotic city, but I suppose that is a part of its charm. It took me a while to embrace of that chaos and once I was part of it, I was ok. It felt like being home again. I was no longer a visitor but a resident.

Kathmandu has changed in so many ways but has remained the same as well.

It still is a beautiful city surrounded my mountains. It’s full of beautiful temples, local shops and restaurants.

In terms of infrastructure, it has changed. New roads and new buildings are everywhere. I lived in an apartment, which was unheard of 20 years ago. Now it’s a reality for so many families in Kathmandu.

Most children speak English, which actually surprised. I was hoping my youngest son William would learn Nepali, but he didn’t have to as all his new friends spoke with him in English.

What was so different about Kathmandu was the mind set of people. Everyone seemed to have a larger than life kind of lifestyle. It was very materialistic and less spiritual than I remember.

Everyone is complaining about the system, but no one is doing anything to change it. Also, there are small families. Most couples have only one child and almost everyone has one or two of their family members living overseas.

I think when you leave your country behind, you fantasise about it. ‘Everything is better back home, Everyone is nicer back home’, you think.

But living there for a year was like a reality check for me. I am happy to live in a country where we have free health care, free education for my children and a system that works.

Almost everyone I met in Nepal wanted to go overseas. Most of my friends are sending their children to either USA or Australia or UK for further studies – and with the plans to settle there.

Every day, 1300 to 1400 young people leave Nepal. People have lost faith in their political leaders and, to be honest, I don’t see a great future of my home country unless some drastic change happens.

I am still a Nepali though and I will always be. I will always love my country and no matter how bad it is, and I will always go back there.

If I get an opportunity to go back and live there for another year, or longer, I will take it in a heartbeat.

When I first made a decision to go back to Nepal, in my head I was doing it for my family but after spending a year there, I realised it was for me as much as it was for my family. The connection you have with your birthplace never fades. I hope one day I will get to go back again for another adventure.