One thing I love about living in Kathmandu is that my appreciation has grown for the little things. Here is a list of a few of these simple joys that I am cherishing at the moment:
1. STRAWBERRY JAM
So the other day I was walking to the tempo after work and on my way stumbled upon the Vienna Bakery Cafe. I went inside and to my surprise, there was a whole shelf of homemade jams!! (We need some context here). Berries are very hard to come by here, actually I would say they are non-existent, except for strawberries which I heard will start to pop up in December during their short growing season. It is a much more tropical place that sells papaya, guava, watermelon and lots of bananas and apples. Now I’m not complaining, but going 8 months without strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries… makes my heart hurt just a little bit! When I was first served jam, I got excited, but soon realized that the mainstream jam used is a fraud – just a mix of sugar and fruit flavours…but nothing close to the real thing. So walking into this little bakery and finding, yes, homemade strawberry jam from the Himalayas… and for only 150 rupees ($1.50), I was on top of the world (hey!)! I couldn’t get a smile off my face, and thought I’d celebrate by purchasing a warm cinnamon roll to enjoy on my stroll. I got home and made myself one of the top 10 comfort foods – french toast. For dinner. With bananas, sauteed apple and a huge heaping of strawberry jam… To top it all off, I got to use Olena’s lemongrass candle (loadshedding time, so the power was off), and read a good book. I was happy as a clam!! :)
2. Finding the Tempo after work
This past week my boss has been out of the country for a fair trade conference. My house is on his way home, so I’ve been able to get a ride after work which has been super helpful. It gets dark before 6pm and with work finishing at 5:30 it’s hard to take public transit home for several reasons. First of all, no matter which city you’re in, there always seems to be the 5 o’clock traffic which slows everything down. Also, at this time everyone is getting home so the microbuses and tempos are packed (being here has forever altered my perception of the word). I have to take one bus to RNAC (a big bus park area) and then another tempo home. After 5:30, the tempo that takes me to my neighbourhood is a lot less frequent or stops running, so if I don’t get it on time, I have to sift through multitudes of identical white buses that go in all directions and find one that takes me to a different neighbourhood a 10-min walk from home. Needless to say, I had a couple semi-traumatic (or adventurous you could say) experiences last week without having Sandeep to give me a ride home. One day it was raining really hard (after-effects of the Cyclone Hud Hud) and by the time I reached RNAC, it was almost dark. My strategy is to find the friendliest and safest-looking girl and asking her for help finding the right bus. We waited for the tempo for a good 25 minutes without finding the right one, and then finally gave up and searched for a microbus. We found one and she wished me well, as it was already full to the brim when I got on – atleast I was out of the rain and headed home. 5 minutes later, 3 more people come on the bus (how that was even possible, I’m not sure). I was squished between different men, with my head touching the roof and body bent over the middle seats. All I could see was the shiny head of a balding man right under my nose. Indeed, it was a cozy ride! I was seriously worried that we would run out of oxygen, and also worried that I wouldn’t know when to get off because I couldn’t see out of the foggy window. I just wanted to go home at this point, the novelty of tight squeezes on the bus had more than expired and the smirks of people staring at me was not helping. After voicing “Bhatbateni nira?!”, people were able to help me get off at the right stop and I crawled out of there in one piece! The feeling of fresh air was like water to a weary soul haha. I survived. ANYWAYS, long story short, the next time I got to RNAC quicker and am so grateful I’ve learned some Nepali letters because I found the tempo with the name of my stop! Praise God! Since then, it’s been a lot smoother to get home, and now that my boss is back from Korea I won’t need to fret anymore. All is well. *sigh* :)
The microbus – compared to this the tempo is like First Class!!
Life in Nepal is definitely different, but I honestly love the organized chaos and lack of strict rules here – you never know what you’re gonna get, and people are so friendly, always finding space for more people to join in the micro party… haha.
What little things have brought you joy this week?