Freitag, 20. Mai 2016

Smiling folks

One thing in Nepal is really special (besides mountains, nature, Gompas......): the Nepalis. These people are just amazing! 

best man on the trek - Bob Marley Hostel
Of course, you always have the good and the bad but actually... I haven't really met bad ones here that often.
I just realized this when I was trekking because on the trek I first met a Nepali host, who wasn't friendly. Who didn't try everything to help me. Who didn't smiled the the whole day. Seems I'm too used to this by now so it's time to have a break and honor the wonderful souls here in Nepal!

Coming from India it is wonderful relaxed here. The Nepalis aren't that pushy, they don't try as hard as the Indians to sell their stuff, they're just more laid back.
Starting at my first day, when a stranger helped me to find my hostel for about 30 minutes at 1 a.m., going to the holy festival where the hostel staff took us with them the best places, going on with lots of busrides where people not sitting there quietly but singing and laughing out loud (I loved this one. Imagine you're sitting in a bus, starting to get exhausted and then a Nepali song starts and one, then two and suddenly the whole bus starts to sing full-throated and become friends after!).
I could go on with this little stories but the truth is, there are too many! These little things take place here every single day and I'm kinda scared to return to the (sometimes cold) Western world where people don't really speak to strangers.

There's a big lesson for us to learn anyway. When I started travelling in Nepal I had a bad feeling to meditate right next to some local workers, who worked their asses off to rebuilt the damages of the earthquake in 2015. *Little sidestory: it is amazing, what the people are perform here! I hope I can do another article about the reconstructions to explain that further but in short: the people just built their own land with almost nothing. Every day and everyone without complaining. It feels like a whole country plays in the same team which makes the feeling of being surrounded by outstanding people even bigger.* But back to our lesson. So I felt bad about my 'first world problem' (finding myself or calmness or whatever) during meditation while some local women tow some really heavy baskets on their forehead (they have these big baskets full of stones, should be around 30-50 kilo  each which they carry on their back, being held by a scarf - or something like that - which goes around the basket and is placed on their foreheads.). I actually felt really stupid and asked my discussion group about it, if someone else felt like going there and help instead of sitting there and meditate. There were different answers but the best one came straight from a local a few weeks later when I talked about this with some local workers:

"Don't worry! We might be poor but we are so rich in our hearts!"

Another (Western guy) said this:

"Are you sure, they have the bigger problems? We from the Western world come here to learn to listen to ourselves. They might work hard but at 6 p.m. they're all standing there, drinking tea with each other, laughing. And then they go home to their families. In my company we work without looking at each other. And in the evening we say a quick goodbye and leave way too late for quality time with our families. To be honest, I came here to learn about myself with meditation. I don't think these people need this, they are born with it like everyone and they (in contrast to us) never lost it. So maybe they're just talking pitying about us right now like "Look these poor people from the West. They need to come here to be happy!"

strong Nepali and their baskets full of stones

After 3 month in Nepal I think I agree with both. Yes, life is not always easy here. But the people are so happy and friendly and welcoming that I can't think anything else than that they might do something (more) right then us. Maybe it all comes from the education. When I see a little girl falling asleep over the table at 10 p.m. and her mother pushing her roughly so she finishes her meal, I can't really agree with it. But for sure it makes them tougher and complain less and maybe that is something really important for us (especially Germans...) to learn.

There are some things which are different in general here and what other cultures could adapt easily:

parts of the friendshipcafe-family
In Nepal you complete a table before you start a new one. (I had this in Arabic and African countries too but that's just a sign that it might be a good idea!) The funny thing here is that not only the locals behave so but also the tourist seem more open. To be honest: the tourists I met in Nepal - maybe together with Tanzania and Sri Lanka - are the most interesting and lovely people I met in a while! Of course I speak in general now(!!!) but somehow the majority of people I met here is just different to people I met in Thailand, Bali or Cambodia (again: I met wonderful people there, too but speaking about the people who were around and created the atmosphere it was totally different). So when I came to my favorite bar in Pokhara for the first time I sat down for about 2 seconds, listen to the music, when a girl came over and said: "Why are you sitting alone? Don't you want to join us?" This would never happen in Germany. And even if people are okay with it somewhere else, mostly it would be you who has to make the first step instead of the group of already sitting people. Once again I have to point out the difference between Backpacker and other Touris... This became crystal clear when Adri and me came to this Lodge after hours of trekking and non-eating. The lodge was full with Touris. You know, those who have a porter and a guide (I'll explain this in the Trekking post) and no idea in which country they actually are without their guidebook. 
Kopan-family doesn't end with Kopan - night out in Thamel
We were exhausted and hungry and it started to be cold and rainy so we asked if there were any more places so we could have lunch (if necessary I would have sat on the floor!). The waiter looked around... all the tourists looked at each other... looked at us..... and kept on with their meal. The waiter apologized and we had to go on without lunch. With no doubt both of us agreed: every backpacker's reaction would have been an immediately close ranks and a warm "oh c'mmon! There's always space for one more!" And so would have been every Nepali's reaction. I didn't know until then that I am so used to this open and friendly behavior by now that I kinda expect people to be like this. Guess I have to work on my expectations soon.....

In Nepal you say: "So good to see you!" Not just hello, not "Hey how are you" without being interested in the answer. You say So good to see you, because you mean it. Before you say that you mostly say "Namasté" which is beautiful itself because it means roughly: "The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you" and makes us all the same.

In Nepal you smile. Yes you do. Because everyone else is smiling too!

Just for the sake of completenesseveryone in Nepal is relaxed. Which has a good side: everyone is relaxed! And a bad one: you get stuck from time to time, hanging around a hostel and haven't really done anything in a week. Happend to most people here at least once. But hey - as long as you find your way out - why not take a little break from the fast moving world?

In Nepal you're a family wherever you go. It's funny how communities call themselves families but I love that. It's true we all are kind of a family and when you live with the same group of people for some time it can feel like a little home with a little family. Here in Nepal I had quite a lot of families. My Fireflies(Hostel)-family, my Kopan(Monastery)-family, my Aloobar(Hostel)-family, my Friendshipcafe-family, my trekking-family. That was actually one of the first things I heard in Nepal: "Welcome to the family. You stay here, then you are my sister now." How can you not love this country...?

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