July 22, 1999
The following letter was written soon after the previous letter
(#3). "Carol Kay/Mack/Cecil" refers to our aunt
and uncle and their dog (respectively). It may seem odd to include a
household pet in the opening of the letter, but trust me -- if you ever
met Cecil, you'd agree that, in his case, it makes perfect sense.
Sorry it took me so long to write. I'm sure my mom has kept you
up to date on what I'm doing here in general, so I'll try to mention some
of the smaller details. Nothing here is like America, so I could
never list all of the unusual things.
That's all for now. Everything is great! Write back.
Nepal smells bad! Even in the cities, pigs, goats, chickens, and
even some deer roam in the streets. Cows, of course, roam freely
anywhere. People seldom wash even though it is hot, which is especially
bad on the overcrowded buses. The pit latrines (which are often disturbingly
close to the water pumps) are especially rancid.
Nepali people are loud, abrupt, and intimidating. It took me a few
days to realize that my "family" members were not arguing all the time
when they yelled at one another (and me). They never say please or
thank you and use a lot of imperative sentences. "Mark, eat rice
now!" They try to help me study by pointing to my vocabulary words
and yelling them at me. This is probably due to the rote memorization
used in their schools, where they memorize several hundred facts, word
for word, and then write down the 50 or so which are requested on their
final exam--word for word.
Nepali people have a bizarre, uninformed love for America. People
expect me to be extremely intelligent and rich. They also expect
us to be either extremely lascivious or homosexual. They always ask
us how much our possessions cost and if we can fly them back to America
with us. They love to look at my pictures of home, my clothes, American
money, etc. Several people have told me they like America better
than Nepal (they have very little self-respect) but cannot explain why
(except for vague talk about how rich they would be in the U.S.).
Nepali food is great! We mix rice with some combination of dahl,
vegetables, milk, or butter on one big plate and eat it all with our hand.
It's monotonous but great.
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