It has been more than a week since I posted my last blog. Time for an update on what I have been doing. First of all: my apartment! I have spend two nights there now and it is a great place. The only thing is that the geizer, shower and the toilet need some serious plumbing… But that will be done this week. The evening of my first night I invited my new VSO friends to my house. To celebrate they brought flowers and a box full of chocolate cake! We decided that beer and chocolate cake is a good combination J. Next day I cooked for myself the first time in three weeks, I did not know that I would miss cooking so much!
Buying things for my apartment is an adventure by itself. First of all there are no big department stores where you can simply buy everything. Everything is sold in small shops, all over Kathmandu. So the best thing was pretty much to just go bicycling around Kathmandu to look for shops that sell what you need: plates, cutlery, a gas stove, pots and pans, buckets, etc. A bed and curtains were most important. But just mentioning Koen his length would make the Nepali people laugh and shake their head: ‘No we don’t have beds and mattresses in that size’. After some searching I managed to find a carpenter shop and got a bed especially made. After three days it was ready and put on the back of a rikshaw (!!) to be brought to my new home.
If you would find me blogging about a guy named ‘Alex’ who is my Shreeman (husband), don’t wonder who it is. In the Nepali language we have a problem. ‘Koen’ in Nepali language means ‘Which one?’. And by telling a Nepali person you have a boyfriend, you might as well tell them you are open for loads of new romantic contacts. In short: you are either a whore or married. There is nothing in between. And to tell people I have a ‘boyfriend’ named ‘Which one’ would definitely lead to some assumptions… So Koen will use his second name (Alex) and will in Nepali eyes be my Shreeman.
In between the beer drinking and arranging my apartment I have of course also done some serious stuff. First of all continuing my language course. Actually I really like it and I notice I can now have small conversation in Nepali. Most Nepali people (at the fruit shop, in the taxi, or just while buying some water) are not shy to ask me if I am married, if I have children, where I come from and what my name is ( yes in that order!). It is great to notice how fast you progress if you have three hours of language training every day for three weeks!
But this week we have no language training: we have the VSO Annual Volunteer Conference. All 50 volunteers from all over Nepal came together in Nagarkot. Nagarkot is a small place in the mountains on the edge of Kathmandu valley: quite high and with a great view on the Himalaya’s, as you see on the picture. We are following workshops, exchanging experiences and sit in the lobby chatting and drink beer till late at night (which is eleven o clock in the evening, as Nepali people go to bed at nine). VSO is in a transition stage where they had to fire 10 staff! Luckily this has no implications on us volunteers, but it does lead to discussions on where to go from here. Next week we will be heading to a place called Banepa where we will live the village life for one week, to enhance our language skills.
In the middle our conference location: the Paradise Inn Hotel in Nagarkot.