I’m “Spicier” Than I Look…

Sometimes I feel like I should tattoo, “I love Nepal” on my forehead. Do any of you ever feel that way?

What I’m getting at is… Nepal is a big part of my life. Learning about the culture, eating the food, interacting with Nepali friends, listening to the language… I’m surrounded, and I enjoy it. But—if you just look at me, particularly if you don’t know me at all, you wouldn’t know. It’s like having a hidden talent… oh yeah, my secret talent is that I can talk about Nepali culture for three hours without stopping… probably without even taking a breath…

So since the Nepali connection isn’t very visually obvious, I find myself talking about Nepal and Nepali culture a lot. Particularly when I am in new situations or when I’m meeting new people. Kind of like I’m publicly acknowledging this part of my identity that others might not notice. It’s not that I’m going to stick my hand out and say, “Hi! I’m C… let’s talk about Nepal!” but if you sit and have dinner with me, we might eventually talk about something Nepali before it’s over.

I was reminded of this when I was at the International Educators conference. I must have had dozens of conversations about Nepal. I couldn’t help myself. I find the topic interesting and comfortable and fun– hence the blog–and when I’m in a room with lots of other people interested in similar things… well… open the flood gates, here come a few Nepali stories.

I bet people who have life changing experiences in the Peace Corps or if they have worked abroad, or perhaps if they grew up as a “third culture kid” in another country, they probably go through something similar… You have this whole other piece to you that others might not know, and it isn’t always easy to bring up in conversation without sounding a little like the odd girl who always wants to talk about South Asia. Okay, maybe not always, but it can certainly feel that way sometimes…

Gori Wife Life (a great blog site! You can read the original post HERE) wrote about this once. She talked about how she used to use henna as a way to start conversations about the Pakistani culture in her life. She loves mehendi to begin with, and likes the designs on her hands in general, but when she has it on her hands it is a visual representation of her dual identity, and a way for her to talk about this interesting aspect of her life without having to bring the subject up herself. Now that she has a son, I bet talking about Pakistani culture is even easier…

I guess in the meantime, I’ll just stick to writing… I think my forehead is too small for a tattoo anyway ;)

2 responses to “I’m “Spicier” Than I Look…

  1. In the area where we live, there are Indians & Pakistanis everywhere. I always want to shout from the rooftops – I married a Pakistani! I’ve been to Pakistan three times! But I never do. The henna sometimes helps me get my point across and I’ve had so many great conversations started that way. Perhaps I should look into something more tattoo-permanent too :)

  2. The Bengali loha works that way for me – it signals “Indian-ness” without shouting it from the rooftops.

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