Our apartment feels kind of empty and cavernous these days, like the space is too big for us. I guess we are just used to having more people around and it will take time to adjust. I feel a little like a parent whose children have gone off to school and left us alone. I miss having the house bustling with people, the lights on in the living room when we get home from work, the “family” dinners around the table, always having someone to chat with over tea and snacks. It doesn’t help that winter in New England is settling in. Days are short, dark and gray, and it makes the house feel all the more darker and colder too.
I think I was always a relatively social person. I enjoyed connecting with others, being part of a larger community and network of friends, but it wasn’t until I connected with the Nepali community that I truly realized how nice it was to have others around.
Sure, we all have days when we come home after a long day at work, you might be in a bad mood, and you just want to sit alone and watch a movie or read a book, or even just go to bed early. I’ve been there (and done that!) but there is something really nice about sharing your life with others.
I got quite a bit of flack from some of my family members recently about my “lifestyle choices” especially when we had a host of people with us the past few months. Most were friends– recent graduates from master’s programs desperately looking for jobs in a horrible economy, they just needed a place to be while they looked for the next thing. P and I had the space, how could we say no? And it’s not like our friends didn’t contribute towards the household, they insisted on helping towards rent, and we rotated cooking meals and cleaning up, it was really helpful and nice.
“You go way above and beyond for your friends,” my mother chided, “I would never let people live with me endlessly like that, it’s not our culture.”
“But Mom,” I tried to reason, “Our friends are important to us, and far from home, most don’t have a lot of relatives in the US, and they just needed a helping hand for a little bit. If I were thousands of miles away from home wouldn’t you feel better knowing that someone was helping me?”
Her: “No, because they are not family, why would they help you? What would be in it for them?”
Me: “Why does there have to be something in it for them? Whatever happened to being there for people just to be there for people?”
Her: “Well this nonsense better stop once you are married! You’ll have to grow up and start living like an adult and stop having all these visitors!”
These conversations get so exasperating!
Luckily December continues to be busy. And I hope I get a bit of my writing mojo back!