Tag Archives: Blogging

Happy SECOND Blogiversary American-Nepali!

August 25th marks the completion of my first two years of blogging and the start of my 3rd. Hurray!

In addition to roughly 294 posts and more than 168,000 views, you have followed me through two friend’s Nepali weddings (Monsoon Wedding, Nepali Wedding in New England), as well as my own. You have listened to my struggles to learn Nepali (which is still a struggle), my love/hate relationship with rice, my experiences with other foods, my stories about traveling, and  meeting P’s parents for the first time, becoming engaged, and learning how to celebrate Nepali festivals–even silly things like the Sel Roti Challenge!

We have celebrated milestones like P’s Bratabhanda, his tenth year in America, and applying for his Green Card. Hopefully in the next  year or so we can celebrate him finishing his phd :)

In the year to come there will be a lot more to write about– if I can “out” our dear friends R and S… they will be having a baby in November, so I’ll officially be an “aunty” and attending my first “Pasne” ( rice feeding ceremony) as well as other baby stuff :). P and I are planning a trip to Nepal before the end of 2011. Mamu and Daddy are still here with us for another month as well as some other potential surprises.

Lastly, I want to thank all my readers. When I first started writing I never imagined that it would connect me to such a vast network of interesting, intelligent, interculturally aware people. I’ve made friends, and connections, and it is so nice to know that what I’m feeling or thinking is sometimes similar to what other people are feeling (phew! I’m not crazy!)–and that when other people read what I have to say, sometimes it makes them feel better too. You guys are truly awesome, and I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with you in such a personal way!

Thanks again for a great year! Hopefully year three will be just as good!

Other links:

First Blogiversary celebratory post

Greatest Hits for 100,000 Views

Wedding Series

A Shout Out to Two People in Philly (AKA another post about how the Nepali world is very small)

(Just to try and clear up confusion… I think everyone knows P and C, U= P’s brother. T= Nepali guy in Philly, Z= American girl in Philly. I= me, it’s not another character)

About two months ago, while P was in Nepal, I received an excited call from P’s brother U who lives in a suburb of Philadelphia. He was thinking of moving and was looking for a roommate, and had placed an ad on Craigslist.

It just so happens that a Nepali guy responded to U even though they didn’t know the other was Nepali at the point of initial contact. Once the coincidence of nationality was out of the way, they thought it was interesting that they had lived not too far away from each other for the past year or so, but didn’t know the other was around. Eventually they started telling each other about themselves. The other guy (let’s call him “T”) also had an American girlfriend, so U mentioned that his brother had an American girlfriend and that “P and C” were planning to get married in July in Massachusetts. T and his partner (we’ll call her “Z”) were also planning to get married in the summer as well. They chatted about some other stuff, and parted ways, thinking that they might move in together as roommates.

T tells Z about his conversation with U, and some of the details about U’s brother and his American girlfriend sounded kind of familiar… C and P, Nepali and American weddings on July 9th and 10th in MA, etc. It just so happens that Z occasionally reads my blog and asked T to check with U to see if his brother’s girlfriend blogged, and if so was she “AmericaNepali.”

So that was already a pretty neat connection, but then it gets even more interesting…

Shortly thereafter, unfortunately, there was a family emergency and T had to unexpectedly travel back to Nepal. P was still there, and hadn’t yet heard about the conversation between me and U. One day while P was traveling in the city, someone mentioned T’s family to P (which he didn’t personally know) and asked if he would like to travel to T’s house to pay respects to the family.

P arrives and T realizes that this is U’s brother P… the P from the blog. So he says, “I know you, you are getting married to C in Massachusetts on July 9th and 10th…” and explains how he knew U from Philly, and that his American girlfriend Z reads my blog. P thought he had a great story (I’m always giving him grief about never having good stories), so he excitedly calls me from Nepal that evening and starts telling me about a guy he met in Nepal who was going to be roommates with U, etc etc etc. I said, “Oh yeah, I know…” and explained the rest. He was surprised I knew the story, and was bummed I ruined a good story that he finally had to tell.

So Memorial Day weekend (two weekends ago), P and I traveled to Philadelphia to help U move, and he thought it would be nice to organize a dinner at his house between me, P, U, T, and Z.

I’ve met a small number of fellow bloggers (Big Bad Blond Bahu, Gori Girl, Gori Wife Life), but I had never met someone who found me through a google search before. It was neat to talk to someone for the first time who already knew a lot of my backstory, and it was equally interesting to hear her backstory too. Due to the situation that originally caused T to travel to Nepal, she and T will be moving to Nepal soon (instead of moving in with U) and staying there for at least the next year. I hope, if she is interested in documenting her experiences online, that she might be willing to share some of her experiences with us as well (either in guest posts or on her on blog).

So I wanted to make a quick shout out to T and Z in Philly, and reiterate yet again, how small the world can be when you meet other Kathmandu-ites around the world :)

Writer’s Group

I have always enjoyed writing, although I never really took it seriously.

I was, however, terrible at keeping journals as a child, and probably started half a dozen diaries that were abandoned after two or three entries. I even tried the Anne Frank-esque tactic of pretending I was writing to a long lost friend, but that didn’t work either. It wasn’t until I started traveling as an undergraduate that I began documenting my experiences in these long involved emails to friends and family back home. I actively rebelled against my professors, who insisted that I keep journals for my overseas classes, but those weekly emails home became a serious undertaking (although at first much more like long excited rambles), and I would eventually alter many of my emails into academic entries after the fact.

Over time, my emails grew stronger and tighter, more thought was put into details and descriptions, and more research was put into explanations of things. After two semesters of emails from abroad, I enrolled in an intro to non-fiction writing seminar for tips on how to develop my scenes, and hook my audience. I wouldn’t say that my emails were publishable (not even remotely), but I started getting requests from others to be put on the mailing list for future emails. I printed most of what I wrote, and pasted them into composition notebooks for reference.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but those emails became really important to me as a way to remember all the details and relive the experience (I’d often go back and re-read, even while still abroad, to remember something specific, and today these notebooks and ticket stubs are invaluable for details as back story), it was a way for me to process the new things I was learning, and through contextualizing my experiences for others, I was more deeply understanding what was happening to and around me.

Then for a few years I stopped writing, and I felt this tension building up in me. I had these experiences and thoughts I wanted to share, but I didn’t know where.

Enter the blogging world.

And after half a year of blogging, and getting into the routine of writing, I wanted to again hone my skill. So in January of 2010 I joined a local writer’s group. I’ve been attending the monthly meetings ever since.

My blog posts are pretty colloquial, and I’m sure riddled with mistakes (grammatical and otherwise), but again through writing I’ve begun to analyze and understand my experiences on a deeper level, and I have learned a lot through reading the thoughts of others. Likewise the writer’s group has made me slow down as a writer, and think about what the reader is seeing and feeling, how the reader interacts with what I write.

Needless to say, I love writer’s group. Last night we had a great meet up. Many of the regulars were there, along with quite a few new people. We generally meet at the local library for about two hours. The month before a meeting, two to three volunteers agree to post their polished pieces to a website where members download and comment on their work. At the meeting each person has three minutes to critique for each writer’s piece and the writer is not allowed to say anything—no debates, explanations, defending, nothing (the “glass box” theory of critiquing). They can only take note (or not) of comments from each person.

After the more formal meeting a group goes out to a local Chinese food restaurant for tea, beer, dinner, snacks, etc and socialize, talk about their projects, hear crazy stories. Last night we had a big group at the restaurant, and it was one of the most enjoyable writer’s groups to date. Everyone is different–professions, upbringings, interests, what they like to write. Most are American, which is good for me– I need to get out of my international/intercultural comfort zone every now and then. Being in the company of other budding writer’s inspires me to keep writing, try harder, and to think about different techniques and approaches.

I’m not sure if my writing will ever really go anywhere. It is more of a hobby and an outlet than anything else. But between the energy, encouragement and tips of the writer’s group and stories like blogger Sharell at Diary of a White Indian Housewife, who recently wrote a memoir of her move from Australia to India and her new life in Mumbai that is due to be published later this year, I can’t help but feel inspired.

Who knows?

Happy Blogiversary American-Nepali

I can’t believe I missed my one year “blogiversary.” For some reason I had it in my head that it was August 29th, but actually it was  25th of August last year when I posted the original “Welcome” message. So– happy belated one year blogiversary to American-Nepali. As I’ve mentioned before in my 100th Post, I have really enjoyed this new hobby, and have loved connecting with others out there in the blogosphere.

Reflecting back one year—I have 156 posts, with over 700 comments and nearly 56,000 views. I had no idea that so much could happen in one year, and I couldn’t be happier.

For those of you who are new to the blog—feel free to read through the “Personal Stories” category to learn more about P and I and how our relationship began. Check out the “Nepali Festivals” category for more information on festivals—particularly Teej, Dashain, Tihar and Bhai Tikka which are quickly on their way. “Society and Culture,” “Food,” and “Wedding/Marriage” are also fun places to start.

Some potential ideas for the upcoming year—perhaps if I get a little more savvy with WordPress, I’ll figure out a forum feature to turn American-Nepali into more of a community where readers can interact with each other a bit more. Any other ideas and/or anyone interested in writing a guest post about their own experiences are more than welcome, don’t be shy ;)

So thank you for your interest, and your friendship. Let’s hope this is first of many more years (!) to come.

Blogging Aesthetics

While writing my quick post this morning I realized something on the blog looked a little weird. It took me a few minutes to put my finger on it, until I realized that all my side bars were gone—links remained, but categories, archives, comments, blog stats, search bar, everything else—had disappeared!

I wasn’t sure what the heck was going on so I went to the WordPress widget bar to re-add all my sidebar information, but it wasn’t until I sat down during lunch and started reading through the WordPress newsfeed (to see if others were complaining about this sudden strange change) did I figure out that the blog theme I was using had been updated to a new format and I had more options to arrange the look of my blog.

So I spent the rest of my lunch break playing around with different layouts, including changing to a dual sidebar format, and changing the background color to black. I kind of like the new look, but I’d love to have some reader feedback.

Do you prefer the black background or white? Do you find the dual sidebars confusing and too busy? What if both sidebars were side by side on the right hand instead of split one on each side? Or do you like the old way of a single sidebar on the right hand side?

Last but not least—I contemplated changing my banner picture. I love my Bodhinath, and I feel like it is now part of the “AmericaNepali” brand, but there was a great photo of a prayer wheel in Lukla that I was contemplating to use as a new banner. The photo is below:

So gracious readers, what are your thoughts?

The Gori Blogging Meetup

Prior to this weekend, I’m not sure if I have ever met someone in person that I first got to know exclusively online. Times, they are a’changin’…

A few months ago, one of the blogs I really enjoy (Gori Girl) suggested a meetup in her metro-area if people were going to be around. Unfortunately I live quite a distance away, and was unable to attend, but offered that P had a conference in that same area in April, and perhaps we could do another meetup then. April came around, and I reminded about the conference, and GG was happy to facilitate another meet up, and I took advantage of a long weekend from work to finally meet some of the people I’ve gotten to know from the blogging world in real life.

I’m not going to lie, even if it makes me sound like a dork, I was excited– dare I say, even a little nervous, to meet a group from the blogging community in person. The day of the meetup I felt like I was preparing for a blind date. I enjoy reading and interacting with these women online, and I couldn’t help but think, what if they meet me in person and think I’m weird? Or I am nothing like they expected, and that changes the relationship? I really value this online community, and I don’t want to do something to alienate myself from a group I’ve come to really look forward to interacting with.

I wanted P to come with me and meet some of the characters that I talk about from the blogosphere. He has been really supportive of my blogging hobby, and thinks that it is interesting that I have found a creative outlet and a way to connect with other like-minded people, but I’m sure deep down he probably also finds it all a teeny-weenie bit weird, or at least amusing. As I tried to talk him into joining me he joked, “But you don’t really know these people…” while I argued, “But I do! I have learned all sorts of personal details about their lives, sometimes I feel like I know them better than people I actually know in person!” Unfortunately the meetup was opposite a lecture by Jane Goodall at his conference, and he didn’t make it to the meetup spot until about 10 minutes after everyone left.

So after the giddy school girl excitement of the meet up anticipation, the time finally came, and I arrived at the meetup spot a few minutes after the appointed time. I was the fourth person to arrive: GG was sitting with an Indian work friend, and another blogger (who recently started writing, but whose blog is definitely worth checking out: Big Bad Blonde Bahu) was there. As we chatted more people began to arrive including GG’s husband Aditiya, and one of my favorite bloggers Gori Wife, with her Pakistani husband and young son (when she walked in I couldn’t resist the urge to jump up and give her a hug). All in all, I think about 7 or 8 people involved with the blogging community showed up, several with their husbands or partners, making the meetup group about 13.

The meetup was quite fun, as new people arrived we’d ask each other what our username was on GG’s site, if we blogged, what our blog was called,  and usually, “oh yeah, I know you, I follow your blog!” In some cases it was an opportunity to put a face to a name and story. Or to ask for details that might have been blurred out of stories for privacy reasons, or to ask for clarifications. Not personally knowing too many Gori (white girl)-Desi (South Asian) couples it was refreshing to socialize with others who can really “get” your personal back-story, and multicultural household situation.

Luckily, P will be down in the same general area for a summer research opportunity, so I’m looking forward to potentially meeting some of these great women (and their families) again.

After the meetup, I had dinner with a group of friends and I was bursting to share my “Gori social hour” experience and couldn’t help but tell my story again and again throughout the weekend when I met up with other friends. For instance, at the conference I saw an old neighbor who has since moved back to her native Canada to teach at a university and finish her research. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve mentioned you and your blogging in my class” she said, after I told her about the meetup, “I think what you are doing is great. There is a lot of criticism out there that the idea of ‘community’ is dying out, and young people today are too disconnected… but this is an example of how communities are still thriving they just look very different. You don’t necessarily have a community like this in your backyard, but you found them using technology and the internet. Just because it is virtual doesn’t make it less of a community.”

And I agree. We are a community, and I’m glad to have it. Thanks for the fun meetup… I hope we get to do something like that again.

100th Post

This is my 100th post, a milestone I wanted to acknowledge. Wow, it’s hard to believe that I’ve had 100 things to talk about already (although perhaps P would be less surprised). I’m not going to lie… there always seems to be something more to say ;)

I started posting in late August of 2009 because I was looking for an outlet, a place to share stories, connect with others, and to find a new way to feel like part of a community. I know I am not the only American (Westerner) out there partnered with a Nepali (or other South Asian), but it is easy to sometimes feel like I’m the only one going through things. It has been really refreshing and fun to meet others along the way who are in similar situations.

Moving forward, I’m excited to hear more from readers (and maybe have a few guest posts about your own situations too—hint, hint) and getting suggestions for more topics or stories that you might want to hear. In the meantime I’ll continue churning out material as it comes, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride.

So thanks again for being there to listen, I really appreciate knowing that others out there enjoy Musings from an American-Nepali Household.


Manu and I at a wedding in Nepal

P and I at a wedding in Nepal

I am relatively new to blogging… I’ve been a reader and a commenter for a while, but I hesitated for quite some time before I decided to take the plunge.

I originally turned to the internet because I wanted some advice. Last summer my partner of 6 years—let’s call him P—his family came to visit us in the US for five weeks. His aunt, mother, father, brother and sometimes his cousin stayed with us in our small 2 bedroom apartment. I had a great time getting to know them better, but I also felt exhausted and a bit stressed out by the situation. I felt like I didn’t really have anyone to talk or relate to about it.

Meanwhile, I have had an ongoing “discussion” (read: on-again, off-again fight) with my mother about my interest and participation in many aspects of Nepali culture, and her fear that I am abandoning my “American-ness” and my culture for P’s.

Out of frustration and curiosity I started searching the web… surely there were multitudes of people out there in similar situations. What did they do? How did they cope? What compromises did they make and what suggestions did they have?

At first I wasn’t finding anything useful. Then I stumbled upon a great blog on intercultural relationships—Gori Girl—which promptly launched me into the blogosphere. Becoming more active on GG’s blog and forum made me feel like I was part of a community, even if it was purely an online one.

However it seemed that many of the commenters on her site, as well as other blogs that I googled were about relationships between Indians and westerners. Although the information was useful and the stories great to hear, I also wanted something a little more. Eventually I was excited to start reading a blog made by a woman who married a Pakistani man because at least it was a bit of a different perspective, but I wasn’t  finding anything out there written about Nepal and households consisting of an American and a Nepali.

Yes, I know… Nepal’s culture is similar in many ways to certain cultural groups in India… and yes, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc, all fall under the South Asian umbrella, but I felt there was certainly room out there for an intercultural blog with a slightly different perspective.

So here I am. For better or for worse.

As a disclaimer (to paraphrase/steal a line from Gori Girl-I hope she doesn’t mind!): South Asia is a large place, with a number of different religions, ethnicities, and languages. I’ve had significant contact with several friends and families from certain types of backgrounds from specific regions (mostly Kathmandu and Chitwan area) of Nepal. But, generally, I have my own experiences with my network of Nepali friends and family, and these experiences might be totally different from yours. Hopefully, though, this will be a place where I can share my thoughts, and others can share theirs.

So let me be the first to officially welcome you to the launch of “Musings from an American-Nepali Household.”