Day 1, Pt.3: My Host Family

Trip Start May 20, 2008
Trip End Aug 19, 2008

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Where I stayed
Laxmi's House, Pepsikola

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Continuing on... The littlest brother, who calls me "brotterrr!!", worked on his English homework for a bit though his ADD hampered things, while the family's grandpa popped in and out to shout what I think were random Nepali jokes at us. I just giggled awkwardly since I had no idea what he was saying. A bit later I met Stan, a fellow college student volunteering who is living with the same family. We went off to rent a bootleg copy of "The Kite Runner" and watch it on the orphanage's TV, but it only took about five minutes before I completely passed out. Forty minutes later the neighborhood's electricity was cut off (no electricity at night) and we all abandoned ship.

8pm is family dinner time, so Stan & I returned to our house to eat with all seven family members. Apparently missing a family meal is a big taboo here. Every meal consists of "dal bhat," a platter of rice, lentil soup, and veggie curry any regular of the 23rd St Café should be intimately familiar with. Nobody uses utensils here, Stan had to coach me in the art of eating with my hands. I made a doofus of myself trying to do so and earned "Would you like a spoon (you silly spoiled American)?" offers from the mother and daughters. Refusing defeat, I turned them down. Having grown up with only my Mom or Dad but never both in the same room + no siblings, the whole "big nightly family dinner" thing was quite the cool new experience. After dal bhat whatsitcalled, we went up to the roof and listened to Stan play Neil Young in his guitar + harmonica (he plays the harmonica!) while staring at the stars with only candles as our lights. The sound of the harmonica gave me the first of what I assume will be many bouts of homesickness.

This is definitely going to be one of the hardest (psychologically speaking, at least) things I've ever done, no doubt... but wow. The people here are amongst the friendliest and most open I've ever met, the scenery (black-smoke belching psuedo-bus-van-things aside) is gorgeous, ... wow, just
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