Expat Magazine

Am I Ready To Move To Nepal Forever?

By Hanna

One of the main reasons why I chose to spend the whole summer in Nepal with M’s family is because of this question. I have been faced with an ultimatum ever since I met M, that is, if I want to be with him for the rest of my life I will need to live the rest of my life with him and his family in Nepal.

This has meant many things have been riding on my stay in Nepal. Not just whether I like the country, but also how I get on with his family, his extended family, the food, the culture, the language, the environment and many other significant things. But more concerning is how these things feel toward me, especially how his family will feel about me. So far, the food does not really like me; I have an unrequited love for Nepal’s food that ends in me becoming ill – I am on a record of three times in four weeks now. Yet, the environment loves me; The sun loves my milky skin so much that it wraps its rays around me leaving any exposed skin a flaming crimson instead. In competition with the sun are the mosquitoes, every day I find new itchy red bumps forming on my skin. No matter if I sleep under a mosquito net, use tropical repellent, use a fan or just simply cover my skin they will find a way to feed off me. I have been bitten on the soles of my feet, the inside of my hands and my face – they have a vendetta and will always find a way.

With these small physical annoyances aside there lies more confusion regarding my decision. As I always knew I would have to make this decision it has not really fazed me. I seem to be moving around matters in a robotic rehearsed fashion, making decisions without any emotional input. You see, there is more to that question than meets the eye. Nepal is a great place to live as an expat with an expat family. Similarly, Nepal offers a lot of freedom and luxury if you have the money and the connections with people. With this in mind, of course I could live in Nepal. Give me an empty house and I would have my things shipped over tomorrow. I would take enjoyment from kitting the house with all my chosen electrical appliances and decorating the interior like the inside of my dream home.

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Alas, this will never be the case. I will not necessarily have a house of my own that I can decorate and take pride in. It will always have to be a Nepali house and have a Nepali way of doing things. This is the main dispute I have been having with myself. The question is no longer can I see myself living in Nepal forever but can I see myself living as a Nepali forever? And to that, I am just not sure.

I am a very homely person and I take extreme pride in looking after people and making a nice home for them. In Nepal though I cannot do this which leaves me constantly feeling undermined. If I would like to make tea for the family, it is not the right taste that they prefer. When I make the bed in the morning, by the end of the day the sheet is too creased as people have been sitting on it. The way I wash my clothes by hand is not the right way. I am not able to move around the house freely in the morning and dinner time as I am not allowed to the kitchen or at other times around the house if there are guests. All the things I pride myself in doing are not good enough it feels. It makes me feel incredibly inferior that I cannot even make tea – something that I do more than a daily basis in England. I should add hear as well that it is not actually my in laws but M that makes me feel this way with his critiques and constant improvements.

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The more I hear friends and family encouraging me to change the way I do things or telling me to be more Nepali, the more I back away and reject the idea of Nepal. I have never said to M that he should be ‘more English’ or come to live in England for the rest of his life. I have always been relaxed and allowed him to be who he is. Is it not enough for me to live in Nepal or in fact are they after a Nepali instead – something I can never be. I enjoy making tea my way, making the bed my way, washing clothes my way, caring for people my way. Why should I give up all the things and ways I have grown up with – is leaving my country not enough?

At the minute I like being in Nepal. I do not work and my life is relaxed from not being involved with cooking or house work. But this will not be my life forever. How will it be in the future or after I am married? Will I feel more at home and in charge of my own house or will I always feel on edge and inferior? How will I feel when M is out working and bringing multiple guests to the house or when he comes back home and spends time with his family individually when I just want to see him and ask him about his day. At the minute I am taking these situations on the chin but I do not know how I will feel about this forever. My FiL leaves the house early in the morning and returns from work at 9.30/10pm, eats and then goes to bed. He has guests coming to the house before 7am some mornings and if not then his phone is constantly ringing from people wanting to speak to him. This is the life that M wants and how will I feel about living in Nepal then?

I have many internal questions that are still left unanswered. Also, many situations and emotions constantly arising which contribute more to my answer. I hope that it will become clearer as time passes. But I worry when M comes back to England then I will love the independence, freedom and privacy and get too used to life before having to come back to Nepal for it all to change again.

  • Can I live in Nepal? – yes.
  • Can I live in Nepal as a Nepali?  - no.
  • How do I live in Nepal as an English wife with a Nepali family? – I have absolutely no idea.

Until then I will just have to find a compromise whilst keeping everyone happy.

Readers, how did you manage to find a balance in your relationship – especially when moving to your partner’s home country? Did you ever got through a stage of resentment or feeling inadequate – if so how did you change that? I would love to hear your experiences! 

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