Expat Magazine

Nepali People Share Everything

By Hanna

The people of Nepal are known worldwide for their welcoming hospitable nature. This is something that is very true and no matter where you go in Nepal you will always feel at home. I believe that I have pinpointed the reason as to why this is – Nepalis share everything! 



If you are a guest in a Nepali’s house that is no problem, you do not even need to give them much warning. Just turn up. You do not even need to bring your own things; someone in the family will be ready to equip you with clothes, food and a bed to sleep in. Even if that means they themselves go without a bed for the night. The guests are treated like they live in the house and they will come to the house and cook for the rest of the family. The saying what is mine is yours is never truer than in a Nepali household.

But it does not stop there. Nepalis love to talk. Even more than that, they love to talk and share information. If  you were to have a family secret, it would not stay a secret for long. Everyone is considered family so whatever it was that you were wanting to hide will quickly be spreading across Nepal. Since my arrival in Nepal the news has already spread across the country and even across the sea to different continents entirely. In fact, even when I was ill I was reluctant to share that information with my MiL and FiL but soon every guest that came to the house found out that I was ill and exactly what was wrong with me, which hospitals I went to and what medicine I was taking. There really is nothing you can hide from Nepalis.

Whilst I was in the hospital a lady stopped to talk to M and my MiL about my illness. M has just put a plaster on my arm from where I had had bloods taken but I wasn’t too happy about the plaster. The lady, still jovially chatting away, picked up my arm and peeled off the freshly applied plaster and then walked off with it! My MiL later explained that she was a health worker nearby but at the time I had no idea who was picking the plaster off me. I just could not stop laughing at the absurdity of the situation.

Further, Nepalis love to share their opinion – even when it is not asked for. South Asian people generally have a bit of a reputation for talking frankly and of course Nepalis are no exception. If you have put on a few pounds over Christmas then they will not let you forget it. Since being in a LDR, M managed to put on weight and at any given minute his belly is always the topic of choice. I am glad that I remain unscathed as of yet as I do not have such thick skin as M to let their comments fly over my head!

This compares greatly to us English; we are very private people. We are people of mystery in comparison to our fellow Nepalis. I have been in countless situations where I have felt completely alienated, overwhelmed and amazed by Nepali people and Nepali life and it has only been just over two weeks that I have been here! Nepali people are very loving and kind – they think they are helping and boy do they love to help. They do not mean to offend it is just a difference in culture.

Because of this, I am missing the camouflage and concealment that London offers; it is a big city with many people and you are only a small fish in a big pond. Yet, In Nepal, many people know about me and want to meet me. I cannot go down the street without people smiling, staring, waving and talking to me. In comparison, on some days in London I managed to go without talking to anyone.  I am used to people recoiling in horror if somone tries to talk on the tube. In the same way, if you start telling someone they have put on weight and looking fat these days they might not stay your friend for much longer.

These are all things I will get used to in time. But until then I will continue being bewildered about what is quite going on or why people are getting involved. Who knows, maybe even one day in the near future I will be so comfortable in this culture that I will be able to gladly smile and politely respond when someone comments on my weight!

Have you had any experiences like this in your relationship? If so, how have you managed to put your own cultural norms aside (and resisted the urge to strangle the next person who calls you fat)?

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