a sabbatical rest, day 41
It is one thing to visit a new culture, and quite another to live there. With jet lag.
But we’re making progress. The basic things are shelter and food, of course. And the university found us an apartment, which I have described. I have had one meeting to meet the faculty and another about my workload and schedule. More about that later. Meanwhile, we have been walking around a lot, exploring the neighborhood and a little beyond, getting some sense of where we will buy our groceries, take our laundry, or go out for a meal now and then.
At the Bluebird Mart, a little supermarket about 500 yards from us, we can get most of the basics. Think things like milk, spices, toothpaste, oatmeal, cleaning supplies, meats (frozen), etc. And just a little beyond that, a small vegetable market. It is the kind of thing you would expect to be able to do in a city; little markets and shops all around.
We are about a mile and a half from Ason Bazaar, a large oriental market that serves as a distribution point for vegetable vendors across the city. We got there at about 9:30 one morning, but have been told if you want the best selection you have to be there by 6:00. We bought a papaya.
We are also about a mile and a half from Thamel, a maze of narrow streets with shops that cater to Westerners and other foreigners who come for trekking. It was mostly deserted, but we had lunch in a nice enclosed garden at Rosemary Kitchen. We found a place to have some laundry done, found a bakery with some gluten-free options, a book store with a large English section, and a therapeutic massage center staffed entirely by blind people. We had a good one-hour massage for about $17 each.
A couple of days ago we walked about two miles to Bhat Bhateni Supermarket, a department store with four levels including one for housewares and one for groceries. The selection was larger than our neighborhood store, but probably not worth the walk. Traffic is very heavy unless there is a strike, and sidewalks are uneven.
We are walking quite a bit and are committed to doing so. We’ve only taken a taxi once. One of Katie’s favorite things about our apartment is that it is on the sixth floor (seventh the way we count), and we can take the stairs. There is a working elevator, but it has fewer health benefits. My step average in January, before we came, was about 4000 steps and here it is about 9000. This is good for me.
We’ve cooked a few meals for ourselves, are rearranging the furniture, and setting up an office in the extra bedroom. Last night was the first night we didn’t wake up at 4 in the morning, so we’re getting past the jet lag.
Our apartment doesn’t feel homey yet. The walls are bare. Things haven’t all found their place. Our daily routine is still unclear. But we are picking up a few words every day and discovering new nuances of life in Nepal.
We are settling in. It takes time. And we have time.