The Living Here Project

by Dave on October 24, 2009

Our Home in Kopandol, KTM

Tending to the Daily Necessities

A few years ago,  work sent me and my family to New York during what was supposed to our vacation.  Thanks, Bill – it was the best thing you ever did. It was the trip inspired our temporary move to Kathmandu.

I have been on a couple of extended trips overseas, but I don’t enjoy the gypsy lifestyle for long. Paraphrasing the Chinese expression, it’s too much like viewing flowers from horseback – I hate feeling that I may have missed an opportunity to get to know a place better. I also hate packing every day.

So back to New York. Like any good adventure, things started out badly. I was on a project, and despite the best laid plans for a quiet vacation walking in the mountains, client meetings interfered. I could see the clouds on the horizon and, at first. I resisted. Three weeks before vacation, Bill, our account director, asked if I could attend meetings in New York during our vacation time.  I said a firm and (hopefully) polite “No” which he gracefully accepted. The next week, the request became a little more desperate, but I still refused.

Then, finally, the week before, we had a teleconference  with the client and when we  finished, I had that sick feeling in my stomach that told me that I needed to go.  Then it struck me  – Annalise and Robin had always wanted to go to New York.  So when Bill asked again,  I agreed – as long as no one complained too much about some additional expenses associated with, well, bringing my family along.  Always the gentleman, Bill agreed.  After a quick call to Aeroplan for some tickets to New York followed by a quick call to Habitat New York for a week long sublet apartment in Greenwich Village, we become temporary Manhattenites.

We didn’t just visit – we got to pretend that we lived there.  Like my New York colleagues, I went to work on the subway.  Like other Manhattan families, we hung out in the parks (they have the best playgrounds there), ate out way too much (kids are most welcome in the restaurants) and visited the local sights on the weekend. It was memorable trip that we like to love t talk about.

So as we planned our trip this winter, I asked Annalise and Robin if they consider simply being somewhere for awhile. Fortunately, they agreed, so now we live in Kathmandu (for a while anyways).  If you’ve seen the Twitter feed, you’ll know that I struggle with the mini-buses to get to “work”.  Annalise plays house-wife, visits new friends and does our shopping. Robin works away at Grade 8, keeps us from getting lost while we explore the city and scares the local school children with his bagpipes.  We eat out too much, dodge the chaotic traffic, hang out together during the black-outs and go to Hash House Harriers on the weekends (Annalise runs, Robin and I walk). It’s a pretty good life so far.

While we won’t see all the challenges ( or presumably, the rewards) that long term expatriates might, at least we’re here.  We’re sure to make some new friends, collect some new stories and learn more from another great city and its people.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Teghtmeyer October 25, 2009 at 1:14 am

Annalise, Dave and Robin

Got up to a light snowfall and decided it was time to catch up on your adventures on this lazy Sat. morning since it is too wet to hike and not enough snow to xcross yet. It sounds like you are adjusting to the new life wonderfully.
It is my plan now to check back weekly. I am not sure I would be as up for the complete emmersion.


Shirley Robertson October 25, 2009 at 9:21 am

Great story David. and i learned more about your New York trip than I did before. Does that mean you write better than ;you talk??? :)

Dave October 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Gosh – and I thought everyone got bored of my stories. Just wait until we get back to Canada with all of our trip photos (now numbering around 600 according to Flickr). That should be a 6-8 hour dinner party … (“And now, if you look at this picture …)

sims October 26, 2009 at 5:50 am

Awesome! I wish I had a job that allowed me to leave the mortgage and cats to move to Nepal.
Sounds like a great cultural adventure. Politically, Nepal is trying…slow going though, eh?
And tell your wife, On On!

LeeAnne November 1, 2009 at 12:46 pm

What a terrific experience. I am so glad that you are all enjoying this new adventure.

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