The Sound of Screeching Brakes


car wallWe’re midway through June and this is just my second post this month.  Suddenly, after months of regular blogging, I am struggling to put finger to key and tell stories ….and there’s a reason.

It’s not like there’s nothing going on. Our son is here, we’ve been on trips, picnics and all kinds of work-related travel. I have stories from the farm and mountains.  Life is good.  But somehow I can’t bring myself to put any of them out. I’ve discovered that with blogging I get caught in some kind of road block of my own invention and its not “writers block” but something quite different. Its more like hitting a wall, where the wall is the reality that my blog no longer gives a balanced representation of what’s going on in my life, and only showing pictures of adventures with elephants no longer cuts it.  The larger  social issues I see daily feel too enormous to cover in my little blog, so I leave them untouched like the 2 ton elephant in the room (pun reference intended.)

I have reached a point in our time here in Nepal where things are no longer new. I’ve discovered the basics and I know enough about life here to know how much I don’t know on a deeper level. I’ve been here 10 months straight and I’m ready for a break. I’m tired of the overwhelming, endless social problems, worsening pollution, incessant noise, honking of car horns, and just the lack of basic sanitation.

I have mediocrity fatigue.  I want something to work without coercion.  I’m tired of apologizing for my own elevated living conditions and concentrating on being grateful for what I have compared to most everyone else here, where this is all  normal.   This isn’t normal for me.  Toilets here stink, there’s dog shit everywhere, and I’m sick of the garbage.  I can’t walk the streets without fear of twisting my ankle, being run over, or treading in something nasty.   I just need to feel my own exhaustion at the mayhem, take advantage of the fact that I can recharge, and admit that sometimes all of this just drives me nuts.  There….. I said it.  And now it feels more honest to move on to the things that are beautiful and special here – and there are many.  Roadblock removed….at least for now.

8 thoughts on “The Sound of Screeching Brakes

    • Thanks Terri. I think the reason that it took me so long is that I’m self-trained to focus on the positive, step over the garbage, and work hard to understand why things are they way they are. And as an expat here its also so easy to feel guilty about complaining, or be self conscious about offending Nepali readers. But the truth is that you can’t continually ignore the bad smell…literally and figuratively! You have a great blog by the way. Hoping to go over and look in more detail later.

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  1. A profound post Caroline, I too “get it”. Month 4 when I was 19 on Semester at Sea and we arrived in Malaysia, I too hit a wall and just wanted to see one clean city street and no starving pups. Thinking of you guys often, as I am almost 11 months out from coming to see you (which means I can finally book a ticket!) Appreciated your poignant post. Food for thought over here in Paradise where well fed clean kept kids complain about not getting a bigger school loan from the government…

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    • Hi Susie. Glad to see I didn’t put you off visiting! I think you will be really shocked to see how different Kathmandu is to the city you remember…but the beautiful mountains and countryside are still here. See you in 11 months ;o)

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  2. Wow Caroline, you said it with style. I related to everything you wrote.and I hate the dog shit and garbage strewn around the lanes here too. A few days ago some b—— dumped a large plastic sack of garbage in the lane outside and the street dogs have opened it and it’s all over the place now. I’m dreaming of Bournemouth.

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    • Hi Dai. Part of my work is to focus on the environment and I have met great groups like Clean Up Nepal and Hamri Bahini who are relentlessly fighting garbage issues here. The Bagmati River project continues to see results and groups keep showing up every Saturday to make that happen. But as we know its not enough and ke garne still prevails. I’m ready to lecture every young person I see throw their garbage on the ground. That’s why I need a break! How long til you head back to the UK?

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      • I cringe every time I see the people discarding the wrappings in the lane outside. I used to burn all the garbage every morning and clean up our lane myself but as more houses were built here and more and more garbage was thrown, I eventually gave up. We have a garbage collection service here twice a month I think but it’s so unreliable and they haven’t been for a while. We recycle everything we possibly can here and return all bio stuff to the land outside. It’s so sad to see the people destroying their own environment. I’ve been searching for a cheapish ticket to London but I may have left it too late and the high season fares are here. I don’t want to fly through Delhi because of missing baggage problems and I don’t want flights which arrive at Heathrow too late for me to travel down to Bournemouth the same day. Qatar Airways have plenty of seats on the flight which lands at 10 pm in Heathrow but all other inexpensive seats are sold. I will keep searching, Caroline. I wish the monsoon would get here. We are hot here.

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