Mero agaadi post Nepalimaa. (My first Nepali post)

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Uninterrupted post:

Maph garnus, ma Nepalimaa “post” bhanna audaina. Taipani, ma kosis garna mero eka nambara garnu. Paraghaun, parasata ma patyaunchhu yo garchhu. may dara lagyo. Kina? Ma kunni. ma galata dara lagyo holaa chhu. Yo, ma balla-balla garchhu. Akhira, ma chutauna. Ma thakaai lagyo. maile tapaiinlai sahii garnus.

 

My attempt at self-translation:

Maph garnus, ma Nepalimaa “post” bhanna audaina.(Forgive me, I do not know how to say “post” in Nepali.) Taipani (however), ma kosis garna (I will try) mero eka nambara garnu (to do my best). Paraghaun (after two years), prasasta (enough) ma patyaunchhu (I am confident) yo garchhu ( to do this. )

Ma dara lagyo (I am scared). Kina?(why) Ma kunni. I do not know why.) Ma galata dara lagyo holaa chhu. (it is probably because I am scared to be wrong) Yo, ma balla balla garchhu.(I do this with great difficulty). Akhira (finally), ma chutauna (I give up). Ma thakaai lagyo. (I am tired) Maile tapaiinlai sahii garnus. (Will you please correct me?)

What I meant to say:
Forgive me, I do not know how to say “post” in Nepali. However, I will try to do my best. After two years, I am confident enough to do this. I am scared though. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it is because I am afraid to be wrong. It is very hard to write all this. Finally, I give up.  I am tired. Will you all please correct me?

Maybe its holaa, Maybe its kunni.

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Finally, a new search term for a Nepali word that I haven’t already addressed. (Don’t worry all you, “How do I say ‘sweet’ in Nepali?” people, you aren’t alone!) So here we go, to address, “maybe.”

The first source I checked. leaves me with finite verb+holaa as the way to say maybe. I do not know what I finite verb is and trying to understand definitions of a finite verb do not offer much certainty. A root of a verb in whatever tense it should be? Here’s a link if you would like to understand what a finite verb is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite_verb

Anyway the sentence that was given as an example of “maybe” is this, “Bhaat paakyo ki paakena?” asking “Is the food ready?” and the reply, “Paakyo holaa.” meaning, “maybe it is,” or more appropriately, “probably it is.” The difference between probably and maybe get sort of confusing here, I suspect, they are relatively based on inflection and not just in the words. 
Another word I found is “kunni” which can be used as maybe, but more directly translates to, “who knows? I don’t know, or no idea.” And is more or less an indirect way to answer a question one doesn’t want to be bothered answering. This reminds me of the English phrase, “I guess so.”

Heartache for Kathmandu

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Homesick for a place I’ve never been. It is a very strange feeling to feel called home to a city that has never been my home. I’ve never looked at its streets, I’ve never smelled its air, I’ve never heard its sounds. And yet, somehow, I can sit here in my living room, close my eyes, and hear the cars, voices, and rumbling of some music somewhere. How clear, the smell of earth, spices, smoke and something familiar I can’t quite place, like the smell of my first elementary school…I can feel the ringing of bells in me better than I can hear them and the sound of all the chatter sounds like an upbeat song, lifting my spirits. I can see it so clearly and just as soon as I glimpse my street, it all goes out of focus as if my glasses have fallen.

The vision is there, its becoming more vivid every day. Each morning as I walk my daughter to the bus and we pass the Buddhist monastery on our way, I turn the prayer wheels. One by one in the row, they get started. With the first touch of each one, I can hear bells chiming in my soul, they turn so effortlessly, as if they have been longing for a finger to come and just barely set them to a spin. I walk around the large dome surrounded by wheels and take my last step down to the final row along the path.
When I get to the end, a part of me longs to stay, to go inside, to remain in the presence of the homelike warmth that surrounds these moments of my day. I feel as though there is a bubble here, one that brings Kathmandu to me. For a moments each day, I am home with these spinning prayers.
I accept that my life is heading ahead without me and that if I tarry too long, I’ll miss the bus. Then, upon leaving with a smile, I wonder how I can feel so strongly about this place, Kathmandu, this country Nepal. With Shiva far away, and no solid reason to continue the fascination  my heart won’t let go. What is there that my soul is pulling me to? What is the whisper in the wind, begging me to fly to a city where I have no family or ties?

Is it an itch because so many people I know are in, heading to, or just returned from Kathmandu?

Is that  in many places I’m stumbling across Nepal as a topic of conversation and I can’t help but feel my heartstrings tugged at the mention of the word.
I’m reminded of the feeling I had for the city I live in now. The magical sound that embraced its name long before I thought to live here. And somehow, before I came to visit, I knew this was my home after college. I came, I saw, I vowed to return. My current city tugged me 3000 miles and its heartstrings were much softer and quieter than the ones singing the praises of Kathmandu. These heartstrings bear more weight, and pull with much more force, the song is louder and the lyrics are becoming clear, that 3000 miles was only part of the way home.

Narcissism, poor self esteem, and when being unwilling to take Shiva’s drama makes me think I’m the narcissist.

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Thank you Google function “define:”
Narcissist: someone in love with themselves.

wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwnIts not really so simple. Of course many of us are familiar with Narcissus; the god that stared at himself in the water until he fell in and drowned. There is that surface definition of Narcissus where he was so in love with himself that he couldn’t look away, but the more I learn about narcissism  the more I believe that Narcissus was staring at his reflection obsessed with his flaws and not his beauty.

My grandmother once told me, ‘when a man tells you he loves you and then he starts telling you what’s wrong with him, listen, because he’s probably right.” I used to ignore my grandmother, but after the horrible divorce with my first husband, I have to admit, she was probably more right than I wanted her to be. Shiva did tell me a number of times that he didn’t deserve my love, because, he’s a narcissist. I didn’t listen. Now, my grandmother really likes Shiva. In fact, she pretty much adopted him against his wishes and would do anything for him. She advocates for some modern arranged marriage where we live in a threesome type situation forever so that everyone is happy. In her eyes, Shiva’s parents are satisfied because they picked a bride, I’m satisfied because I’m with Shiva and have a live in sister wife to share all love and sadness with, Shiva is happy because he’s pretty much a young Hugh Hefner in this imaginary scenario and she’s happy because there is finally a balance achieved for a work/child rearing balance called split the labor force among the additional family members. If only things were this easy? Yes the question mark is there on purpose. This scenario sounds like a nightmare.  
Instead, what I have is a collection of broken relationship pieces dragging out a long and painful death. I have my own sadness, pining over Shiva like a puppy misses its master, like a newborn cries for the breast, an aching sense that what I need is out of reach and it may never return to me. I have Shiva’s load of bollocks that range from “I love you and my heart knows that I should be with you” to “we are just friends” (and these aren’t even two separate phone calls). I have my friends telling me that Shiva needs to “sh*t or get off the pot”, and if there is a Nepali saying for this, I’d love to hear it. Basically, he’s being the hooker from Season 5 Episode 16 of How I Met Your Mother where everyone is trailing on the hook of someone else trailing on the hook of someone else and it just keeps going in a horrible repetitive cycle of despair. The only right thing to do in this situation is to tell the hooked or the hooker, “Its over, I’m never going to be with you, ever, at all, never.”I told Shiva all this, he watched the episode I was talking about and went on about how sorry he is that he’s been so selfish lately.
SORRY! Don’t be sorry! Sorry implies that maybe you have see the error or your ways and intend to somehow modify your behavior to ensure that you no longer repeat the same errors out of habit and ease. But what we have here, is habitual apologies. Another post at another time should be why I don’t force my kid to say sorry when she screws up, but only when she genuinely feels sorry for what she’s done.

Shiva will go weeks without talking to me after these episodes, attempting to set me free so I can find someone else, refusing to believe that I really am waiting for him to come home. He’ll tell me how unworthy he is, that I deserve better, then as if dedicated to the self-fulfilling prophecy, he tells me about all the girls he’s met since moving, about the ones he went clubbing with, the one that drove him home, the one that slept in his bed, but actually slept, not the other thing people mean when they say “sleep together”. And I’m expected to be supportive, loving, happy for his path to self understanding. And when he tells me that he realizes that he hates the “bachelor” lifestyle and is ready to settle down, but it cant be with me because I already have a child.

News flash! I’ve had a child the last 2.5 years we’ve been together. In fact, my child’s teachers are advising me on how to co-parent with Shiva since he is the prominent male role model that my daughter talks and cries about frequently at school. My family has seen it, my daughter has seen it, why can’t Shiva see it, that he has a family here? He says its because he has to focus on his school, his career, his life. And I am supposed to stand by and support that for him. I don’t have any problem being supportive, I love supporting Shiva. I love that when he calls we talk for hours. I love that he’ll tell me what he’s buying at the grocery store just so that I can hear his voice a few more minutes. I love that when he’s got a major presentation due in two days, he emails me a copy of the .ppt and we go over the whole thing while he narrates and tells me when to press enter. I love giving him positive feedback and getting the text later that he nailed it. I even love putting up with him when he’s in a bad mood and bitching me out because he is hungry. What I don’t love is when I need to share what’s going on in my life, he says, “I don’t have time for that, I don’t have the energy for that.” He used to listen to me over everything and I did monopolize a lot of his time during the custody battles with my ex husband. He did spend money to fly out to see me just a month before he flew out to drive across the country with me for the move. He’s done a lot and nobody is really keeping track of who did more when, but these days, the answer is always, “I can’t.”

A free ticket to come visit on winter break and he says, “I can’t”. A shipment of wellness tea for him, drink it? He says, “I can’t”. The picture I just texted him with some inspirational quote by Rumi, read it? He can’t. And why not? He says because he doesn’t want to give me hope that things are going to work out for us. He says that he needs me to know that our relationship is over. Until he calls to talk for 2 hours about why he’s upset, when he needs support. And I can’t. When I don’t give in, when I refuse to be a part of the cycle any longer, I’m the one being unsupportive. When I don’t have any more energy to hear about school because I’m trying to figure out how to earn money during my holiday furlough to cover all my expenses, I’m being the selfish one.

I’ve come to realize that it isn’t the Narcissism we have always thought of. Shiva isn’t in love with himself. He isn’t self obsessed because he wants to be. He’s reaching out. He is scared about his grades, scared about what’s going to happen when school runs out. He’s scared about his long term love life, for whatever reason he’s not with his love but he wants to be. He doesn’t think he deserves the person he loves and that speaks volumes about how he sees himself. Undeserving, unworthy, pathetic, sorry. And that’s why I hear “I’m sorry’s” whenever I bother to answer the phone. I do love him, I do long for the moment when we are together again. I feel sure that all of this sadness could just be put away if we’d stop denying each other our love. But I just can’t keep dedicating 115 minutes a day to Shiva while he’ll reluctantly donate 5 minutes a day to me. “Whatever happened to unconditional love?” I suppose it drowned with Narcissus and the view that he did so truly love himself. All I see in Shiva is over scrutiny of his tiny flaws, which turns them into massive ones. And I do love myself, I don’t want to spend my time feeling sad over my loss, but is it the love for myself that leads to the loss of my love?

Am I so focused on what I can and can’t do, that I have become the reflection I can’t stand to see? We are all mirrors of each other and our soulmate, the mirror upon which we can’t take away our gaze. The person who reflects everything we ever hope to be and everything we hate to be, the truest reflection necessary for growth. Is he the narcissist or am I? We both are, because we both are the reflections the other’s gaze is trapped in.

Hello, My Friend! (Nepali edition)

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I’ve been encountering some writer’s block lately. I log on, thinking I’ve got something to write about, and then it just sounds like nothing, so I delete it and move on. Lately, even the Google searches leading readers here have been of no use. Today, I was glad to see a post I could actually address. How to write “Hello, my friend” in Nepali.
The user already knew how to translate this sentence into “Namaste, mero saathi.” (though, they spelled this phrase differently.) Anyway, its easy enough to offer a Devanagari script version: नमस्ते मेरो साथि This is very formal language for a friend. If you are speaking with someone you are very close with, may I suggest, के छ? Or Ke Cha, which pretty much means, What’s up?

Because we have pure minds.

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That is the line that sticks with me from this experience. It is no news that I believe we all have a destiny and that we all choose how to live it out. Like those electrons in experiments in labs, all a cloud of potential, but only finding one place to be. And that is how we came to be where we were a few days ago.
Shiva has been sensitive about maintaining distance between his family and I for some time. Even after introducing us, he still aims to maintain this distance. And so, we have. One curious exception is in the case of Shiva’s sister. We often run into each other. We haven’t had much time to talk, as we usually attempt to observe respect for Shiva’s limits, but I feel closely connected to her.
Upon our last meeting, she said that because Shiva had requested that we refuse all contact with each other that she could no longer communicate with me. There was one caveat to this…unless the universe intervenes again.
It was bound to happen, I suppose. It would seem that living in a large metropolitan area of more than half a million people, I would find it strange to run into the same person over and over. Yet, here we were, standing on the same station platform and meeting eyes. We boarded the same bus, heading for the same stop. Both equally stunned by the synchronicity  we just enjoyed the opportunity granted to us to catch up on each other’s lives. And as we were talking, we were even more shocked to discover another close friend of Shiva’s riding in the seat across from us. She isn’t just a close friend, she’s practically family, having known Shiva’s parents since before he was born and being with his parents when news reached them of our relationship. She was also heading to the same part of town.
I still have not figured out the meaning of the coincidence, if not only to reintroduce us to each other. We don’t always understand why the universe does things. However, I like to believe as Shiva’s sister does, that its “because we have pure minds.”

I gots South Asian creds, yo!

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Alright, so some of my southern ghetto speak may have snuck into this post, whatcha lookin’ at? (BTW: Shiva says when I say, whatcha, I actually get a properly Nepali “cha” past my lips) I digress, I found myself earning some benefits to my South Asian connection this weekend. A couple months ago I went to get my eyebrows threaded and was eavesdropping on the girls in the salon. It was hard to follow, but I picked out a few words that sounded a lot like Timi and Chup laga. ‘Tapaii Nepali bhaana? I ventured, fearful that I’d made a mistake in phrasing. The two girls stopped and looked at me quizically…”What?” the girl holding floss asked me. “Oh, I’m just learning, I stuttered, I thought I heard some Nepali words and…I’m sorry.”
“We speak Urdu,” said the girl behind the counter. She was short and I couldn’t tell if she was simply correcting me or offended. “I’m sorry.” I offered, “I’m really trying to learn Nepali. I do know one Urdu song though.”
“What Urdu song?” asks the threader in a threatening tone of disbelief.
“Lodi. Its in one of my favorite Bollywood movies…Veer Zara.” I still feel like I’m being interrogated and am required to submit extra proof of my transgressions.
“Why are you learning Nepali?” She asks.
“Well, my boyfriend…I’ve been learning for about two years…”
“Your daughter? Do you teach her?” The lady behind the counter asks.
“Yes, well, I try. Her Nepali is probably better than mine.” I say.
“Well, we are pretty close in language,” says the threader, “you can practice with us.”
The rest of the time went on with listening to them talk and me trying to guess words. At the end of the threading when I went to pay, the girl behind the counter said, “I’ll make you a deal.” and she spells out a deal that I prepay and basically cut about $6 off each of the next visits for 6 months. I agree, pay her, and find myself filling my name into a composition notebook and being told that next time I come, I’ll be covered. I leave and feel pretty thrilled about the discount, although I didn’t really know at the time that it was because of my South Asian link…
Skip to this weekend when I went back. When I arrive, I follow the directions I was given previously to mention at the start that I am in the notebook. The girl at the counter stares and me and says, “there is no, notebook.”

I feel myself turning red. I’m wondering if last time was a joke I didn’t get, or if I’m being lied to now, or if I’m just really confused. “Well, the girl, last time, I paid her up front and she said I was covered for six months.”
“We don’t do that.” the counter girl informed me.
“But, I protest, I even paid with a credit card, I mean, there is a record.” I am feeling a little panicked, what did I pay for…?
I keep protesting with the girl and trying to explain when all of a sudden the girl who took my payment comes running from behind the wall shouting at the counter girl. She pauses and looks at me deeply. “She says, you are the white girl that is learning Nepali.” As if there is only one, at all, ever, in the whole world. If possible, my face is now redder. I sort of scratchily squeek, “Yes.”
“I don’t believe it.” she explains, “say something.”
Something? Something? I know a lot of somethings, which something? And suddenly, my mind is empty…”Tapaiin lai kushee lagyo” what I said to Shiva’s parents when meeting them enters my thoughts…no, not that. Keep thinking. The girl puts her hand on her hip and is obviously annoyed with me. I look at the other one who nods her head as if to say, “Go on.” Why can’t I think? Where did all those days and nights of Nepali practice go?
“Ma Nepali seekdaichhu.” I blurt out. For a moment, I’m not even sure if what I said is Nepali, let alone a sentence. I find myself wondering if seekdaichhu really does mean learning…did I remember something accurately? And the girls start cracking up.
I smile, apparently, it wasn’t that bad. I’m feeling more secure that I didn’t make a mistake. And they can hardly hold themselves. They are speaking to each other in Urdu again and laughing so hard that the rest of the salon that wasn’t already staring is now really focused on us.
Why isn’t this over yet? My face is burning with embarrassment and these girls are laughing at me, and the salon is staring…oh, why, why did I sign up for the notebook plan? Finally, the girl who came to my rescue says, “I told her so, have a seat.” They finish my eyebrows and pull out the composition book at the end, find my name and say its all sorted out. The skeptical girl says, “Next time, just tell us you are the one learning Nepali.”
I leave, pretty sure that I’m now known as “the white girl learning Nepali” to the set of Urdu speaking girls the the threading salon. And so, this is how I earned my first set of South Asian creds.

“You are my life” but I don’t know if it means what it says.

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This post is in response to yet another Google user searching for a Nepali translation and landed themselves here at my blog. Days like this leave me shaking my head in disbelief and saying to the Universe, how is it that part of my life now involves trying to translate things into Nepali for complete strangers…no matter, THANK YOU UNIVERSE, that this is indeed part of my life.
I digress, because the verb “to be” is so difficult to figure out, I’ll give you readers a few ways to say this. One way would be to say, “Timi mero zindagi ho.” This exactly means, “you, my life, are.” I use Timi form and ho form here. Although, I am assuming that if you are telling someone they are your life, you are comfortable enough with them to use the informal peer, Timi form. Ho is used to mean that the state is permanent, again assuming that this phrase of endearment would not be slapped on someone with the “cha” form as “cha” implies a temporary state. If for some reason you are trying to say this to a person you are less than familiar with, you could say, “Tapaii mero zindagi hunuhuncha.
This is a very exact way of saying this and I feel like in Nepali it would be awkward to word something in this way. I wonder if the use of Malai or Timle is better. I am unfortunately terrible at using these words and frequently get them backwards. I think that you could say, Timle mero zindagi ho, but still think that all of these methods really don’t do the phrase justice.
The implication of the phrase, “you are my life” is to say that without you, my life is nothing. That sends with the message many connotations that life is meaningless in your absence, or without you I am incomplete. I believe that these phrases may better translate to the romantic gesture the reader is attempting to make.
For example, “without you, I am incomplete” may be Ma timi na sanga, maile adha hun. but then again, maybe I’m wrong about the maile part.
At this point, I fear confusing the readers any more than I already have so I’m calling it quits for the night. Nepali speakers, chime in. Otherwise, hope this answers your question Google searcher.

The word matra.

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This post is in response to a google search that brought someone looking for the word Matra. I believe this word means source lists matra as the word for “only”. Another use of the word is matrai, but I don’t fully understand the difference between the two. 

Pharkaunu

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Pharkaunu translates as to return or to come back. I suppose that is a fitting title for my returning post. I’ve been absent for a couple of months, mostly because of a dose of heartbreak and the simultaneous injection of extra work that came around the same time.

First of all, Shiva has taken off back East. I suppose I should be glad that when I say East, I’m referring to the Eastern coast of the US and not all the way back to Nepal, but really I’m just bummed that he’s gone. He got a scholarship deal he couldn’t pass up and in less than a month of telling me about it, he packed up all but the two boxes still at my place and jumped on a one way plane flight. Plenty of tears, him, my daughter, me…its been hard. We talk most every day for hours at a time and still support each other emotionally, but there is something about going to sleep every night far away from your love that is painful.
My little one is very upset. She spends much of her time lamenting Shiva’s absence and the new default cry for when she isn’t getting her way is “I want Shiva back.” Thankfully, he is respecting his roll in her life to the greatest degree he ever has. When he calls and she wants to talk he has meaningful loving conversations with her. When she is sobbing for him and refuses to eat or even get off the floor, he takes the call and calms her down and explains that he still loves her, but that he has to go to school. For some reason, she just needs to hear this from him. I couldn’t be any happier that he’s owning up to fulfilling the emotional needs she has developed for him.
At first I was really mad at him and slowly that anger turned to the sense of emptiness that I now feel. If I knew he was coming back, the pain would be less, but he promises never to return. He says he hated it here and is so glad he left. I’m not sure if its the optimist in me or the idiot that sits back and says, “he’s fickle, he’ll change his mind.” Maybe its both.
And as though the Universe was aware that this situation was going to be taxing, it felt necessary to throw on to me the additional work load that doubled the number of hours I spend working each week. Perhaps this is a gift in covering for the loss of Shiva’s financial support or maybe its a way for us all to take our mind off the pain. But it feels like just another test, another way for the Universe to remind me that I am capable of more than I want to be. A test to remind me that there are those things out of my control and that acceptance is the only path to peace. Perhaps its the anchor tying me down enough that I can’t follow Shiva across the country again because the Universe knows that isn’t the right path for me.
All I know is that for a few moments since August, I can breathe and welcome my return to normalcy.