It’s been another long hiatus here, but it’s mostly been due to a month busy with teaching and not much exploration. However, one significant thing has happened — I moved out of my place in Patan to a new apartment in a new neighborhood called Jhamsikhel.
So this apartment is actually the place where one of my old roommates lives. He invited me to move into a spare room but I, a little unwilling to leave a place like Patan, wasn’t interested in moving. But the possibility remained in the back of my mind, never pressing enough to make me seriously consider leaving.
And then a few days ago, I was sitting in traffic on my street — the absolute shitshow that is Mangalbazar. After moving something like 20 meters in 40 minutes, I decided it was time to leave. As soon as I got home, I texted my friend to save the room for me, and then texted my landlord to tell him I was leaving. Three days later, I was once again trekking through Patan with my backpack and duffel, further encumbered by a slew of instruments I’ve inadvertently come to look after.
The New Place
It’s my second day in the new place, and it’s working for me. I’m pretty bummed to be leaving Patan after nearly six months, but after getting to avoid Mangalbazar and a 7,000 NRS decrease in rent (about 60 USD), I’ve become okay with it very quickly.
So without further ado, here’s some photos of my favorite place in any Kathmandu apartment: the roof (and the weird bus stand over the stairs).
It only took a few hours to get settled in, and once ready, my tenure here was kicked off with friends and instruments on the roof for a few hours. My melancholy over leaving Patan is weaning off, especially since living in Jhamsikhel is so much easier. I needed to find a power strip since the electricity situation is dubious at best, and it took all of 15 minutes. After six months removed from the US, I’ve forgotten how nice it is to have convenience. It’s a distinctly more urban environment from Patan, and despite being no more than 2 kilometers from my old place, I may as well be in another world.
Still, newfound convenience aside, leaving Patan has also been something of a preview for leaving Kathmandu and Nepal. Teaching on a tourist visa in Nepal means a maximum of ten consecutive months if you time your arrival right — 5 months prior to the new year. They limit tourist visas to 5 months per calendar year, so arriving in August is the window for maximizing the visa time. I didn’t know about that rule before coming and incorrectly assumed I could make visa runs and stay indefinitely. So when I arrived in September, I found out that staying a year was not possible. Nine months was the maximum.
As a result, I’ve been very aware of how little time I’m actually spending here and of how fast that time is moving. I’m committed to leaving Nepal on May 15th, which means there’s less than three months for me here. During the winter, I didn’t really mind the shortness of time. When I was going to bed every night in sweatpants, two fleeces, and a wool hat and muttering to myself, “this is bullshit” as I shivered in my uninsulated and nearly open-air apartment, a short time in Kathmandu didn’t sound so bad. But now that I’ve packed up and left my first apartment here, I feel like I’m leaving Nepal despite three more months remaining. And with the winter fading away and giving rise to weather that doesn’t put me in a foul mood, I’m rethinking the impressions I have of this place.
No doubt, my departure from Nepal is going to feel far too soon, and the ratio of bitter to sweet will be very unbalanced. But in the meantime, I’ve got things to do here and I intend to do some heavy exploring before my time in Nepal is up.
And whenever I feel down, I’ll have this freakass doll the previous tenant left hanging over my bed to keep me company and to keep me up at night.
Special Pick of the Day: The Debut of My Brother’s Band