A Few More Cultural Differences

“Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.”

India and Nepal are very similar. Many of the differences I have previously pointed out – eating with your hands, squatting, no personal space, burping and spitting… – are the same in Nepal. Here are a few more (that apply to India as well) to add to the growing list.

-Girls here don’t shave. I have had multiple ladies find my razor while going through my bags (yup, they do that in Nepal too) and ask what it is for. I have also had a few girls exclaim, “wow, white people don’t grow hair,” when they see my legs. Yes in fact we do, we just like to shave it off.

-Like the razor, people are confused when they find my deodorant as they apparently don’t wear any. One girl even opened it up, saw it was white, then tried to put it on her face since she thought the white powder would make her skin white like mine.

-Children here go to school six days a week. In India Sunday was the holiday, but here in Nepal, they have Saturday off. Only one day weekends, how awful! Mind you, the children start very late, at ten everyday, and still get out by three.

-Most people here don’t know where Canada is. Or even what the contents are. Ok, that is a bit of a broad statement, obviously there are at least a few people in Nepal who do, but I would say 99% of the people I have met didn’t know that Canada borders the USA.

-Bus stops. Who needs a bus stop when you can just jump on whenever? One of the greatest things about transportation (same in South America) is that you can hop on or off whenever! You can also carry whatever you want onto the bus. I have seen llamas get into the luggage space, as well as boxes of chickens and motorcycles that ride on the roof.

-There is absolutely no display of public affection here. And I mean absolutely none. Not only have I never seen two people holding hands, but I have never even seen them sit together or put an arm around each other for a photo. Not even in their own homes! It is always hard for me to tell who is married when I first meet new families since they act no differently around their spouse than everyone else.

-People over here like intense flavors. It is a well known fact that Indians (and Nepalis) like spicy food, which they certainly do, but they also like extremely sweet foods as well. I have always been known for my sweet tooth, but I find all their desserts uneatable as they are simply too sweet. They also have spices or “candies” they sometimes eat after a meal (like a mint for us) that are absolutely disgusting. It seriously tastes like something that should never ever enter one’s mouth, but here, they all love it.

-Nepalis and Indians sleep a lot. Everyone sleeps 9-10 hours a night, every single night. They go to bed much earlier, by eight in the countryside, and maybe a tad later in the city, and wake up at sunrise very well rested. Now that I too am sleeping that much every night, I see just how sleep deprived everyone in the west is due to our crazy hectic lives.

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