(All the photos in this post were taken by the Leafy Boy.)
In addition to being the day of the book launch, the 25th has also been dubbed "Moving Day."
We're moving to an apartment farther down the lake, and we thought we were going on the 1st of June, but then they called and said we could come on the 25th, and we looked at each other for about two seconds before calling back and saying, thankyouwe'llcomewewill.
This house hasn't worked out. We're glad for the time we've had here, (and the friends we met here) but we need a place of our own. This house used to be a regular house, with three big bedrooms. As a guesthouse, there are spaces for three separate groups of people, who all share the kitchen and common spaces. Also, the manager of the guesthouse lives here. It's sort of a family enterprise of his. He rented the house for five years and is sub-letting it out piecemeal to make money on it.
So we have our two nice large rooms downstairs, with beautiful windows and a view, but we also have K, the Nepali manager. He is the sweetest guy in the world, but we are driving each other crazy. Or maybe only he is driving me crazy. He can't help it. I'm touchy and Western and my ears bleed if I'm offered too much unsolicited advice. He's just being himself, or that's what I believe.
He has a way of telling me what I should do; parenting advice, how I could cook something better, or picking up my ingredients when we are cooking together in the evening (our own meals, simultaneously) and pronouncing each one "Very expensive." Like soy sauce, or paneer. The other night he asked me how much I pay each day for groceries. 1000 Rps? (About $13) "No, no," I said. "Probably 500." "Maybe 600?" He asked. "You buy yogurt and milk." Why do we need to talk about this?
I hate spending money. The guilt I have attached to spending money is something I'm working on. And there's no way I can be in competition with a Nepali villager on who is spending the least amount of money on food. But his words have the effect of waking up the lightly slumbering patrol woman in my head. You see? She says. You spend so much, Spendy! Soy sauce! High maintenance! She snorts at me. She sneers!
And K is from a village. He has a villager way of being, which I adore in my neighbors in Goa. Nothing is too small to be remarkable, in the purest sense of the word. Where are you going? How much did you spend on those pants? The bull is shaking his head again, every time we walk by. Watching and chatting and being together.
But K lives in the same house I do, and with K, it is everything that goes through his head. Often to do with how much something costs. "15 Rps!" he says, holding a cucumber high. Or how much he is working. (Not all that much, he only needs to fill the water tanks and sweep the common spaces.) My theory is that he is here without his mother or his wife (they are in the village) and I have become his default confidante. He empties his cache frequently.
I like K a lot. He is kind and funny and nice to the kids. But I am finding it hard to live with him. We're ready for a little distance in our relationship.
And of course it is not just K. I'm often cooking dinner on one burner, which is an added challenge to learning to cook on two burners. (Which I've mastered.) The way the house is set up, I have to be in the common spaces to cook, and I just can't keep the kids quiet all the time. I feel like I'm always shushing them. K doesn't want them washing dishes because they might use too much water. (Even though I've taught them to be sparing.) One day his brother-in-law told us that the kids were disturbing the guests. It was during a business meeting that they were holding here at the house, one we hadn't heard was happening, one that didn't involve any people who actually live here. I was cooking, so I turned the TV on for the kids so they wouldn't be loud during the meeting. But the brother-in-law still told us that the kids were disturbing his guests. And he walked into our room and looked around, telling us to "Take care." I'm telling you, that man has no idea how close he came to physical violence.
There is also the smoke. After we moved here, a lady moved in who smokes heavily in her room. And just the other day another smoker moved in. Even if they stay in their rooms, it drifts. I had bronchitis for a month that I am STILL trying to get over. Can't be a coincidence.
So, we are moving to an apartment in an entirely different part of town. It has two bedrooms, a living room and kitchen, it is furnished, it has back up power for the lights (not the outlets) and a FRIDGE! Party. It isn't on the lake, but it has a view of the mountains. There is a table!
We will say goodbye to our wonderful little neighborhood. (There were no apartments or small houses for rent here.) The milk for sale right across the street, the best bakery in town four doors down. Kid A and YaYa will miss the local dogs. I will miss my new friends, all the bright, hard-working women that I exchange greetings with every day. But we will all be really relieved to have a little more space. Our friends from New York compared it to moving out of the city. I suppose it is like that. We all have our ideals, the place we would like to live, the way we love to run out and get the bread in the morning, the great momos at the nearby café. But you can't have everything. And we all have our limits.
And anyway, it will all still be here. Or that's what I tell myself.