Today is the first day in many weeks that I made a conscious decision to not go on any adventures. There are those of you who no doubt question the wisdom of such apparent lethargy. Indeed, what greater folly than to discard opportunities for excitement in an exotic land?
Yeah, there’s that. And then again, I did finally get my laundry done, and let’s not minimize that pithy accomplishment. I mean, just look at my laundry room:
You got it right. My washing machine is a combination of that bucket, and these guns:
Your Nepali lesson for the day is the word “Didi.” It literally means older sister, but it’s also commonly used to refer to a domestic helper. Now, when I first learned the word it was in reference to Vishnu, my “land lord.” Moreover, it’s a common sign of respect to refer to anyone you meet here as Didi, Bahini, Daai or Bhaai (Sister: older, younger; Brother: older, younger respectively). It didn’t occur to me until weeks after I learned the term that it could also be used, somewhat informally, as an occupational title. Westerners will often refer to “my didi” as the person who cooks, cleans and cares for their general domestic needs. That is not the way Vishnu rolls. Matter of fact, I’m coming to get the impression that this family is pretty well off by Nepali standards and it would hardly be appropriate (or imaginable if you knew her) for Vishnudidi to work as a domestic. Don’t get me wrong, she feeds me occasionally (mostly Raksi and Chang), but she ain’t about to be doing my laundry.
I could fold this into some social commentary––domestic labor is a legit source of income and to withhold such employment when you have the means to afford it would be regarded as greedy––but I know you’re already getting bored. Point is this, I may not have gone out today, I may not have seen the temple at Swayambhu, ventured to the royal palace museum, played tennis in Fort Durbar or braved the streets of Thamel, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t accomplish anything.