Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Locked in the Closet

This unedited picture taken in the room where I am living represents the confusing absurdity of my current living situation:

Giant floating head? Rat?

So the first night here I was talking to the maternal head of the household in Nepali and she mentioned offhand that there is another American living upstairs in the house - an SIT Study Abroad student. But, she said, SIT doesn't allow two foreigners living in the same house, so I should avoid talking to her. If the student informed SIT then they might yank her from the house and withhold the living stipend.

Thinking she was joking, I said, "Well, my name is Luke, so I can hide." This is a pun in Nepali because the root of the verb 'to hide' is luk, pronounced like my name. She laughed uproariously and then looked at me with a straight face and said "Yes, yes you should."

Later I found out that she was completely serious. When the girl arrived they quickly shooed me into my room. Instead of eating upstairs at the dining room table they spread newspaper on the floor of my room and put food on the ground. I pointed out that this was a bit demeaning and insisted that I go upstairs for meals and have free range of the first floor. I also tried to describe the plot of Jane Eyre to the family as sort of a cautionary tale about hiding people in your house. That and I threatened to make ghost noises.

Somehow, I have lived here for over a week and have yet to meet this SIT person. The family has been scrambling around to make sure that we never meet, and I have been putting up with it on the grounds that the situation is hilarious. Also, I'm living in a fancy house and eating really good daalbhaat, pizza made by a man who worked as a London chef, and spice tea imported from Darjeeling. So I can't really complain.

Still, I bet the student will find out eventually. The facade has stood up so far because we have different schedules, and because there are always three or four visiting relatives wandering about the house at any given time and sleeping on the floor. But I hear she has been telling her friends that she has heard a strange American voice somewhere around the house and she doesn't know where it comes from.

As to the weird photo with the glowing face and the rat:

That's a poster of David Beckham next to a rat cage.

They have a pet rat that they keep in a cage in my room, a room filled with posters of Green Day, Slipknot, Avril Lavigne, and David Beckham. The rat can easily escape from its cage and when I come home it is usually rooting through my luggage or scurrying around on the third-floor balcony.

I am only staying here until my teacher training is complete and I move out of the city. But this is definitely one of the weirdest places I've ever lived.


  1. So, what happened? Did she discover you?

    And the rat? Did you mind having it in your room?

    I'm also living with a Nepalese family and fortunately, they don't have pets!!