Kathmandu, the capital city and the heart of Nepal, is where I grew up, this is my home, and it is my identity and defines who I am. The sound of a hundred vehicles on the road rushing to get to places; the horns are as loud as ever, he neighbor’s son singing at the top of his voice, my two dogs barking at the neighbor’s dog, the sweet smell of coffee, the sizzles in the kitchen and the smell of authentic food cooking, my father listening to the daily news in the other room, my cousin dancing around and waking me up, this was I what woke up to everyday. The chaos of the city was to me a sense of my life. Although I go to school in Illinois now, and I traveled to see my father whenever I had a chance, a special place in my heart exists for the relationship I have with my home- Kathmandu.
The bright sun shining on me and the cool breeze blowing through my hair through the open window made me feel alive. I felt safe here, like no one could harm me. This feeling followed me everywhere inside the city; at the top of the hill or at a café. No matter where I went I knew I was among people like me. You could go anywhere and the noise would follow you, you could turn around and look around you and would always something or the other happening there. The festivals, the culture, the tradition could be seen all around you, there wasn’t a dull moment there, you could just sit somewhere and watch the people passing by and have a good time. The view from the top of the hill was heavenly, we could see the whole city, it always helped me unwind and the light at night was just beautiful.
I love travelling and to see new places. Whenever I had long holidays I would go visit my father and explore the things around. I would stay there for a while but then start to miss the city in a few days. The ‘Welcome to Kathmandu’ sign would give me a sigh of relief because I felt that I was finally where I belonged, finally back to the place I’ve known, a place which holds memories, a place which I love, back home.
I cannot put into words the difference in between Kathmandu and Springfield, the comfort of home is lost somewhere, and the feeling of safety is far gone. Everyone I had ever known was from Nepal, not necessarily Kathmandu though. Describing to people about Kathmandu and showing them around the city always made me feel like I was showing them my world, my safe heaven. Every time I stepped out of my house, the people around would be greeting me because I have seen them since I was a child and they knew me, they knew my family. Thinking back on how my life was then make me realize the comfort we have in the place we call home, the place we identify as home. The educational environment back in my home town and UIS are different. In every aspect it is different from what I was used to for the past nineteen years of my life. That was the truth I lived in, the only place I knew how to live in but now that I am here adjusting to this new environment, which is very challenging. The people, the place, the sound in the background, the smell, the feeling is just alarmingly new for me.
In its own way the city has taught me so much. It was always crowded and if you did not speak up for what you wanted you would have to watch it slip away. It taught me that there are two sides to everything, like the city itself. Though the city was crowded and chaotic at the center, it was also peaceful and heavenly on the outskirts. Whenever we think about home, we associate it with safety and comfort ,which is true ,but home is also a place where we grow, where we learn new things, where we struggle and challenge ourselves to be better and for me this associated with the city; Kathmandu not only a specific place but the city as a whole.
The relationship I have with Kathmandu is a positive relationship filled with memories and attachment. Kathmandu has its own uniqueness. It is a valley surrounded by hills and the climate there is just perfect not too cold or too hot. The city is filled with Hindu culture and I have learned so much about my culture from it. It is also called the city of temples and visiting temples is a big part of our culture. I have learned so much from it and I never thought I would miss the city. I never thought of the city as a whole as my home but now that I am so far from it I miss every aspect of it. My city is my identity, my pride, it may not be perfect or the best city in the world but it is home to me.