Day in The Life // Madison in Nepal
Today is the first of a new series on the Wholly Mother Blog featuring women mothering all over the world. Join us as we get glimpses into the world around us; learning more about what makes us different and celebrating what we have in common.
To kick off this series, we are so thrilled to be interviewing Madison Richardson, married to her childhood sweetheart, mom of two, raising her little ones in Kathmandu, Nepal.
What is one thing you love about living in Nepal?
Something unique to living in Nepal that I love is the forced removal from the business of Western culture. Although life is busy, it is so much less demanding. There isn't the constant demand to "Keep up with the Joneses". Mostly because you simply can't. There's no Target to run to to grab the newest toy for your kid. Shoot, you can't even order things on Amazon (no street addresses means no online shopping!) There's no hustling from one activity to the next, because there really isn't much to do in Kathmandu. There's no expectation of perfection from others because perfection in this country just isn't possible! There are times that these things drive me crazy and make me really miss America. But when I choose to look at it in a positive light, it takes off a lot of pressure - which is really refreshing.
What is one challenge you didn’t anticipate?
Something that has personally been hard for me is the inefficiency of this country. I'm a planner. I love lists, schedules and predictability. When we first moved here, a friend told us, "if you have 10 things on your list of things to get done in a day, expect to accomplish 3." I thought they were exaggerating, but boy was I wrong! Things just take SO long to do here, and it's really hard to explain why. Maybe it's having to walk everywhere (or scooter if you're lucky!), maybe it's that there isn't a one-stop shop, or maybe it's that 9 times out of 10 what you're looking for doesn't exist in this country. But for some reason or another there is just no way to be efficient here, and that's something I'm still working on letting go. Also, the pollution. That's a given, but living in one of the most polluted cities in the world really takes it's toll. The constant burning of trash, car fumes and more dust than I ever cared to see in my life leave us with sore throats and burning eyes a good majority of the time. Thankfully our kids have learned to keep their face masks on!
What is grocery shopping like for you?
Grocery shopping is almost a daily occurrence! Because a lot of the foods are fresh, they go bad exponentially faster than food in the states. My loaf of bread molds in 3 days during monsoon season! It's also like a giant game of "musical shops". To get everything on my list usually takes a minimum of 3 different stops. One stand only carries veggies, another for fruit, the bigger store for any processed or canned items (or diapers), the bakery for bread... It's quite a process. (Tying back in to the lack of efficiency here!) And if you're ever in Kathmandu, I'll be the frazzled mom attempting to maneuver a double stroller through box-riddled grocery aisles.
Tell us about your morning commute.
Not every day is the same, and it changes depending on which kid(s) I have with me! If I'm taking my oldest to preschool without the baby, we drive the scooter. The commute is filled with dust, honking horns, pot holes and the occasional elephant if we're lucky! If both kids are in tow it's the double stroller, which equals lots of walking. I added up the weight one time and the double stroller with both kids and the diaper bag was over 65lbs! So I consider my commutes my personal workout for the day.
Where is your favorite place to bring your kids?
There aren't a lot of places to take kids in Kathmandu, but thankfully we have been blessed with an incredible community of friends here! Whether it's a playgroup at someone's house or running around outside our friends cafe, as long as there are other kids around it ends up being a great time! On a special day we will make the 40 minute drive to Zippyland! It only takes so long because of traffic. Without traffic it takes only 10 minutes! It's a big indoor play area with jungle gyms, a trampoline area, slides and ball pits. It costs a whopping $1.20 per kid, which is so nice! You just have to overlook the occasional giant rat you witness scurrying through the ball pit (true story!)
What’s a local dish that you love to eat?
Honestly, Nepali food is SO GOOD! The spices, the garlic... it's all so fragrant and flavorful! There's a little hole-in-the-wall place near us that has wonderful Khaaja (snack food in Nepali) for next to nothing! We will order a combination of things like chickpeas & potatoes with seasoning, spicy nepali salsa called aachar, and a potato stuffed bread thing for around $2. And it is delicious!!
What do you do to rest and recharge?
Resting in such a noisy and dirty city can be difficult. But thankfully there are some advantages to living here like $12 hour massages or $8 pedicures! Every now and then some friends and I will go treat ourselves and it is so nice to just sit back and relax for a little while! More often than not I immediately chip my nail polish on my scooter kick stand, but hey - it's the hour of sitting kid-free that makes it worth it!