There is one thing I regret about my trip to Nepal last time and that is that I was so shy. Yes it’s part of my personality to be shy but I was a bit more shy than usually, since it was so many new things for me. I’m used to travelling but it was different to be in Nepal since I felt a need to observe the culture more and learn more things than I usually do when I travel. Obviously because it was B’s culture and I wanted to get to know it better as I will be part of it and who knows, I might live there some time in the future.
I’ve always been a shy and cautious person. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having that kind of personality either, everyone is different. As I’ve grown older my shyness has decreased and it’s much easier for me to handle new and uncertain situations nowadays. I’m still being cautious though, I like to stay back and observe things when I’m in new situation, kind of to assess the situation.
My shyness had some consequences this time. One was that I declined a friends offer to try on one of her saris. Now in hindsight I really regret this, I would have loved to try a sari to see how it was. It’s such a beautiful piece of cloth and I’ve heard it’s really complicated and difficult to wear. It would have been fun to see how a blond white girl would look like in that, if I could pull it off or if it would only look strange and out of place. I’m also curious to know how it would feel like to wear, if it’s a comfortable type of clothes, if it would feel “right” for me or not etc.
The reason I said no to trying was because I felt shy about it. I’m that kind of person, don’t want to be a nuisance and therefore say no the first time. If someone asks again I might consider saying yes but don’t really want to bother anyone. Next time I will (probably) not say no.
Another thing is that I wish I had bought more than one kurta suluwar (is that the correct spelling?) and had dared to wear it more than I did. The first one I wore was borrowed from a friend and the one that I bought for myself was really nice but the sewing of it was perhaps so so, a little tight on me. Oh and to find the one I did buy was not easy. There were so so many different designs, colours and fabrics that it got confusing. I’m not the kind of person who buy things on impulse, I usually like to think a lot and consider different options. As you can imagine it wasn’t easy to decide and we went to several shops before we bought the one I have. Now that I think about it, perhaps that’s the reason why I have only one, maybe no one wanted to suggest to go shopping since I had so much trouble deciding the first time.
Either way it’s a really comfortable type of clothes, especially when the weather is hot. I really don’t like to wear jeans (or other type of pants) in the summer time here at home, somehow it feels so confining and it also gets so hot. I prefer to wear skirts or dresses with or without leggings etc. That’s why I liked wearing this kind of clothes, especially with the loose pants style.
I was unsure about what Nepali people would think about me wearing their type of clothes too, being a foreigner. If it would seem strange and inappropriate or be welcomed and seen as a good thing. If I make the comparison with Sweden, if foreigners would wear the traditional dress it would probably be seen as strange and people would wonder why. On the other hand that might not be a good comparison since our traditional clothes are not worn as everyday dress, only on special occations and by quite few people now a days. And also the traditional dresses here have very strong connection to the wearers hometown and look different for everyone.
I remember the first day I was walking around Kathmandu in Kurta Suluwar with our friends. It felt both good and a little odd. It was comfortable but I felt like people were looking at me, though that might have been because of my bright red hair color that I got from coloring it with henna and got a surprising result. I think that if I had been a normal tourist then I would definitely not have bought and worn kurta suluwar or any other type of typical nepali dress. That would have felt out of place for me, kind of like when tourists in Thailand buy ‘fisherman-pants’ and walk around anywhere with, although you wouldn’t see Thai people wear that kind of dress except perhaps on the fishing boat as the name implies.
But since I wasn’t there as a normal tourist I felt it was more ok or acceptable for me to wear Nepali style dress. I guess that some tourists might be comfortable wearing it as well and it’s up to them to decide. It made me feel less like an outsider and I felt more like I belonged there when wearing this kind of dresses. It was easier to wear western style clothes in places like Kathmandu since there’s such a mix of people and a lot of foreigners there as well. When I got to B’s hometown though it felt more odd. It’s quite a big city but not so many foreigners around. When I was visiting there I felt more out of place when I wore western type clothes and felt more like I fitted in if I wore kurta suluwar.
So next time I go to Nepal I’ll buy some more fabric and have more clothes made, and earlier in the trip since it usually take a few days to finish them. And hopefully I’ll be less shy next time too. No I shouldn’t say hopefully, I will definitely be less shy and more open next time, I just have to decide about it. I do think it will be easier next time since I know what to expect and I’ll be able to speak a little of the language as well!
Do you have any regrets about things or can relate to being more shy in a new culture?