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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Cooking with my Homestay Mother

A few typical conversations during the process:

Mother (motioning to a bowl): try this

Me: achaar? (pickle?)

Mother: yes

Me: piro? (spicy?)

Mother: no spicy, you don’t like spice


Mother: grab me an onion!

Me (picks one up): yo Nepali maa ke chha? (what is this called in Nepali? )

Mother: pyaaj! pyaaj!

Me (trying to sound it out): peeeaaaazzzz

Mother continuously points to the onion and asks me what it is called in Nepali, and I continuously forget.


Mother (pulls out a spice wheel from the drawer and picks up an aromatic, bright orange spice in a tiny spoon): This is medicine, kills bacteria. What you call this in America?

Me: malaai thahaa chaina (I don’t know)

Mother (laughs)


Mother (motions to table covered in little pieces of cauliflower left over from the chopping board): throw out in dust bin please!

Me (picking up pieces): kahaa? (where?)

Mother (points to the dust bin outside): In English you say “outside”, but in Nepali?

Me: baahira! baahira!


Mother: dhaal (cooked lentil soup) done! Easy! Now rice turn!

Me: turn?

Mother: you know, your turn then my turn….

Me: oh! turn!

Mother (giggles): yes, now rice turn.


Mother: I teach you to cook and you take it back to your country saying, “mom I can cook!”

I smile and nod because I know we understand each other.