By Anu Tandukar

I believe that is exactly how a typical American would define the kind of experience that I had during my stay in the United States. There was certainly this “disorientation” when I was just introduced to the American culture. Moreover, I went through a reverse culture shock when I returned to my home culture after spending five years of my adolescence in the USA.

There is definitely some good and some bad in every culture. After completing my undergraduate studies abroad, I returned to Nepal in the spring of 2012. By that time, I had had a chance to experience how things worked on the other side of the globe. I got to know about a society where the so called “conservatives” were actually much more liberal than anyone I had known before. A divorce was normal, and so was conceiving before marriage (I don’t know about a single person in Nepal who got pregnant before getting married). Kids were set in a timeout or were grounded instead of getting whipped (how cool). Adults had to move out of their parents’ house at some point. Sons and daughters were not discriminated based on their genders. Unemployed population was entitled to unemployment compensation. There were social security benefits and Medicare programs for the elderly and food stamps for the poor and what not!!

However, the system is quite different in Nepal. The society is male dominated. Not all women are allowed to go to school or work, especially in the rural settings. Women mostly help their mothers with the chores as there is a common belief that women should not pursue education as education might corrupt their minds. The situation is even worse in the villages.

Generally, everyone in Nepal owns a house as sons are entitled to their parents’ properties and the daughters are given away to the sons of other houses along with abundant dowries. Marriages are mostly pre-arranged. Therefore, moving out of your parents’ house never really happens. It’s almost like a taboo. Elderlies are taken care of by their children. Eloping is a matter of shame.

Everything was alright before I knew about my options. Now that I am back in Nepal and living with my parents, it has become a little difficult as I see such educated parents discriminating between me and my adorable younger brother. I know it is not their fault, I believe it is the society’s fault. Had I not went to the U.S., I would probably have never known about my rights. To my own surprise, I have become a rebel.

I am very grateful towards my parents that they sent me abroad to pursue higher education. At the same time, the culture shock and, more importantly, the reverse culture shock really confuse me sometimes. Hence, I am moving to a beautiful city called Pokhara in May, although it is temporary. I hope the move will help me rejuvenate well. I am very grateful towards my Whittaker Associates’ team members who have allowed me to work remotely for the time being. I am sure my Pokhara stay is going to help me to work more effectively and efficiently. I would like to thank the entire team for that opportunity.