February 10, 2014

Salutogenesis Factor #2g: My Home-Sweet-Home Family

Last but certainly not least on my list of families that have enhanced my well-being are my current housemates and treasured companions, Nimesh and Bhawana. Here we are at their marriage in Kathmandu in March, 2012:

And back home a few months later:

Family History
My many trips to Nepal always started and ended in Kathmandu. Every day there, I'd go to my favorite bookstore in the heart of Thamel for my International Herald Tribune. Nimesh's dad owned the store, and everybody in the family worked there from time to time. I soon became friends with the whole family.

Nimesh decided to get his college education at Truman University in Kirksville, Missouri. Why Truman U? It ranks high in the US News annual report: "Truman has forged a national reputation for offering exceptionally high-quality undergraduate education at an affordable price."

It also was an attractive choice for Nimesh, since about a hundred Nepalis were already students there.
Nimesh stayed in the U.S. throughout his undergraduate years. On several occasions during those years, he stayed at my house.

After getting his undergraduate degree at Truman, Nimesh was accepted in an MBA/Finance program at American University. AU is within walking distance -- a good hike  -- from my house, so Nimesh stayed here. He remained in the house after he got a job with the World Bank in downtown DC, to which he rides his bike -- weather permitting -- along part of the same route I had used decades before when I biked to my job at BNA.

Here are few of the many photos taken through these past years.

Nimesh in front of the Nepal Embassy:

Emulating Teddy Roosevelt:

I hadn't traveled much in the U.S. after I retired since I was flying off to Europe and Asia instead.  Thanks to Nimesh, we spent three terrific weeks driving through the Pacific Northwest during the summer of 2011.

Nimesh at Crater Lake:

During  my Nepal decade, I made friends with many Nepalis here in Washington. Puru, who remains a good friend, had created a Nepali craft shop in downtown D.C.

Nimesh at Puru's Shop:

"Time for Nimesh To Get Married"
That's what his parents thought, now that Nimesh had completed his formal education and had a good job. So they began the search for a suitable wife. Nimesh had spent nearly ten years in the U.S. and often wrestled with the differences between American and Nepali cultures. But he wanted to make his parents happy. They were less rigid than many Nepali parents in their views on arranged marriages. They told Nimesh -- after they had selected an appropriate candidate -- that they wanted the two of them to spend lots of time getting acquainted. In time, if either of them wasn't comfortable with the relationship, they could call it off, and the parents would begin a new search. 

Nimesh's parents did a terrific job, because they found Bhawana. She was finishing her studies for an MBA/Finance from Wales University at its Mumbai, India campus. She came from the same caste as Nimesh, and her parents were similarly situated in Kathmandu. Like Nimesh's parents, they urged Bhawana to take a lot of time to get to know Nimesh.

It was great fun watching Nimesh fall in love with Bhawana through their many hours together on Skype. Combining a centuries-old tradition with modern technology produced a terrific result. They are deeply in love, as you can see from this wedding-day photo: 

I loved the week I spent in Kathmandu, attending various ceremonies and receptions:

The Amazing Bhawana
I expected that Nimesh and Bhawana would want a place of their own after they returned to Washington. Bhawana had never visited a country is the "west," and she astounded me by quickly adapting . . . not only to life in America, but also in our crazy household. Words cannot express the strong relationship we three share today, and the lion's share of that credit goes to Bhawana.

Again, here are just a few of our many photos.

Lunch at the Boathouse in Central Park:

Visiting an historic icon . . .

. .

. . . and a modern one:

A woman of two worlds:

Life at Home
I shudder whenever I recall how close I came to selling my house and moving into a senior residence after getting my Parkinson's diagnosis. I've always loved my house, garden, and neighborhood. But living in the house alone in my mid-80s seemed like it would be lonely and difficult. Now I live in a house filled with love, support, and activity. Just enough activity. I still get plenty of my treasured "alone time."

Nimesh's parents and grandparents stayed with us for a week -- a full house -- and I still found the right balance between togetherness and "my time." A split-level house helps.

Entertaining Nimesh's Parents and Grandparents:

Nepal in D.C.
Nimesh and Bhawana have a nice group of Nepali friends here in Washington. I love seeing them sporting native garb for those get-togethers:

I love having young people around the house:

My two loves show their love for each other in this video
This video was shot at a wedding reception for two Nepali couples, all Nimesh's classmates from Truman, and now DC-area residents. They're frequent visitors here at the house. 

This was my first attempt at an extended iPhone video:

Bottom Line: I'm happier today than I ever have been.

Dhanyabad Nimesh and Bhawana

No comments: