Raam,

This post resonated strongly with me because I can relate to the feeling of homesickness your describing. I was originally born and raised in another country, a developing republic of China. While the details are different from Nepal, many circumstances related to survival you’ve described here are the same. My parents would teach me that every minute of my life would be a waste if you didn’t commit your time to getting an education and finding a good job. When I grew up in China, I understood exactly what that meant. The intense competition for resources and simply lack of social welfare made that value a very real and possibly the only way to be socially mobile. Then I moved to New York at 8 years old and experienced confusion. Other kids would make me feel isolated and abnormal because I didn’t wear the latest brand name clothing. Pursuing education made them even more motivated to call me a nerd or loser. All of these opinions and views not only upset me but confused me. To me, these were hard-wired options to getting out of poverty and living a good life. It wasn’t much later that I understood this idea of privilege and how much Americans didn’t value these things to the same degree as those living in a developing country does. Many of the marital problems, poverty issues, health-care issues and social problems can be solved by a change in mentality and a recognition of the privilege by Americans, however the idea of privilege doesn’t exist until you’ve experienced true hardship like you have been when traveling through Nepal. Can we ship all American’s to a developing nation for a month? I am sure some minds will change after that. 🙂 Otherwise, I think its blogs like yours that will inspire other minds toward gratitude. However, this is difficult. Another poster here mentioned that you’ll gradually lose your connection to this mentality because the developing world and the developed worlds are so different, which is true. Even though I’ve been 15 years removed from my birth city in China, I still have memories because I grew up there until I was 8 but many specific living memories are fading. I also realized many of my goals as I’ve grown up here in America have been shaped by aspirations for privilege. Its sad to me this is happening, but I’ve internalized so much of being privileged as the way to be that procuring items or having goals that bring me more privilege feels second nature. And there I think lies the problem and a deliemma.