After not being able to visit for 2 weeks, Shuo and I finally reunited with our family this past Sunday. Bali Raj had some prior engagement at his cousin’s so we only saw him in passing. We spent our visit mostly with Roshani, Angelliza was asleep for most of our visit.
We played UNO for a while, but then Roshani pulled out a photo album and showed us pictures from the refugee camp in Nepal. It was really cool to hear about the refugee camp and what it was like to live there. She showed us pictures of her family and Bali Raj’s and she told us which ones had been resettled and where. Most of Roshani’s family is in Chicago, but Bali Raj’s family are still in Nepal.
We saw pictures of their house in Nepal, which is small and made out of bamboo. Roshani said that there were 3+ families living in each hut. She said the hut was smaller than their studio apartment in Chicago. The story that struck me most though, was about elephants. According to Roshani, the refugee camp is right next to a jungle and lion and tiger sightings were frequent. She said that there are lots of banana trees next to the huts and they often attract elephants, who come to eat the fruit. Apparently, the elephants will actually knock down their huts trying to eat the bananas, sometimes killing whoever is inside. So if anyone ever sees an elephant, they light torches and chase after it so it doesn’t get near their huts.
We also spent a lot of time talking about the different names they use to identify family members. It is far more complex than the American system, with different names in regard to relation and to age.
This was by far the longest conversation we have had, and Roshani occasionally struggled with English but we were able to understand each other for the most part. I realized how helpful having conversations in English can be. The family knows a lot of other Bhutanese in Chicago so I don’t think they get a chance to have very many English conversations. I am going to make an effort to have more conversations with them, and see if that will help them with their English.