When I went to San Francisco a week ago, I anticipated meeting my Nepali friends and a few other people related to the concert they were headlining. I didn’t anticipate being made a celebrity myself. Through a misunderstanding (or more probably a joke), someone told the MC that I was from CNN. The MC told the entire crowd, in Nepali, so not a word was misunderstood, and I spent the rest of the night hiding behind my camera so I didn’t have to say “no, it was a misunderstanding” to an enire room. That took a little grace, but what it did for me was automatically introduce me to each attendee, and invite the boldest ones to come talk to me. And they did. It also thrust me right back into the culture that I love so much when I go visit Nepal. I think conversation really begins once you’re navigated a misunderstanding, especially across language barriers. And through all that I got to relive a lot of the minutiae of the culture itself.
Once I answered the “No I am not CNN” questions to almost everyone at the concert individually, and to the most curious answered, “no, actually I am just covering this for my own work,” and, “actually, I am here to support my friends and see them since they came to my country from Asia.” and to the really curious, “Yes, they have done the same for me when I was in Nepal,” then we got to the good stuff. The stuff of culture and history and how each of the people at the concert have come to live in San Francisco… The question that came to me most that evening? “How do you know Milan, how do you know Gambu?” And over the music in a packed room, I was able to simply say, “he is my brother,” and be understood.