Home away from home

It can be a challenge making a house feel like a home when you’re living far from your home country.

For Sarada Gurung, the answer is to have lots of reminders of Nepal in her home’s décor.

Sarada and her husband Jeetan moved to New Zealand from Nepal six years ago. Two years ago they bought a West Auckland house, in time for the arrival of their daughter, Jeenisa. Making their home an expression of their culture was important to the family.

“We have a painting of a Nepali scene, a rug from Nepal, furniture we brought with us, baskets, brass vases, a prayer wheel and prayer flags, as well as Buddhist statues. These things remind us of home,” Sarada says. “And I grow marigolds. There are a lot of marigolds in our culture; we use the flowers in worship.”

Eighteen-month-old Jeenisa is learning both English and Nepali language and the family speak Nepali at home. They eat Nepalese food most of the time and Jeenisa wears traditional bangles on her wrists and ankles.

“It’s very important to keep our culture close to us,” Sarada says.

“Nepal has a lot of festivals and there are a few Nepalese community organisations in New Zealand that organise them here; we attend most of them and also celebrate important dates at home with traditional food.”

The joy of adding physical reminders of their culture to their New Zealand home is an ongoing project.

“Whenever I go home to Nepal, which is every couple of years, I bring things back.”

Reported by Kathryn Webster for our AA Directions Spring 2020 issue

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