I was born and raised in the small Himalayan nation of Nepal. It's a country that is proud of its history, mountains and rich culture. I grew up with an appreciation for diversity and inclusion as Nepal is a culturally and religiously diverse nation. However, it is certainly not one with an unblemished history.
I grew up in the throes of civil war in Nepal in the late 90s and early 2000s. I was fortunate and privileged to never have had to directly bear the brunt of war but it was always in the back of my young mind. I grew up in three d ifferent cities in Nepal, as my father, who was a career banker, was transferred to manage one successful branch after another. I happily moved with my parents. This was the beginning of what has now become a permanent situation - making a home out of anywhere I live, yet never being home.
An event from my childhood that set the course for my life was when my uncle moved his family to the United States and then to Canada. I knew then, at the tender age of 6, that I wanted to move abroad to pursue my career as well. As much as I loved Nepal, I knew I wanted to work and live in a society that encouraged and celebrated the individual. Thus, after a gap year working for the Rotaract club and as volunteer teacher at the St. Xavier's school in Nepal, I moved to the United States with all my belongings and hopes packed in two big suitcases. I was fortunate to have siblings here already who did everything in their power to give me a struggle-free life in a new land. I learned about my privilege only when I came to college and met people from different backgrounds. For many of them, they were the first in their families to go to college. I naively assumed that college was accessible to all Americans in the land of opportunity. This was my first brush with the harsh reality of privilege. I could not be more grateful to my parents who gave up many things to put the wind beneath my wings.
While I was in college, I fully immersed myself in the college experience. It was a small, Southern Baptist university and unlike anything that I had imagined for my American college experience. I met the most wonderful people, some of whom are still a part of my life. I learned in my time at a conservative, Christian campus that stereotypes are nothing but exaggerations to keep people apart. We must have a vested interest in our future as a global society to overcome our biases and prejudices to learn more about each other.
Upon graduation, I moved to Houston, Texas and began living with my sister. I started working as a Project Coordinator and quickly progressed through the ranks to manage purchasing of the company. There, I learned that experience is the best teacher out there and having a boss that trusts you is the best way to advance your career. After a couple of years of handling negotiations and successfully managing procurement, I realized that I needed to challenge myself and stick to my plan for myself. I started studying after work for my GMATs and applied to graduate schools around the country. I targeted schools in Texas and the Northeast. Johns Hopkins Carey Business School offered me a generous scholarship package. I knew I wanted to live and work in the Northeast before settling in any other part of this country. Mississippi was wonderful, Texas is practically home but it was time for a new adventure.
I now call Baltimore home for the foreseeable future. I positioned myself in this area as I want to eventually serve in the public arena and the DMV area is prime for finance graduates like myself who want to pursue public life. I'm still very much the Nepali girl who had big dreams of working in the UN or World Bank one day. Nepal is home, Mississippi will forever hold a special place in my heart, Texas is where I learned to fly and I'm hoping Baltimore is where I will soar to my dreams. I have never felt "rooted" to any one place. Perhaps it is my wanderlust that keeps me moving from one city to another, from one country to another. Or maybe, it is a deep-rooted desire to fully live my life and experience all that this world has to offer in the limited time we have in this world.
Nistha is a finance professional keenly interested in fiscal policy. She is originally from Nepal and moved to the United States to get a better education and pursue the American dream.