It’s hard to believe that 2 weeks is the typical American vacation period. When I got down to a 2 week countdown, it was cue for fear and depression to hit. I’m back in Nepal; it is the safest place for my fragile state. Being back in Nepal felt like my heart was in a custom-made sweater, a gross image if you overthink it, but I think you get my drift. Everything is sweet, simple and cozy. I needed this before I dive back into the fast life. Two days ago I was sitting on the front steps of a shop-talking to the owner and drinking chai-and a monk riding in a bicycle rickshaw rode past me. It was one of those surreal moments I crave where I appreciate where I am and what I’m doing. It made me smile, it’s a common occurrence to see a monk, but I won’t be seeing much of that in Denver and that hit me in that moment. This monk also smiled to himself at the sight of an american sitting and talking in the street. He thinks I’m the anomaly. Before I get too many concerned messages from home about this depression, I have to be fair and admit that I’ve started talking about Colorado way too much: my love for my home and the people there is apparent, annoying even. “I’m from Colorado, its the good one in the middle of the country. You haven’t heard of it because we’re keeping it a secret. We don’t want more texans moving there.” There is a side of me that is homesick. I found myself alone in my room exploring Denver through google maps and listening to one of Adele’s depressing love songs this week. I pulled myself out of that dark place, but that officially gets the award of The Lowest Point of the Week.
When I first got here, I met up with a friend from home. A very, very dear friend from Kathmandu was here to visit. It was the first time seeing anyone from home in three months. I wondered, while waiting for her to find me at the rendevouz point, if I’ve changed. I don’t know the answer. It has been nearly four months, I have been in the sun a lot more, I have been using toiletries that are foreign to me (like a deodorant stone: I hope I’m using it properly, but unsure as the instructions are in Thai), I certainly dress differently and I cut my own hair in the bathroom sink to get the pieces that are too frizzy and dry from constant sun exposure. Surely, I’m different. In Thailand I was concerned about my ability to speak, but after a 45 minute internet call with my brother I expressed this concern. With absolutely no pause he said “No, I’ve been paying close attention to see if you picked up a thai accent or something like that, and I can’t find anything.” There’s no doubt that there are overlapping genes, that kind of secret analyzation during a conversation is practically my signature.
I came here with a desire to learn some Nepali, albeit very little since I have limited time here. In my search for a Nepali tutor, I found a girl who would teach me for a very reasonable price. While explaining this to a local college student, who’s on break for his exams, he got a disgusted look on his face. “Are you telling me, that you like our country enough that you want to learn the language, and this person would CHARGE you for that!? That’s disgusting. I’ll teach you. For free, as it should be.” That’s a fair representation of Nepali people. They are nice, proud and giving. The guest is at the level of a god. A Nepali person will give his/her own dinner if they have nothing else to offer.
The agenda right now is that I take my nepali lessons, I go to the same momo shop everyday (momos are dumplings, the quality of which are measured mostly by the sauce they are served with. My place is phenomenal; they give you four different spicy sauces; the Buffalo Wild Wings of Nepal) I also walk to the same stores to visit the same people and I live a simple life. With the frequent power cuts here, television is not relied upon as a source of entertainment which couldn’t suit me more. Families sit in front of the house in the evening and talk, laugh and-granted- try not to get malaria or this crazy freaking illness called Dengue (which Jimmy Carter never told me about-my main news feed for terrible plagues of the world- but it is malaria on steroids according to Sid).The days are nice.
The nights are less great. I’m starting to have stressful dreams. I dreamt that I went back to my old job, it was the same ol’ mundanity, peppered with micro-management and meeting after meeting about the numbers and the organizational chart, which clearly shows the pecking order and hasn’t actually changed ever. I woke up in a sweat. This was, no doubt, brought on because I know that soon I’ll be opening up the boxes of professional attire I have in storage in Colorado. Every single day I have wished I could sell all the clothes I used to care about and make my time here last a little longer. I had a dream that the Nepali words I was reading kept growing and morphing, I was learning less and less the more I tried. I’m in a bizarre state, straddling homesickness and fighting the urge to call the airline and ask if they accept hippy currencies, such as hugs and guitar performances, to change my return date again.
Pictures? Well, there aren’t many, or any. My time is precious and limited and I don’t want the camera to get in my way right now. I went to the hills, I saw kathmandu valley from above and it was amazing. I saw blood-stained marble in a temple used for sacrifices. I saw giant monasteries built high in the hills with prayer flags climbing even higher and I took no pictures. This part of the ride is all in my head.