Namaste my friends and fellow bloggers,
I have been back from Nepal for just about a month now, and each day home I stared at this blank screen waiting for words to come out from my fingertips to write an adequate post. Over and over again I had started but had yet to find a way to compile my amazing, terrifying, and eye-opening experiences into a readable document, and with no success I began to be frustrated. You see, my time being back has been harder for me than I imagined it to. I thought I would enjoy my first warm shower in two months, sleeping on a real mattress in the comfort of my home and family, however I just felt depressed coming home. I missed the children I had met and grown to love, I missed walking out to the beautiful Himalayan mountains amidst gorgeous lakes, I missed my sense of self and freedom being completely away from judgment’s eye, and yes, I even missed the cold, sparsely taken showers. Being back for me brought more writers block than I had ever previous experienced, because in Nepal I had ideas and so many thoughts that I couldn’t wait to share with you all, I even completely filled a 200-something page journal with notes of the places I saw, and most importantly the people I was fortunate to meet. But I experienced a sort of mid-life crisis, or I guess for a woman my age a less than quarter-life crisis.
I didn’t really know who I fully was anymore now that I was back in the United States. I felt a passion and a spark in the anticipation of Nepal, and while I was there I felt completely and utterly alive, my spirit was resonating with the things that I was able to see and I felt such joy and passion that never before had I been able to fully access. Upon returning I looked in the mirror at my no-make up, nose-ring, and sun-burnt face, torn up clothes with the crotch of the pants down to my knees and felt like myself. I saw the spark still my eyes from Nepal, I felt alive, however I felt I no longer fit in with my surrounding. I found around me that no one seemed to look that way; in fact everyone had a full-face of makeup, nice expensive clothes, and sleek shiny hair, everything I was before I left. But as I began to apply my makeup and swap my ratty clothes for a nice lace-sleeved shirt and leather bag, I felt like a bit of fraud. I felt wrong the way that I looked and talking about the things that I used to talk about. I felt almost sick when I would talk with my girlfriends and giggle about our newest man-crushes and useless banter over friends from high school, I just didn’t feel right about it all. Shouldn’t I be dedicating my day to working with children, and filling my journal with insightful moments after a hard but gratifying day of work, instead of mindlessly going through my day filled with my selfish wants and indulgences?? I battled this war inside my head of how to keep the experiences and new outlooks on the world while still remain apart of the community that I have spent my whole life growing up in. I felt like the battle was lost when I pulled out my makeup and went back to the same routine I did before I left, I felt at an utter loss. And how could I possibly write a well-thought-out post about Nepal and have an enlightening theme to it while I still faced this dilemma of who I am now and what is important in my life?
So, this brings us to now. I have not yet solved my battle completely and still I dedicate much of my prayers to finding this balance inside my mind but I have found myself a few step ahead of where I started, and my mind has slowly begun to clear enough to address you all and share with you my journey on the other side of the world.
Here is goes..
My journey started out more disastrous than delightful. I arrive to the Kathmandu domestic airport after 34 hours of travel only to find my mind screaming “WHAT AM I DOING HERE?.” The glamour of travel had already worn-off and there I was alone, lugging around my exploding bag in an “airport” that looked more like a war-zone than anything else. I was mortified, I wondered if my whole summer would be filled with this kind of fear and anxiety. And well, it was, but that was only two of the many arrays of feelings I had in Nepal.
Then the real experience began when I nervously step off that rickety bus to my school. The children were all in unison with their white and red uniforms and the girls with braided pigtails, they all stared then began running up to me with their hands clasped together saying “Namaste.” That was my first day… now skip months later to my last. I walked off the bus that had become my favorite part of my morning and glanced at my school, those children were no longer just kids in uniforms, they were names and beautiful faces with families and experiences, they were my students, they were my friends. I teared up the whole day as I said my last “Namaste” and read them my letter that held my hopes and my dreams for them. I loved these children. They drove me crazy about 70% of the time, but the remaining 30% is what mattered, because they brought so much joy to my life.
From the dancing in the classroom while blaring Beyonce, to the sweet-hearted letters they wrote me in their broken English, to me singing with them till I felt my lungs were about to give up, those were the things I remember when I look back at Nepal… You see, every minute of my experience seems so fresh and recent, I remember each detail, and every emotion, every fear that crossed my mind, to every tear that fell down my cheeks, however years from now the freshness of those experiences will fade. The creases on the old woman’s face as she smiled and the sounds of the bustling street at 5am will eventually lessen in my mind and I will be left with only the most important snippets of my time there. And those moments remembered will not be the difficulties and inconveniences I faced, or the dilemma that overcame me as I returned; all that will remain will be the children I loved, the friends I had made, and the sense of euphoria I felt being on the other side of the world in a place so beautiful it could be straight out of a page from the national geographic.
Before I go any further into rambling on for hours about individual people, and my many lessons learned, I will stop here (rather abruptly), and leave you with the only word that can come to mind to sum it all up. Mesmerizing. Nepal, my summer, and the people were simply.. mesmerizing.