Thursday, June 19. Janakpur.
This hotel has TOILET PAPER. And we got COLD water to drink. After spending almost 11 hours in a van today, my body was covered in dirt and sticky from the air and sweat. My legs have been eaten alive. Between my hips and Jordan’s shoulders, the ride was pretty cramped and my legs and rear are sore from sitting there so long. I just took a shower without a towel to dry off- not a particularly enjoyable experience, or something I’d care to do ever again. But on the bright side, we have toilet paper here! What a treasure.
If I had been charged with the “don’t complain for 24 hours” challenge last night, I would have failed embarrassingly. We’ve talked about how Nepalis have a skill to live simply, a skill we don’t have in the west. I packed lightly, excited to think I have that skill and have quickly realized that I don’t. I’d be slightly discomforted but pretty content to live here with Western amenities. But learning to live like most Nepalis/South Asians do every day would stretch me far beyond comfort.
I am reminded of the two “key words” my parents impressed upon Mark and I during our cross-cultural experiences: flexibility and gratitude. There is much to be flexible about and even more we are learning to be grateful for.
Yesterday we spent driving to Janakpur, and visited a safe home for girls they intercept here. Today we visited the physical border (and walked to India!) Our time in Kathmandu (and Turkey before it) was a great ease into the culture and lifestyle. We hadn’t experienced too much shock there- today was more shocking. Getting outside of the city, almost everyone we encounter will stare at us, and yesterday a group of young men crowded around, pulling out phones to take pictures and video of us. The roads are dusty and lined with cows, water buffalo, goats being herded. Children beg for money and candy.
As we walked for long stretches in beating sun today, I thought of the catchphrase from my favorite Bollywood film: all is well. Rancho tells his friends that the heart scares easy, so you must tell yourself that all is well, and then you’ll have the courage to face the hard circumstances. There was much to complain about on the road, but so much to be grateful for. So much good and beauty to see.
All is well. Aal iz well. All is well.
Christian, feminist, idealist, wife, poet, abolitionist, dreamer, adventurer.