Today’s officially the one week mark from leaving Kathmandu. Next Monday, we’ll be flying through Istanbul and on to Chicago, then home on Wednesday. It feels strange to be leaving so soon after I feel like I’ve got this city down- I know, I’ve only been here over a month and I’m far from independent here. But I know my way around. In this city with no street names, I recognize landmarks everywhere I go and can get from place to place on my own. I’ve got my hangout spots and favorite coffee shop where the staff knows me by my order and can speak to the locals with broken Nepali.
One small victory that I celebrated today- going the right way around a stranger! Let me explain. When you’re about to run into someone in the street, you go one way if they go the other way, you avoid them. And since the walking streets of Kathmandu are so busy, this happens quite often. I don’t know if it’s a which-side-of-the-road-you-drive-on thing, but my default is to go right to avoid someone, while I have noticed that the Nepalis’ default is to go left. This normally equates to collision. But this morning, upon almost walking into a stranger, I moved to the left (as did they) and I kept walking, happy that I had finally figured it out.
So many small cultural things like were confusing at first, but I love learning to understand, follow, and blend in. Instead of a nod, they bob their heads side to side to show agreement. I find my head bobbing in conversation with kids now. There’s things you can learn in Lonely Planet about how to fit in and avoid major faux pas, but some things just come with time. For the first time, I really feel blended in to another culture and like I can make a home on this side of the world.
I am aware every day of the limited time. I want to spend the next week invested in the people here, the natural beauty of this place, in my team and leaders. But I also know the deep longing in my heart to continue to wander and to someday establish roots here.
I have loved the chance to get settled in to the life here of Sunday night rooftop worship, team movie nights and laser tag, Saturday children's home talent shows, lentils and rice, hills and valleys, mud and monsoons. Thanks for following me on this journey, and thanks to all those who've given me the opportunity to be here. Jaimasihi,
Christian, feminist, idealist, wife, poet, abolitionist, dreamer, adventurer.