I have been home from Nepal for over two months (!) and decided I needed some closure on this blog, as well as some parting thoughts after a period of reflection.
First off, I want to thank everyone who followed my blog! I have never blogged before and think it is so awesome that people actually read this! I am glad I was able to share my experiences in Nepal with people regardless of time and location. It means a lot to know that people can laugh at my stories at the same time as myself, so thanks.
Second off, I am hosting a Nepal Picture and Food Party sometime in the near future. I have finally been able to go through all of my millions of pictures and decided (with the help of my Mom’s convincing words) to share with all and anyone who wants to come! I think it will be good for me to talk out loud and explain some of my experiences to help me fully deal with all my re-entry reverse culture shock because yes I can tell you it does exist! I plan on making some Nepali food while I show the pics too because I am starting to miss Momos and Samosas… So if anyone is interested in coming let me know! Send me an email (Rachelfholm@gmail.com) or call me or something and I can let you know when to come on over!
For everyone else, thank you again for following me! I think my blogging career has ended… at least until I return to Nepal again which I plan on doing! I will leave you with these parting thoughts.
Dec 23 2010: Last Day in Nepal
I woke up to the smell of my Aamaa making Alu-chop, my favorite dish. She knew I loved it and decided to make it for my last meal. I walked into the kitchen to find my family in their daily routine. My Aamaa running about cooking while yell/talking at Simi to do things faster and stop being naughty. Me just sitting at the table in half a daze because I was leaving this scene unsure of when I was returning as well as incredibly sad at having to say bye to the people I had come to love as my own family.
After eating I headed upstairs to sit in the sun and eat my last fresh suntalaa (orange). Not only did I recognize that I would not feel the warmth of the sun for the next seven months (MN = death in the winter) but I also wouldn’t be seeing my family members for who knows how long. I almost cried when I realized my Didi took the day off work to say goodbye to me.
Time moved incredibly fast as if in fast-forward to my time of departure. My family gave me tikka in a small ritual to wish me safe travels. My Baa had fetched a taxi and my bags were packed. At this moment I started to cry, which I had predicted would happen. My Aamaa quickly gave me a hug and went about her daily business. I hugged everyone else and walked toward the taxi. My Didi just patted me and said “Oh Ranjana, we are sad too.” As quickly as I had seemingly arrived I got in the taxi and drove away, off to the airport.
On the way to the airport I couldn’t contain my sadness. I am sure the driver thought I was a crazy person. He saw me as a mess saying bye to my family and throughout the ride stared at me in his rearview mirror. I had two huge bags, two white scarves (given to me in the goodbye ritual) around my neck and a huge red/orange smear of tikka on my face and red puffy eyes from me crying. Quite the sight to see I am sure.
Fast-forward over two months to March 2, 2011.
I have come and gone to Nepal and now I am home to a place that is seemingly timeless. All throughout college I have returned home always confused about how it never seems to change. Home hasn’t changed but I have a feeling that I have changed. Although it doesn’t come out daily to others, I know I am different. I am not different in the traditional sense one may think. I do still buy expensive clothes and I am not afraid to admit it. I do fall into the embarrassing habit of following celebrity blogs and watching Jersey Shore and again am not (really) ashamed of it. The superficial things I appreciated before Nepal have not changed if anything, they have gotten worse.
I do however feel that I appreciate things in life that may seemingly pass others by. We live in such a fast-paced society with many (hidden) agendas and sometimes need to stop and just breathe. We are so lucky to have iPhones that give us directions with just the tap of our fingers and lucky to have traffic lights that work efficiently. We have the ability to fight against politicians (ahm Scott Walker) when we feel passionately, and knowing that we can do this and be safe in doing so.
I may have forgotten my Nepali and forgotten how good it feels to take a hot shower. But I will not forget how much I learned from my experience in Nepal. With this parting thought I will try to wrap things up.
The day of my departure I was sitting eating an orange with my Aamaa talking to her about how I was so sad to leave. She told me this and I will not forget it. We cannot dwell on things that we need to do in our lives. As for me, I needed to go home and finish school and get a job, this was what was guaranteed. Although I was sad about leaving I needed to accept it and move on. Nepal will always be a part of me as will my Aamaa and my family but now it was my duty to continue on. To have new experiences and not dwell, there is no point in wasting this precious energy.
I have tried to live by this mantra while home. It is pretty hard to do. I have tried to make it my sole goal to live in the present. Make today good and be happy in the moment. The past is just that, it is done. Think about it but don’t dwell because there is no point. There is also no point in focusing too much on the future because we have no way to predict it. All I have control of is today and now.
I miss Nepal and think about it often and have promised myself that I will go back. The hard part really is now, I am trying to define myself in a way I have never had the chance to do so before. For the first time I have no path, no pre-determined future. It is completely and utterly terrifying but also very exciting. I can do whatever I want. I’ve been to Mars (Nepal…) and back and survived to tell about it! On with life and the adventures that I will experience day-by-day.