Wanderlust is a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.
It’s hard to believe (despite my countdown) but my time in Nepal has almost come to an end. We have packed up our things and bought all our last minute gifts and have started saying goodbye to friends.
Also recently I turned 30, and it went exactly as expected: I am now a total hag with grey hair, a crackly voice, and tons of wrinkles. Just kidding! Actually, at the exact moment of the 30th anniversary of my birth, time and space stood still and I was transcended. I reached nirvana, and now I know all the answers AND all the questions. Okay…it was probably a little bit of both.
I have really struggled with this post. I don’t want to be gooey and emotional – “Nepal has just changed my entire outlook on life and everything about it is perfect and everyone should do exactly what I am doing!” It’s not like that. And yet, living in Kathmandu for two years has really opened up my eyes – both my normal pair and that previously little known third eye that looks inward.
I feel like my time here has had two parts – the work part, and the place part. The work is the constant. Even though I will move to other posts and other sections, the core of my job stays the same. My office at the embassy was (is) totally amaze balls. They took me from a newbie who was basically terrified of everything to someone who is actually an asset to the Department’s greater goals – a small cog in a huge wheel, for sure, but that doesn’t make me any less happy about finding a place that I fit. I have made so many friends in two years – the Foreign Service is so great. “Let’s put a bunch of nerds who like the same stuff together and make them do work to better the world! YAY!!!!”
Then there is the place – I will never forget Joanna and Sittaram picking myself, Kyle, and two frightened kitties up from the airport for the first time. It was HOT. It was dusty. It was my first true “we aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto” experience. I’m not going to pretend that I did a wonderful job getting to know the great truth of Nepal. I didn’t climb Mt. Everest (or even get to base camp) and it turns out, Nepali food is way too spicy for this Southern Girl. But I did my best to soak up all the lessons Nepal had for me:
1. Hiking is not for you.
2. Seriously girl, just stop walking, you are falling way behind the rest of the group.
3. You actually thought you could go on a trek here? BAHAHAHAHAHA.
4. Why yes, we have leeches. And spiders as big as your face. (Take that, Australia)
5. Yak Cheese is not Cheddar
6. Yak Butter is not butter
7. The Holy Trinity – Pepto, Immodium and extra soft toilet paper
8. Our mountains make your mountains look like crap.
Okay. Seriously though. Nepal taught me that I can use a squat toilet (though I still hate it) and that I can even pee outside when there is no alternative (also not for me but the view was beautiful). It taught me that I can kill bugs when there is no one else there to do it for me, and that I can actually sleep in a hotel room full of lizards. And even if hiking isn’t my thing, I can still accomplish some fairly decent hikes in order to see the Himalayas, and it was worth it. I can also happily pay $200 and get up at 5:30am for the Mountain Flight that takes you to Everest and back. I can find where I am going and get there in a taxi even if my Nepali is non-existent and the taxi driver’s English is limited, and there is no address.
Nepal has made me a stronger person, a more understanding person. As my first post, it’s the lens through which I will view all the rest of them. Thank you, Nepal, for teaching me some very important lessons. Perhaps we will meet again some day. I look forward to hearing about your progress and successes, and celebrating them from a far.