Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to bathe in*

Three days of rain has done nothing to remedy the lack of running water my family has experienced since Friday. It’s not a big deal, really, since they have stores of water saved up for occasions just such as this. Plus, the water’s poisonous to me anyway. The only problem is I was away this weekend and didn’t do my laundry, so my supply of clean…anything, is on its last legs. Fortunately, I got my hair dreaded this weekend so I don’t have to worry about washing that for another few days. My host family and my real family have surprisingly parallel reactions to my new do: we liked your old hair better. My two year old host sister is terrified of my locks, and the family uses them to scare her into doing things—she only listens to edible bribes or spooky threats, the second category under which my hair now falls, right up there with stringing nettles (which they pick outside the house and chase her with) and mice. Speaking of which, we caught a mouse last night, but not the one that likes to chew my door at night. Maybe next time.

            Class keeps on keeping on, Tibetan is making progress (I learned how to read last week!), and the other students and I have found ways to amuse ourselves in this town that goes to sleep at sunset. Everyday after school we head to a café and discuss the events of the day, complete our homework together, and sometimes talk about “real life.” Weekends are full of excursions to sites around Kathmandu and trips to Thamel, the shopping/tourist district. Most of us share the love-hate relationship we have with this program and this place—so monotonous, but so interesting; so dirty, but so intriguing. Every day brings new waves of emotions rocked unexplainably toward one side of the other: one day you effortlessly find the beauty in everything, the next you’re walking around with your own personal rain cloud. Despite this see-saw we’re all stokked to be here and getting really excited for out independent study projects. After a month in Bhutan we get to go off on our own and study a topic of our choice, composing a forty page academic paper about what we’ve discovered. Luckily for me I’ve done this five times already; as a packet for Goddard consists of largely the same outline and results. Thus, I am very excited to get out of the classroom and back into the world, never looking back. For those of you who supported my decision to leave the classroom in the first place and transfer to Goddard, thank you!
            So I’ll wade my way home through the sticky swamp in our program house’s front yard, made so by the trash the plugs the drains in all the streets and the unfortunate doggy-doo that mixes with the standing water in our front yard and try not to see it as it is, but instead as an adventure. Our director told us that our experiences over these four months are the equivalent to four years in “real life,” and it certainly feels so. Despite the lack of night life there’s never a dull moment, whether it’s maneuvering your way through the crowded streets swelled with pilgrims and immigrants from the frozen mountains or trying to catch a word shot back and forth in speedy Tibetan at dinner. Like the rain, like my classes, I keep on keeping on, trying to savor every moment and look at life with starry eyes like I know I’ll look back on it. And even on the days when I can’t, I sure enjoy the rain.

*for any English majors out there, sorry for the use of a preopsition at the end of a sentence. "Water, water everywhere and not a drop in which to bathe" doesn't sound quite as good.

1 comment:

  1. I love following you on this blog, Andrea. It may be my only opportunity to visit Nepal...through your eyes. Keep up the blogging. Love it.