Today 2 years ago I got on a plane to Kathmandu. It was January 12th, 2010 and it was a tough day.
I knew I was leaving for 3 years and I wasn’t sure when I’d be back again.
I was leaving with the recently learned, painful lesson that following God means giving up your own desires.
I was leaving by myself, to a place I didn’t know anyone.
I was leaving my family behind.
But fear, sadness, pain and doubt are not always meant to tell us we’re going in the wrong direction. Because through all that, I sensed something else in my heart, too – Nepal was where I was headed, and nothing would change that.
It’s strange how such a strong conviction can go together with doubt sometimes.
I’m not sure why I’ve had such a great time in Nepal, so far. I’m not sure why I love living here so much.
Learning Nepali was hard and humbling but at the same time exciting and rewarding.
Eating tons of rice, especially in the first year, was sometimes boring but made the weekly Western meal that much more delicious.
Living with just Nepalis in the first year was tiring and confusing, but it built friendships that will last.
Over the past 2 years, I have learned a lot. Like how to cut grass. And how to make momo’s.
First I learned how the bus system works in Pokhara, and how not to get ripped off, then I learned the taxi driver’s tricks in how to make you pay more (“didi, this road is so bad!”), then I learned how to ride a bicycle in Nepal (very different than riding one in the Netherlands), and then how to ride a motorcycle.
I learned to truly appreciate Dutch coffee, liquorice, chocolate, cookies and candy.
I learned how to bake when the power can be cut off any moment, when the sugar crystals are too big and when half of the ingredients that are needed, are not available.
I learned how to use Skype despite power cuts and a crappy internet connection (the latter not just here, but in Sweden as well).
I learned how to talk to the ‘thulo maanche’ (a.k.a. big shot) to get what I want (drinking a cup of tea and commenting on the importance of his work is a good start).
I learned – no, I AM learning how important it is to take time to do your friend a favor. It will not be forgotten, and it’s okay to be late for something else you were planning on doing.
I learned how mountains speak of God’s glory. It’s true. They do.
I learned to be patient and wait for God’s directions when all I wanted was get up and go. Learning patience has brought me to where I am now – there’s some stories I can share about this.
I have learned that writing makes me understand the world around me.
Happy 2 years to myself.
Here’s to the next one :)