The End of September: An Update

Boudhanath on a rainy day

I figured that I should mix up the flow of this blog from time to time, so instead of an attempt at philosophical thought and introspection this will be an attempt at updating everyone on how the first month of Nepal has gone so far.

I’ve been in Nepal now for about a month, which is surprising to think about given how much has happened so far. To begin, almost immediately I went back to Her Farm in the Dhading District of Nepal. For those that don’t know, this is where I lived the first time I was in Nepal five years ago. It is crazy to think about how much has changed in that time, both with the farm and with me. Her Farm has transformed greatly from this small farm with a handful of women living at it. I remember when it was two houses, a bunch of farm land, and two holes that I built. (Side note: not-hole, the first hole I built that was not sufficient for what we needed the hole for, is still there are going strong.) These days the farm has many women and many buildings there. A lot of the people I knew at the farm throughout the years have moved on, which is in-part sad, but I’m happy and hopeful for those that have chosen to transition to a life post-farm and wish them all the best. The layout of the grounds feels very different, and waves of nostalgia hit me for the few days that I was there. To plant millet again, to laugh and remember how timid and shy I was; it was a wonderful beginning to my time back in this country that I have so many connections to.

Planting millet at Her Farm

After a brief stint at Her Farm, I came back for orientation with the Oda Foundation. Around the time I arrived in Kathmandu from the Dhading district, my hand started to hurt and had a noticeable infection starting on the backside. Given my wonderful experience with MRSA in May, I kept an eye on the infection. The day before meeting everyone and getting situated with Oda, I went to the hospital where they informed me I had a sebaceous cyst which had become infected. After a quick “surgery,” a long round of antibiotics, and a few too many medical bills, I found out that I had MRSA again. Now, as I get ready for leaving Kathmandu, the cyst has finally healed and there are no signs of more infection. This surgery honestly was a very frustrating setback for me, of which there have been many. To come here and be in the city and get an infection is concerning for when I’ll be living more remotely. Also there is nothing that draws more attention than a giant, over the top bandage.

The nurse was a little excessive with the bandaging

As the month progressed, so did my luck with unforeseen setbacks. My computer’s battery died. This stressed me out significantly and I sincerely apologise to Oda’s other fellows, Anmol and Tanisha. I definitely directed my stress and frustration onto them unfairly; unnecessarily fretting about how much it would cost to fix my computer and then learning that financially I’m incapable of fixing it at this time. Given that I was hoping to try to make some money online to try to have an attempt at an income in Oda, this was not what I wanted to hear. However, as always, Uncle Scott has come to the rescue and has given me his backup computer for the time being. I’m overly fortunate to have connections like this throughout Nepal and don’t think I’d ever have the ease I have in Nepal without The Mountain Fund and the Khumbu Climbing Center. I’ll always be grateful for how compassionate the Mountain Fund has been to me. Everyone associated has helped shape me into the person I am today.

Due to the handful of setbacks and the struggles of transitioning to living in Nepal again, I feel as though I have not been as open and accepting as I should be. Perhaps part of this is transitioning from the Bozeman climbing culture – one that I personally feel places people in egotistical battles and constantly questioning whether they’re accepted of not – or because my lifestyle has completely flipped from what is normal. In Bozeman, I felt as though I had to build up walls and my presence to seem “worthy” to the community. Here, so out of my element through tripping over the Nepali language, I feel as though those barriers still exist. It is taking effort to open up, to have fun, to relax again. I know that as I transition it should get easier; I’ll readjust to the culture, find where I feel comfortable and how to interact with others. However, it has been frustrating feeling like I’m holding myself back with it all.

Bus passengers and a cow

Since I feel this way, I’m truly ecstatic to head to the village Oda. To be in a place where I’m interacting with the same people day in and day out – Oda will help me build confidence and start to open up again. I leave tomorrow for Oda. It’s just a quick flight and twelve hour jeep ride, followed by a leisurely three hour walk. Mellow, close, practically urban. Having a little more structure outside of choking on my tongue while incorrectly speaking Nepali will be enjoyable, as will being in a less chaotic (or rather differently chaotic) environment. Here’s to the next step!

Making momos with Nisha didi and Tanisha (and Anmol and Nishako shriman)
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