Only a week ago I was sat in an old pub at the top of what I thought was a mountain (I’ve since been told it was just a hill) drinking cheap wine and predicting football goals until the early hours. It’s fair to say that seems a lifetime ago.
The week that’s followed has been pretty busy, and between us we’re managing to get through quite a list of things…
- We met possibly one of the worlds most inappropriate monks (I’ve not met many so my benchmark is limited) Visiting his monastery was an enlightening experience for one member of our group, who he followed around for a while before asking if she had Facebook… It was only a few days later when we met up with some more volunteers that we found out he’d done the same to one of them. Needless to say there were some tears and shattered dreams.
- Two of us brown (it really can’t be described as white) water rafted down the river Trisuli, taking just over 2 hours to cover 15km.. it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, even though when I went to bed I felt like a loose sock on a fast spin
- I sought out and used my first squatty potty. Despite there being “normal” toilets next door, I thought it would be a fun and essential part of my Nepalese experience. Other than the acrid smell of urine that’s just about cleared from my nostrils, it wasn’t so bad – a solid four out of ten I would say
- I held a praying mantis that had decided to climb my travel companions leg. I really thought we’d bonded as he moved his head in the same direction as mine, mirroring my every move. Turns out he was just planning his attack, which only became obvious when he jumped in my face… shame, I really thought we could be friends
- We walked to the top of another mountain (read hill) to get a view of Pokhara at the peace pagoda. I foolishly chose to wear a grey t-shirt (and believe the woman who took pity on us and told us “only 5 more minutes” as she was on her way down) I had an almost perfect rucksack shaped sweat imprint on my back when we finally got down to the van. It’s fair to say my princess days are well and truly over
- I conquered my fear of bridges by crossing the highest (or possibly longest? Or possibly both?) suspension bridge in Pokhara. I seem to have lost all sorts of fears I once had and possibly foolishly now believe I can do anything… Paragliding is booked for Saturday. If I don’t make it, my insect repellant band has been bagsied (which despite my initial review has turned out to be more effective than most other methods) and I’m sure someone will make use of my many pairs of elephant trousers…
But better than any of this, I’m now three days into my volunteering work and I absolutely love it. Crammed into a 9 foot by 6 foot space with 8 women and 6 other volunteers, in 30 degree heat with no fan, is cosy to say the least, but it’s that which makes it so real. I wish everyone could experience what I am now, I don’t think there’s a better way of bringing home how incredibly lucky we are.
One of my fellow volunteers told me a heart warming story of her pupil and a lesson they did together about describing emotions. She’d asked her to talk about a time when she had been sad. Her simple answer was “I’m never sad”. This woman has so little in the way of material possessions, but what she does have is a true appreciation of life, love and family, which is something money simply can’t buy.
My ladies called Ganga, a 53 year old Yoga teacher with an incredible sense of fun and a mischievous glint in her eye. She’s so keen to learn, I think at one point she actually nearly melted my heart. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan already.
Incredible to believe I’m already two weeks into my time here. I wasn’t expecting Nepal, but I really get the sense that Nepal was expecting me.
Namaste beautiful friends 🙏🏻 x