Nepal left me with bi-polar emotions. Its chaos masked its simplicity. Its bright colors opposed the constant dust. Its warm, inviting people seemed contrary to how they should be. From morning to night, I lived in my head, trying to figure out what this charming country was all about.
The photos shared below reflect the mindsets of us throughout our journeys. They consist of emotions from surprise, shock, joy, elation, and confusion. The truth is most of the time our expectations differ from reality.
Truthfully, I had few expectations of Nepal before I came there. It became a place I encountered due to timing and circumstance. My time volunteering there cemented the fact that I know I will make every effort to return to this beautiful country once more. Next time, I'm sure the faces capturing moments of thought will have changed.
How typical are these faces of a girls night out? The best part about conversation amongst good friends is how easy it is to speak and express yourself. As my friend of many years, Julie, wrote to me the other day in G chat, “I got your back, girl.”
“I have a million things to do, but I accidentally started playing a game of Angry Birds, and now I'm addicted. I can't stop. Help me get back to the things I should be doing.”
Food will forever be a driving factor of thought. You can see it in the hungry eyes of the customers. Our own hunger, driven by hours of exploring Kathmandu prior to volunteering, drove us to this food stall. Locals stalked it like flies. We stood slightly away, wondering whether we should chance eating here for fear of a stomach bug. One old man downing a samosa waved us in yelling, “Good! Good!” And, damn, was that dish good, and no Imodium was ever needed. I still stand by the fact that this was my favorite meal in Nepal.
Dance is when the body finds this perfect connection to the mind. Your brain doesn't even realize it, but its expressing itself through movement. For me, there is nothing more therapeutic. These girls here in the photo are dancing on the last day of the Tihar festival. Their confidence gleaned more than I had ever seen before during my home-stay with the family. Unequivocal joy.
As cheesy as it might sound- children are our future. While their antics might drive us crazy in one moment, they bring us an unadulterated happiness in the next. Our mission should never be to mold these little people to our perfect image, but rather to give them the tools to empower them to shape their own future.
“Holy shit, they're actually listening to me. Now I just got keep their attention.” No doubt that this has been a thought every teacher has had, just like the expression on this girl's face who was teaching English in Nepal.
“This seemed like a good idea at the time.”
"What do you mean we just started? How much further up this mountain do we have to go? What do you mean we have to go back down and then climb back up again? How is this thing even categorized as a hill?”
Why did I think, “Hey lets climb a mountain while volunteering abroad. That's a great idea.”
“I just climbed a mountain. This was the best idea ever. I can hardly recall how challenging the journey was to get here. Best moment ever.”