Saturday, Jan. 3, 12:58AM
Song: The Oracle Said Wander by Sufjan Stevens
Tonight around 9 I went up to the roof to do some star gazing. I was surprised to find instead a thick blanket of fog, and you could barely see the giant trees, many times taller than our hotel, towering above us like giant phantoms. I could count each and every ghostly glowing globe, 7 in all… only 7 points of light in all of this big little city. The fog isn’t at all uncommon in these flat lands of southern Nepal, but I forgot. I think that I’ve felt so “stuck” in this town that I’ve forgotten to make the most of this unlikely Home on the edge of Nowhere, between Beautiful Nepal and Mysterious India.
I think that for the last few days I’ve had a small case of the winter blues, when the weather finally becomes all dull and cloudy, the temperature plummets, the wind picks up and you can’t seem to ever stay warm enough. (Imagine taking a cold shower in the cold!) And my list of woes was growing: I was getting bored, the routine was getting monotonous, I lost my appetite for Nepali food, we were stuck in Purgatory, we our New Years went out with a nary a ‘pop’ but more like a ‘poof'”.
I was sore with another thing too. When we got word from the girls that we would be waiting an additional 4 days on top of the week we had almost finally waited-out, my heart sunk. I’ve already spent Christmas, a week and the Battle of Good vs. Evil with My Bowels, and New Years sitting on this bed in this hotel room. What would we do now? Feeling exasperated, we slept on it. Next morning I woke up with clear conviction: I was sick of feeling helplessly stuck in a shit place, and in the spirit of traveling I wanted to push on to India, where we could visit the Taj Mahal on the way to New Delhi, where we’re eventually going to meet our friends after this fiasco is behind us. Happy again, I started scheming and making preparations… only thing I had to do was convince Jamey. I couldn’t and so with a heavy heart I conceded, choosing to play it safe and stay in good ol’ Mahendranagar.
I decided that if I couldn’t change my surroundings then I’d have to change my attitude. So I made a couple lists to keep me going, one of Positive Things and the other “Things to Do (so I don’t go Mad)”. After a productive day I picked up a bottle of wine to take myself on a date, watched Howe’s Moving Castle, and wrote a love letter. Today the weather was nice, I did a lot of things on my To Do list, including taking a long bike ride out into the nearby country in the sunshine. We saw many cute cows, one especially hilarious goat, a watched a 9-pack of adorable piglets chasing each other all around the yard.
These last few days, as Jamey and I rode around town, hitting up all our usual spots, we were Regulars. At dusk I saw the same baby cow waiting patiently at the doorstep of its favorite shop (for food I believe!) Now I finally understand the expression about the cows coming home! It’s funny to me that we have carved our own little niche in this random and unlikely little town, and how our mundane rituals here have provided, for the time being, a form of Home. On the flip side, as I was hanging my hand-washed laundry out to dry on the roof this morning I bent over and saw the oh-too-familiar surrounding skyline from upside down. Awestruck by its unfamiliarity, I was once-again reminded that I am in Nepal, and it made me very happy that this place I know so well is still an interesting and foreign place when I have eyes to see it. It’s amazing how quickly you can get used to things!
As a final note, another positive thing about this week is that I’ve had a lot of time to think. Yesterday I was thinking about Home. And today I was thinking about Time. The one thing we have identified so far as the strongest Negative Force on our trip is dealing with any time constraints, which adds needless pressure and sucks out the fun. I don’t think I would have been so impatient this week if I didn’t feel like my time on this trip is running out. But is it? Do I really only have 4 months left or did I just take an arbitrary measure of it along with me? Can I go home and get more? Or do I even have to? These are the tough questions worth asking when you have time to think!