Here I am with one moment to take a breath. Life got busy, back here in the real world and now that I've been home for two weeks I'm starting to really miss that place I called home all summer long. My roommate and I burned incense last night and I just sat sniffing the box it came out of because, well because it was just so Nepal. I'm holding on to the little things that remind me of that great place and all those adventures.
People keep asking "How were your travels?" I think because no one can remember Nepal. It makes me sad, and then I answer "It was good." I don't know what else to say in such a short hand conversation. It sucked, I cried, It was beautiful, I laughed, I got blisters, I breathed the pollution in, I held the zippers closed on my back pack everywhere I went, I learned how to appropriately and not so appropriately use the phrase "chaidayna," I took a zillion pictures, I ate delicious food, and the worst food of my life, I got bitten by spiders, I drank tea, it was amazing, it was awful,- that's the truth. It sucked. It was the best time of my life. It was both. It sucked while being the best time of my life. It's possible to be both. That's the truth. It was no butterflies and rainbows, but I saw butterflies and rainbows. Am I making sense here?
The hard part is people want you to cry over being back, they want to hear you're counting down the days to go back. But I'm not. I'd go back, I would. But I need some time. I need time to think and process and let the frustration cleanse out of my system. I know everyone wants to think travel is glamorous and nothing more than a great time, but that isn't reality. Travel is nearly the opposite of glamour, or at least what I experienced of Nepal and India this summer were. But- what I think makes a person who loves travel is someone who loves traveling even though it comes with all the dirty crap, the puddles, the taxis whose doors swing open while you're in them, the spider bites that you think might be cause for full limb amputation, the allergies, the experience of eating nothing but dhal bhat, the lies, the manipulation, the constantly being ripped off, the publicly being touched, and the running to jump on a moving bus, the really really crappy stuff, and I still can't wait to travel the world.
So even though you all want to hear how magnificent Monkey Temple was, here is what I, someone who lived just a few miles from it all summer have to say: Monkey Temple is also known as Swayambunath Stupa. Buddhist Monks live and pray there. There happen to be lots of entertaining monkeys. The view is beautiful. People who look like tourists get charged to go in. If you are white, latino, arab, or chinese looking- you're out of luck. All of the shop owners are trying to play mind games with you and swindle you out of money. The monks themselves aren't always true to what you might think core Buddhist values may be, but let's not get into that. Taxi drivers wait at the bottom of the steps to drive tourists at prices sometimes even five or six times the actual cost. Those taxi drivers can't read english, nor really speak it. Women, except tourists, aren't really seen there all that often, if they are Nepali they are most likely found in a corner on a date making out and this holy site. Women once married around the common ages of 19 or 20 are expected to not leave the home. Homeless children run out the hills of the stupa all day long looking for tourists to beg from. --So while you want to see my touristy photos and talk about the monkeys, I want to remind you all that my heart is heavy for Nepal because I didn't just visit, I lived there, and I know just how broken that beautiful place is.
It was great. It was awful. The best time of my life, and the really not so greatest time of my life. All rolled into one. So, don't think of me poorly for being an aware world traveller. I'm not in desperate desire to see the fake parts of the world. I stood at Boudhannath Stupa and watched naked babies run around on burning hot bricks in the middle of the day. I stood at Boudhannath yes, and well let's all admit that is pretty stinking awesome, but please remember I stood at Boudhannath watching naked babies who clearly hadn't had baths run around on burning hot bricks in the middle of the day. I don't have the Eiffel Tower and The Great Wall of China on my bucket list. I have the people of the world, and the languages, and the food, and the struggles, and the laughter, and the joy, and the tears, the brokenness and the beauty on my bucket list. That's the truth.
Now that I've managed to devote way too much time to this- I'm on the run again! Back to life here in the US of A. Until next time my lovely blog readers!
Keep an eye out for a Morocco blog possibly coming in the next few months!