Saturday, May 2, 2015
Monday, December 15, 2014
Thursday, January 16, 2014
This was the view (that we only saw once because of clouds) that was right outside the window of my room in Dhulikhel. If you squint your eyes you can see them: the Himalayas.
Traffic in Nepal is awesome. It's like a complicated, high-speed dance with far too many participants. While there are tons of traffic accidents, Nepali drivers are incredibly skilled and much politer than American drivers. They beep at each other constantly, which I first interpreted as impatient bullying (as it seems to be in the States), but it's actually a quiet reminder, a "Hey, I'm right here", a light hand placed on the back of a stranger so they know you're trying to sneak past. They do a light beep when they go around curves in the road, when they pass another vehicle (which they do constantly), or (my favorite) when they pass another vehicle while going around a curve (if that doesn't get you to pay attention, I don't know what will... maybe the cows sitting in the middle of the highway...). It's a thrill to watch how close your taxi can get to another car (not inches, but an inch. whoa).
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Over the past few months, I have been interacting somewhat constantly with loss. Not the permanent kind of loss that death brings, but temporary versions—of friends, of opportunities, of time.
The stages of these losses have been throwing me constant curveballs. Most days, if my mind and body are occupied elsewhere (like playing Frisbee—I just joined Smith’s Ultimate team!!), I can pretty much forget entirely the chunk of myself that is missing. I feel whole, so much so that I can jump high without looking to where I’ll land, saying an enthusiastic “yes!” to questions I don’t know the answers to.
But other days, unfortunately like today, when the factors shift ever so slightly, a switch, that try as I might I cannot find, is flicked. A chute is opened and my stomach plummets at break-neck speed down to my knees. And there it rests, in the uncomfortable sharp bends of my legs, poked every so often by large and lonely pieces of titanium, of bone.
The knee-area is not a place that my stomach enjoys. It’s not used to being so far from its comforts, and complains loudly and with so much gusto that my mind is unable to focus on much else.
I turn into that needy, insecure version of myself that we all have and are all ashamed of.
But through it all, there is that one section of my brain—the strong and weathered part—that remembers what the light at the end of the tunnel looks like. While the rest of me is clinging desperately to blurry memories of warmth and comfort, this part whips into action, grasping at straws of hope, collecting enough of them to weave together a delicate rope. When the rope is finished, this beautifully grayed Captain Call of my brain, without whom I would drown in sorrow, will pass it down carefully--past my heart, my lungs, my empty abdomen-- to my stomach, who will crawl, hand-over-hand, past the femur, the hips, back to its cozy belly-button home.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Obviously, a lot has changed since my last post. I’m in the Hong Kong International Airport en route to Boston Logan, and have eaten less in the past five days than I eat in two under normal circumstances (50% of my food consumption being Cascadian Farm Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars, which I fear I can never eat again…). I'm goin' home.
But before I get to the bad stuff, let me get a few things straight. Nepal is amazing—I cannot wait to go back. The people I met there, both Nepali and American, were absolutely fantastic and it is them that I will miss the most. SIT as a whole was wonderful. But I just couldn’t handle it altogether. I can’t explain it fully (although I’ll try), but the combination of being so far from home for such a long period of time in such a foreign and complex (and beautiful) culture while participating in a rigorous academic program was too much for me. I have never been abroad by myself, have never been to Asia (which, let me tell you, is FAR AWAY in so many ways), and I have never been in a situation in which I couldn’t talk to my family for an extended period of time—well, except for Interlocken when I was 12, but let’s not get into that now, shall we?
What this combination resulted in was a panic attack whose multitude was unlike any I have ever experienced. I have never been so scared in my life, never felt so out of control of my body, never felt so far from home. My stomach was out of control with anxiety—the only way I could eat was to pace back and forth outside my room like a crazy person, taking five to ten minutes to eat a single almond.
I was really embarrassed about how out of control my emotions (and my stomach) I was, but the other students on my program were amazing. They brought me out of my room to try and get me to eat dinner with them, rubbed my back when I cried because I couldn’t eat a spoonful of rice, and never gave me a reason to believe that they were judging me nearly as harshly as I was judging myself.
But I'm coming home. I let panic take me before the country even had a chance to woo me, and everything has happened so fast that I haven't quite had time to think. I certainly won't pretend that I don’t wish things turned out differently. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am disappointed in myself. I think that at every point during this experience, I have done the best I could under the circumstances and I am proud of how I handled myself, even when I had snot dripping out of my nose and was throwing up in the bushes. My grandfather told my mom a Faulkner quote that has really been helping me cope with these feelings of guilt and regret after having "quit"—he said something along the lines of: “It takes great courage to quit when you are behind”.
Going back to Smith for the semester is going to be really hard—I’m not looking forward to the looks of shock from my friends when they see me in the library, and the awkward explanations of why I’m on this continent. And I don’t know how I’m going to catch up on jetlag and classes at the same time, going right from my 15-hour flight from Hong Kong to Smith’s Bannerweb to sign up for classes. But when it comes down to it, I’m just so excited I’m going to be able to see the leaves change after all, and that I’m going to be able to hug my momma tomorrow, that I’m not going to think about much else.
I’ll keep you posted on the goings-on in my now very different fall semester, and I’m going to try and post some of my wonderful experiences from Nepal.
Love to you all!