I leave Kathmandu in one week, but nostalgia has already set in. For three months, I walked from my room in Thapathali, across the Dhobi Khola, through Buddhanagar to the blue gate of the Jagaran Media Center. I’ve grown familiar with this commute: I know where last night’s rains will puddle, I recognize the calls of the vegetable sellers, I know by sight the dogs that hang around the butcher shop. I am no longer just a visitor; an abbreviated life has taken a shape here.
This existence will end soon and I’ll return to a life already in progress in the United States. I’ll have pictures and movies to show friends and family. They’ll ask questions and I might develop a few anecdotal travel stories. Perhaps in time I’ll even pine over the restaurants I frequented on Naya Baneshwor, even though I once found a cockroach leg in my after-dinner sugar cubes. I wonder: will I miss the sound of dogs waking me at night, of children playing, of traffic horns? Will I miss the smells of masala and tumeric, of shit and urine, of black tea and motorcycle exhaust?
Those Nepalis with enough English vocabulary ask me what I like most about Nepal. I’ve answered with vague foreigner responses like the food, or the mountains, or the people. They usually smile and our exchange ends there. I don’t explain that I have come to know the real struggles of individuals who I had not known a few months ago. Nepalis who have become friends of mine have invited me into their lives, if only for a brief moment, without the fear of getting hurt. For us, we have a friendship with a set beginning and end, formalized with plane reservations, foreign investments and university semesters. The opportunity to know, to connect with someone if only briefly who would have otherwise passed through this life unknown to me on the opposite side of the world, will remain with me forever.
Posted By Therkelsen
Posted Aug 10th, 2008