torstai 18. kesäkuuta 2015

Countdown to going home

The end is neigh! And I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I cannot wait to see all my friends and family and let their minds be at ease after a couple of very tumultuous months in Nepal recently. Then, on the other hand, there are so many things I will miss from this country.

The disrupted procession of the chariot of Rato Machhindranath near Bungamati, observed ever 12 years. 
I walked down the street today in Ekantakuna, the neighbourhood where I live and keep spotting places I want to visit but will not have time to do so. I felt the same walking around my office neighbourhood with Hanna in Bhaisepati later on during the day.

Rontti, my dog friend
I want to keep having lunches with a street dog that I befriended, Rontti, who curls up behind by back after lunch and presses its hot nose against the small of my back; to keep having the lunches that didi makes at the office that make me feel like I am eating in a nice restaurant every single day; to make my Nepali teacher Deepa laugh at me trying to remember chili in Nepali (kursaani) or the past tense conjugation of verbs and fail every bloody time; to enjoy a Newari dinner complete with a little bit of raksi or chhaang, sitting on the floor of a run-down, dusty building that serves excellent food for virtually no money at all; to sing Finnish and Argentinian tangos in random bars as a guest singer with the Immigrants as the night falls in Kathmandu; to sit on the rooftops with people from all over the world and raise a glass of two with my friends here; to sit at the back of a motorcycle, hair flowing free in the air as we cruise by; to chat with my colleagues in the backyard of the office during lunch hour; and to observe dozens of celebrations that take place each year.

My beloved kurta
And how will I be able to fall asleep without the sounds of street dogs barking all throughout the night? Will I ever find clothes as comfortable as my beloved Nepali outfit of kurta-suruwal (tunic and loose pants) that I can wear at the office? How to keep my new-found love of a stretchy concept of time (i.e. Nepali time) and of a life more laid-back that I know it will be back home? And how I can get used to the idea that the  yoga, salsa and zumba classes that I love, suddenly turn unaffordable as I return home?
Coming to Nepal five months ago, I knew little what to expect. I most certainly did not know I would face an event like the earthquake that devastated the country and made me want to tattoo that date onto my skin forever lest I forget.

There were, and are, times when I fail to understand this country and it drives me crazy. But more often there are times when I feel so much love that it feels like my heart is going to burst. Land of opposites, in all the ways possible.

One of the first blogs posts I wrote for this blog started with a quote from Moomin book, Moominvalley in November. It reads: "There are those who stay at home and those who go away, and it has always been so. Everyone can choose for himself, but he must choose while there is still time and never change his mind.” It is a sentence that has taken me abroad to live eight times already.

This coming Sunday, very early in the morning I bid farewell to the snowy tops of the Himalayas that one too rarely sees rise up in the horizon.  As the moment of leaving Nepal creeps closer and a closer each passing hour, I have another Moomin quote stuck in my head: "One must first leave in order to return".

And return I will.

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