Arrival

The first week in a new country is bound to be full of adventure. This, of course, is no exception. Between the noisy traffic, downed power lines and demolished sidewalks, just getting around town presents a whole new level of difficulty. Each day I’ve been wandering a bit through the surrounding neighborhoods, slowly gaining a sense of the layout. It bears mention that none of the streets have names, so everyone instead reckons by landmarks (“The ATM? It’s just a few shops down from that three-way branch point near the Moksh bookstore; you know, by the local spot we showed you with great Nepali chiya [chai]…”)

As fun as that has been, though, the most enjoyable part about life here is the community. There is a vibrant ex-pat community thriving in Kathmandu, and already I’ve had a chance to share meals and Settlers-of-Catan nights with new friends from all over the world — England, Scotland and Northern Ireland; Australia, Holland, Norway and the USA; Hong Kong, Myanmar, South Korea, and (of course) Nepal. Last weekend, I joined a UMN family living down the road for an impressive 6-hour jaunt over one of the “hills” at the outskirts of the city (we ascended to some 6,000 feet). Admittedly, it was quite a bit more impressive that the two 7-year-olds in our party were able to keep up!

Other things are different from home, too: an abundance of (air & noise) pollution, indiscernible traffic patterns, the colloquial smells of wood-fires and rain-drenched mud, the clucks of squabbling hens and cooing pigeons outside my bedroom window. At this moment, I can hear sounds of dogs barking, roosters crowing, and the cries of peddlers as they walk the streets, calling out in long, low, melodic syllables. I have yet to discover much that IS familiar, actually! Yet for all that, there is also the distinct feel of what I can only call “latent nostalgia” — as though it’s not difficult to imagine growing very fond of this place, to eventually feel it quite familiar and dear. Everywhere I look, clothes and carpets are draped in colorful banners, my Nepali neighbors are hanging laundry and sweeping their decks with stick-brooms, and a cool breeze wafts down into the valley.

Through the eyes of a newcomer, to whom everything is unusual and fresh and filled with wonder, it is quite a beautiful site. (Jet-lag notwithstanding.)

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5 thoughts on “Arrival

  1. Thank you, Rebecca. Your account makes the experiences you are having so clear for those of us who sit at home in our comforts which we take for granted. Doug and. I are praying for you and the ministry He has called you to do.

  2. The picture of the prayer flags is a blog entry of its own. We all have questions, needs, hopes. We all hope there is someone listening to us.

  3. Thanks so much for sending us the pictures, as well as the detailed impressions. The prayer flags are unique and beautiful. They are personal revelations held high just like national flags representing the values and treasures of the heart.

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