8/11 Aaaand back.

Today I found myself walking along a little muddy path strewn with broken bricks to provide footholds in the slick, with wholeheartedly green vegetation on both sides.  The leaves are so exuberant that I can’t just call them leaves, they demand the respect of “vegetation.”  Or maybe “habitat.”

There were voices coming from a small house on my left, light and warm rain on my forehead, and the chicken-coup noises of the school I had just left dwindling on my right, where I had half a dozen fantastic classes.  I could have brainstormed and discussed being lost in the jungle with classes 6 or 7 for another hour each.  I survived class 8.  I could easily have spent another couple hours each in classes 9 and 10, talking about environmental problems, similes, metaphors, and dream analysis.  It was a great day.

Suddenly I remembered that I am in love with the world, and utterly blessed to be here.

How great is it to be someplace long enough to have emotional swings, frustration and recovery?  (Basically I had a ferocious man-period this month.  Normally my man-period just makes me more susceptible to sappy movies.)  My life here is not just constant enough to allow me “ups and downs,” but has lasted long enough to allow me frickin stages for crying out loud!

I may have mentioned previously my expat friend who told me about the stages of culture shock when you live for awhile somewhere different.  First you love everything, then you hate everything, then you reach the balance and can fairly evaluate it all.

It’s not always that clear-cut, but today I feel like I’m in the third section, and the music sounds sweet.

…Although come to think about it, I’m writing this right now because we had planned to spend the night in a little hill town nearby where you can watch the sun rise over the Himalayas and shine down over the Kathmandu Valley…but the bus drivers were stupidly greedy, trying to charge us four times what our host family told us the normal fare is, so we are staying here.  (And a quick peak at Lonely Planet warns that we would be lucky to get even a glimpse of anything during the monsoon season, and there’s nothing in the town otherwise.)

When these guys were looking at my skin and the small daypack on my back, and quadrupling the price, I was ready to pop their tires and go home.  So maybe I’m on the border between stages 2 and 3…

OH!  AND!  Tomorrow begins Gai Jatra, or Cow Festival!  It is 8 days long.
Day 1: sisters tie a special thread band on their brothers’ wrists.  K will be brother to our host family male, and his wife will be sister to me.  (I’ll try to bring you five of them, Cait!)
Day 2: Gai Jatra.  Too many interesting things to list here, I’ll try to cram them in a short enough blog afterwards.
Day 3-8: People openly criticize the government in skits and performances around town.

AND!  We awarded ourselves some relaxation time this summer, so we are spending next week in Pokhara, which is rumored to be absolutely gorgeous.  K is doing a yoga/meditation retreat and I am…I have no idea!  We’ll see!  If they have an internet place I’ll tell you about it.

Happy Gai Jatra everyone!