For the last 3 months I’ve been on the road almost every week, staying a maximum of 7 days at one time in one place. As I do this I’m “leaving a piece of my heart in every place” a special person told me. I’ve created and developed new families in the same country living in total opposite worlds.
The rural life – Gaule life
The kids & school. Waking up at Maya, whether it’s in the village home or volunteer house, gives me great joy. The excitement I see on the children’s faces when they see you approaching the kitchen to try be the first to greet you a good morning and jump on you for a morning hug…. This is priceless. Their enthusiasm to learn about everything and anything under the sun gives me so much joy and gratitude to have them part of my life.
The Adhikari Family. They’ve adopted me to be part of their family and I simply love hanging out at their house and shop. When I was in Nepal in September 2014 I spent one month living in one of their family’s homes in the village, just next door to their own. This is when we got closer. I built a very strong connection with mum and grandmother, despite the language barriers. Anita, their recently wed daughter, used to practice her English with me and we’d talk about random stuff going on. Her smile always so contagious. (There’s more about her in my previous post)
Nikis family. When I moved into the village (with the intention of staying there to spend more rural quality time and getting to speak Nepali…fail!) they all welcomed me in. I got a few laughs about how I only filled half a gargiri (cylinder used to carry water) because it was too heavy or how they would find me blowing at and struggling to light fire in the morning because the wood I had was wet. Living in this village made me appreciate family and community life so much more. They all look out for each other. They work towards the same goals and upkeep their space.
Pujas are celebrated for many reasons…. First time the baby eats rice, birthdays, sacrifices / fasting periods. It’s a long night of tika putting, raksi drinking, singing and dancing
The volunteers. Apart from the life I’m building outside of Maya, the volunteers are my ‘go to’ people. They’re the people I work with, live with, share experiences with, give advice to, lead. We are another family which is constantly changing. For the first time I’m at Maya for a long time. It feels like you invest a lot of time and energy to raise and breed the Maya attitude and right thought processes in these strangers who arrive, to leave as family and friends into the world and are replaced by another batch of strangers. The amazing part is that each one leaves feeling a bit more like a Mayan*. So whether they are still in Nepal at the school, or have continued their journey elsewhere, we have set up a massive network of Mayans sharing similar experiences and sharing similar ideologies to make our world a better place. The Maya family, ever growing, ever changing !
*we refer to Maya volunteers as Mayans
The city life
… What to say? Where to start from?!
The comforts. So you’d think that one has more luxury living in the city right? wrong!. Load shedding in Nepal is worse in Kathmandu than in our village. This leads to a lack of water supply being pumped, devices not being charged so less work done in the day and … Well I can go on. A big BUT in this story is, better food, choice, normality (not quite sure if this is a positive or negative aspect!! What is normal?!) I could consider myself lucky to have two families and homes in Kathmandu where I could live. So this makes the fight between rural life and city life so difficult.
Robin, my colleague and friend for the last 5 months. Together through rural life and city life struggles, Budget struggles and differences in ideas and opinion about many things!! Here we sit taking a selfie in a fancy Kathmandu hotel waiting for one of our last meetings together, taken for Clara, a German volunteer.
The biggest challenges are leaving the people I meet, the constant traveling on the highway between the village and Kathmandu, the contrast of feeling settled in the country but not in one place! Making so many places my home but none of them actually home.
The balance? Where is home?
They’re all homes. Each home has a special place in my heart. And in each place I love the people I share the space with. Whether it’s in the village, in Kathmandu or in Malta, I feel grateful that I have so many people ready to open their doors for me.