Last night, lying under my mosquito net and an energetic overhead fan, I watched as a beautiful purnima, full moon rose outside my window. I reflected on the fact that it is just under 40 years since my first trip to this country when I travelled as a teenager trekking with my adventurous parents and sister. In astonishing flared jeans. I’d really just wanted to go to Norah Head again to swim!
Instead, we trekked from Pokhara because at that stage there was no road beyond it, and I fell in love with this place. I came back to Australia, read weighty Nepali anthropological tomes by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf and determined to live here one day. Which I did eventually and still do…albeit intermittently.
It is now the very small hours of the morning on May 4. In a few hours I will begin my journey back to broken Kathmandu and, all things being equal, home. The new normal. Yesterday, I farewelled the incredible ladies with whose lives mine has become so intertwined. We cried, we laughed, we planned. We discussed the marvel of having a husband (in my case!) who cooks and cleans and encourages from afar. Aphle pakaune! We discussed hot flushes, recipes, internal organs, and looked at videos of mero natini, Zoe. We ate sweets and we talked about courage, about doing things even when you are scared. About being open, awake and strong and we talked again about a quote by Frank L. Baum my mum sent me earlier in the week:
All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.
So, in these wee small hours, nothing profound, just deep joy to be alive.