Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oops... I'm doing it again

I guess it's time to come clean. I love Nepal. It's true. But I guess it wouldn't be fair to characterize my trip here as merely another adventure in a foreign land. Because if it was, I wouldn't be spending my days so lazily. I'd be trekking in the Annapurna; safari-ing in the Terai; pilgrimage-ing to Lumbini... The truth is, I spend an awful lot of my time with just one person. A boy. And his family. And the truth is, I'm not sure that I would still be here if I wasn't spending so much time with this boy and his family.

This boy is, by the way, the one whom I briefly mentioned the last time I wrote about Nepal. He acted as a sort of personal guide and friend, whisking me away to interesting places rarely seen by tourists, inviting me to stay in his grandfather's village, providing comfort to me in a difficult time... And now, he is doing much of the same, only more. I usually eat dinner with his family. I am always hanging around his house. His mother, sisters and uncles go out of their way to help me and make me feel comfortable- even finding for me a place to live and work. (Oh yes, this is news. I've found a place to teach. Part-time-ish. No pay for now. I guess I'll renegotiate that in January if I stay here longer.) In truth I feel quite spoiled by his family. And very lucky to know them. Oh, what to do?

(Pardon me while I interrupt these thoughts to comment on the ginormous cockroach which is cleaning its antennae right next to where I sit. It's a bit distracting. I feel nauseous.)

I really, honestly, truly do not want a repeat of the same relationship events which happened in my not-so-distant past. I'm not sure that I'm repeating those mistakes (well, for one thing, this boy, he isn't married), but there are some aspects of this new relationship which frighten me. A lot . Do I really want to fall in love with someone who lives halfway around the world from my family? Do I really want to face (again) the difficulties that come with such different cultures? Aren't I crazy for trying this again when obviously it can end so disastrously?

But oh, this boy is wonderful. He's smart, extremely stubborn (oh it's a often battle of wills), somewhat serious, but also creative, generous, a talented singer, open-minded, eager for new experiences, loyal and loving with his family (who do no appear to be dysfunctional at all), and of course, we share many of the same political beliefs (though we argue a lot about politics)... He's a good person.

But still, I guess I feel a bit unsettled about this. Maybe it's the distance from my family. Maybe it's all of the uncertainty I feel about being in love again. Maybe I'm afraid of losing myself to this person the way I lost myself to Masum. I guess what ever it is, I'm learning to let it go. I'm trying to let it go. Because when I turn off my brain and appreciate what it is NOW, without thinking about the past or the future, it's amazing. And shouldn't we always feel amazing?

Monday, November 17, 2008

10 Days of Silence

So I missed the election. Totally missed it. I voted, yes, that's true, but on November the 4th, I turned up at a Vipassana meditation center in Kathmandu and for 10 days, didn't think about the election, that frightful Sarah Palin, the media circus or much else for that matter. Instead, I took a vow of silence, actually of noble silence, and discovered what it's like to be a monk. Every morning, I woke up at 4. I meditated from 4:30-6:30, ate breakfast, rested a while and then went back to the Dhamma hall for another 3 hours of meditation. In total, we spent about 10.5 hours a day meditating. With only a few hours free everyday, little food and zero communication, you might think that one would become quite depressed and lonely, but I have to admit that I felt freer and happier those 10 days than maybe ever.

It was hard work sitting. Painful. My hips and knees were burning. My ankles felt sprained. My mind wandered, day dreamed, planned, contemplated, and sometimes was so focused and concentrated that I got headaches. But somehow, all that pain turned into nearly pleasant sensations as I learned how to observe what my body is feeling on the gross level, and on a more subtle level, with equanimity.

The theory behind this practice is that if you can learn to re-train your mind to experience pain without judging or reacting to it, you can learn to deal with life's ups and downs with a balanced mind. If you can observe your own misery, you can come out of it. I think it works. I think. I'm not sure. But how can I explain how wonderful I felt at the end of each day despite my throbbing joints and growling stomach?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tihar and Drowning Cows

Oh, there's so much to say! Should I start in chronological order?

~It's festival time! Well, now I guess it's over, but for the last 4 days, the streets have been full of people people singing and dancing, lighted butter candles and Christmas-esqe lights, children playing games, dogs and cows and humans running around with tikas no their foreheads and garlands around their necks. And there has been praying. Lots and lots of praying. If the internet would cooperate I would post some of the rather excellent pictures I've taken of all the pujas I've attended this week.

~The first puja I attended was at my friend's house. It wasn't technically part of Tihar, but instead was a prayer and (rather long) ceremony for the health of their family. The auspicious day for the prayer was chosen by consulting an astrological calender, as was the reason for the prayer since the calender suggested that there was a bad omen over some specific family members. The ceremony was quite beautiful and consisted of hundreds of flower petals, bananas, apples, coconuts, ghee candles, incense, copper dishes and lots of that red, yellow and orange paste that you see smeared on people's foreheads in this part of the world. And oh yes, I forgot to mention the cow urine- consumed by the Brahman priest in shots as a natural remedy for well, everything, I guess.

~I attended more pujas, one for a dog and a Newari one for my own health and longevity, but I guess they are more or less the same in terms of what you see and do... There are so many complicated parts to the praying that I'm sure I can't describe it accurately (like I got three cups of flower petals and seeds dumped on my head, fire touched to either shoulder and my forehead; I bowed to some fruit (?), drank some yogurt with honey in it and made some funny gestures with my hands... I have no idea what it all means).

~Nepal, as I may have mentioned before, is a definitely an early to bed and early to rise country. By 8 o'clock, people are generally at home, eating dinner, performing their daily pujas, washing their faces and watching TV (power permitting). So you can imagine my surprise the other night when a group of men came rushing, shouting and with flashlights, through the empty lot next to my house. We all (my neighbors including the family I mentioned before and the small family that lives upstairs) rushed to the roof with our flashlights so we could see what was going on. From there, we could see the men looking into the narrow and fast-moving Seti Canal, to which access is generally blocked by tall walls and fencing over the top. But in this part, it seems four cows which had been grazing the the empty lot, wandered right into the canal and couldn't get out. The men called the police, who called the army, who came with no lights and no tools. They were using their mobile phones to look into the canal and shouting to all the people on the roof tops to throw things down to them. So we did. We threw ropes, sickles, bamboo poles, lights, even pashmina scarves... And they managed to rope all four cows and heave them out of the canal, though one suffered a broken foot. Each time a cow was retrieved we exploded into applause... And everyone was quite relieved they there were rescued, not only because cows are holy here, but because they next day was the cow puja day in Tihar... We would've had nothing to pray to if they'd died! (Actually, there are plenty of cows roaming the streets here, but those 4 seem to live only on our street...)

~I guess the nearly drowned cows are about the most exciting thing that's happend this week. When the internet cooperates, I'll post photos...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To be honest, I've totally lost track of the time. If I thought my life was simple in Vermont, I don't know what word I'd use to describe the life I've started living here. I came to Pokhara four or five days ago and in that time, I have managed to find a place to live (with help from a friend) and already feel as though I have two Nepali families. Both of my families are constantly looking after my well-being, checking to see if I've eaten (and feeding me if I haven't), making sure I have clean drinking water, and helping buy things I need for daily living.

Yesterday was the first real day in my new home, so I decided to hang around and see what everyone else was doing. My next door neighbor is a family of four- a 30 year old mother named Surita, her husband and two sons. It's festival time in Nepal, so I watched as the boys ran in and out of the courtyard to play with their friends. And although Surita was busy preparing butter candles for Tihar- the next big holiday, she invited me in to watch TV with her and chat.

I share the courtyard, the water tap and bathroom with Surita's family, so it is difficult to not know everything that is going on. When they wake at 5 or 6, I wake at 5 or 6. I listen to them take a shower, cook their food, wash their clothes and their dishes. And they of course, watch and listen to me as well. Last night, as I sat in my room to study by candlelight (power outages are frequent in Pokhara), the youngest boy ran up to my window, blew on my curtain and announced that his father was calling me. So I went to their room and discovered that the oldest son needed help with his English homework... finally something I could actually do! So I helped him and then went to take my bath. Later when I was back in my room, Surita discovered that I was studying Nepali so she came into "help" and brought the whole family with her. The boys quickly cuddled up on my bed with my Ipod, while Surita and her husband tried to help me learn the alphabet. This morning as I brushed my teeth, Surita's husband came to me and started saying the Nepali words for everything he saw: mirror, soap, water, clothes... I guess I'll start remembering what he is telling me, but right now, I just look at him and laugh, thinking my brain isn't ready to process all of the language stuff he is telling me.

The Annapurnas are hovering over the city. The sky is clear, the sun is warm, and I'm starting to feel quite at home...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I've been in Nepal for nearly a week now. It's been a slow week of reacquainting myself with the noise, the smell, the manic traffic, the planned and sometimes erratic power outages, the poverty and heaps of garbage around the city, as well as the friendly open nature of Nepali people. Kathmandu feels very....familiar. I remember now why I don't like Kathmandu and can't wait to get out of here! Maybe today... Maybe tomorrow. I guess it depends on how long it takes to take care of business...

The most exciting thing I have to report is how I voted: On the street of Kathmandu with a gaggle of Nepali men grinning over my shoulder as I filled in the Obama/Biden circle. Today I'll deliver that ballot to the US embassy.

I've started learning Nepali (I actually had my first lesson yesterday), and I'm beginning to lay the ground work for what might come next on my adventure here. Earlier in the week, I met with some of my Nepali friends that I met while working with the Migrant's Trade Union-Korea, who suggested that I might volunteer for GEFONT- a Nepali trade union- here in Kathmandu. I've contacted WWOOF and am preparing for some farm work in the Pokhara Valley. And I've signed up for a 10 day course in Vipassana- silent meditation that will start on November 4. (Frankly, the thought of that scares the shit out of me, but I'm going to try it anyway.)

I've been taking pictures, as yet have no way to post them. I'll figure that out later.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Breaking bad habits; acquiring new ones

I am a communicator. It's what I do. Some days, it seems that I have verbal diarrhea. I just can't stop talking. Complaining. Processing. Emoting. I feel like if I hold it all in, I'll explode. For some reason, I think people care about my opinions, my feelings, my ideas. And maybe they do. Sometimes. But probably, more often than not, they don't care. And it is probably unreasonable for me to expect most people to be interested. Especially when I'm complaining. Even if it's complaining through sarcasm. Or with a grin spread across my face.

And I do feel that I complain. A lot. It's not that I want to be negative all the time. Truly, I don't. And most of the time my complaints come from a good intention. Something that I think needs to be changed or improved upon. It's just that I'm not so good at framing my thoughts. Instead of pointing out the way it could be fixed, I point out what's wrong. Instead of acknowledging the mostly good things that are happening in my life, I fixate on the bad.

I realize that this habit makes my life a lot unhappier than it has to be. And I realize, also, that it's not necessarily a bad thing to criticize or point out something wrong. So why do I feel guilty when I do it? And how can I break the habit of dwelling on the least awesome things in my life as opposed to the most? And how can I continue to get my ideas across, but be more positive about it?

There a few people in my life now who are a few years older than me. A few people who do a really good job making enemies at work. Or who are no fun to work with because everything is always wrong. A few people who are very set in their ways. Their very very negative ways. I might even go so far as to call them bitter. I hate working with them. And other people do, too. I see a bit of myself in them and worry... Is that my future? Is that the kind of person I'm going to be if I continue to be so... critical. And negative. And expressive.

I realize that I have all these faults. And that they don't make me the most fun person to be around, especially in a work environment. But apparently self awareness isn't enough. I need to move on to changing my thinking in a pretty fundamental way... How does one go about that?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My blog is having an identity crisis!

I guess that the term "axis of evil" has become about as outdated as GWB's presidency. He has become a lame duck, and so has that term apparently. With Iraq, though still in the midst of war, but apparently also in the throes of "democratic" change, off the list, and North Korea getting downgraded from State Terrorists and Rogues to... well, what is that they are now? An unfriendly regime? At any rate, Iran is the only country left in the axis, so it isn't much of an axis anymore, is it? (Aren't we going to invade them soon anyhow?)

Not only that, but I don't even live in South Korea now. I don't know where I live. And furthermore, I don't know what I do. I'm not even sure that I have anything interesting to say.

It may be time to disappear. Re-design. Turn my brain back on. And then re-emerge.

So long, internets... until we meet again!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

This week:

  • Run-away Llama!
  • Moose sighting!
  • Goat Cheese Making!
  • Rainy Scooter Riding!
  • Sheep herding!
  • Cow Corralling!
  • Korean Speaking! (in vermont!)
  • Finally! Fresh Local Food eating! (I grew it!)

Yup, it's been a pretty exciting week.

Monday, June 30, 2008

How I Spend My Days in Vermont:

The cool breeze that makes the silver leaves of our ancient cottonwood trees dance.

The succession of wildflowers in the pasture, from dandelions to buttercups and onward to vetch, clover (red and white), milkweed and chicory.

The storm clouds that roll in over the lake, casting a blue hue on the mountains beneath them. And the pure white light that finds an opening in the clouds making even the green grass look golden.

The smell of wet earth during yet another rain shower.

Each day that I'm here, our small mountains grow bigger in my mind. The beauty of the landscape and my gratitude for it is deepening its mark on my heart. I will appreciate it now while I'm here. And I will change as it changes. As we change each other.

This is my lesson in not taking things for granted.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On a lighter note...

Goat kids!

Today I watched one of our goats, Dandy, give birth. She was fast! She was amazing! She was sweet! And the kid is so freakin' cute...

And then I milked her and her mommy friend, Feta... goat cheese anyone?

Goats. Definitely the best part of my job.

So I realize that this is a "public forum"...

But If you don't like my writing, or find it depressing... Why do you bother to read?

I'm not really writing about political things right now. I'm writing about my feelings. It's how I feel. And as such, it's not really debatable. And if you don't agree with me, guess what? I don't really care about how you feel about my feelings. Unless I know you, in which case it's obviously different. If I was looking to improve myself, I wouldn't be whining away on this forum, I would be in therapy, which, of course, I'm not denying that I need.

So if you don't have something nice to say to me, keep it to yourself. Unless you want to identify yourself (notice my comment settings have changed).

Hey, I realize the comments that anonymous wrote and I deleted weren't actually that offensive. But since I've made this my little space on the internet, I get to decide if your opinion counts. And I've decided that it doesn't. Unless I know you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Are you happy yet?

How 'bout now?

This is a question I've encountered a lot since my return from Korea. Am I happy? Well, if happiness is a relative state, I guess I can say the answer is yes. I am happy. Err... I am happier than when I was in Korea. Because there I was definitely unhappy. That seems so much easier to define.

Okay. So wait. Is happiness, in fact, a relative measure? Is it defined more or less in opposition to not-so-happy feelings? Is happiness the negative space (or should I say the positive space?) which surrounds sadness, angst, stress, anger... Because although I am not sad, angsty, stressed nor angry, neither am I happy. But I'm not unhappy.

It seems that happiness arrives in fleeting moments and often occurs only in retrospect. It's not that I don't enjoy many of the things I do, but do I recognize that joy in the moment? Or does it only occur to me as an afterthought? Or in contrast to some other experience or moment in time?

Or is happiness a feeling of contentment? The feeling that all is right with the world? Does it feel like the gods are smiling on you? Maybe like nothing can go wrong?

Does anyone in this country really feel happy? Really?

I have struggled with the concept of happiness for a long time. I don't always know how to recognize it when I have it. I often long for it, but when I think I have it, I feel uncomfortable- but not because I think it'll slip away too quickly. On the contrary, I feel bored with the contentment and long for a challenge, a struggle- something that will unsettle me.

And it's not as though I don't believe in my own happiness. I do. But I guess it's the fact that I believe in the happiness of everyone else-I am talking about on a global level- which motivates me to question my own right to contentment. I know, the Founding Fathers laid out our rights to the pursuit of happiness a couple of hundred years ago. But what if that pursuit impedes another's happiness? And what if, only by virtue of being An American, I am impeding the happiness of millions or billions just by pursuing my American version of happiness- even a modest one?

Hey this is not guilt I'm talking about. I'm talking about our responsibility. To each other. To challenge ourselves to think about our happiness and our contentment and wonder, "how does my happiness affect other people in my world?"

So in the context of "the greater happiness," I guess one could say that I'm making uncomfortably happy my goal. But I don't know if I'll ever be aware that I've reached that goal. And I'm not sure how I would define my state of happiness now, except to say that well, I'm not depressed...

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Poor Ma and Our Family

Today NSLS and I spent an awful lot of time together talking about the family. It was precipitated by a phone call we received from our mother, telling us of rather sad and unfortunate news. Our aunt had a brain tumor at the base of her skull, which was operable. She apparently came out of the surgery well... Although since that was all of the information we were given, we really have no idea what the prognosis is.

But it should be noted that all of us, RevDrMom, NSLS and I found out about the tumor post surgery. And that the primary form of notification was email. My mom is rather upset about how all this is happening, and I think (although she never says it) is feeling quite guilty. I really hate that all this technology that enables rapid-fire communication has become an excuse for us to not actually talk to each other.

It should also be noted that I, perhaps the most independent and free spirited of the bunch, also have the weakest ties with our family, especially the family of the extended nature. I haven't seen my grandmother since our grandfather's funeral in 2002. And that was also, perhaps, the last time I saw any of my uncles, cousins or the aunt who has recently fallen seriously ill. I don't call them. I don't write them (well, I write them, but it never gets mailed) and I honestly don't even think about them all that much. I have a pretty terrible relationship with my mom's older sister who I think, also happens to be my god mother. She seems to disapprove of not only everything about my mom's life, but also everything about mine. And I feel somewhat... ambivalent about the rest of our family.

I know that my mother gets blamed for this distance even though I am now an adult and could have, or not have, any relationship that I wanted to with aforementioned family members. But I just don't want to be involved in the drama. The blame, the guilt, the name-calling-- it's all enough for me to want to keep my distance. Let them talk about me behind my back. It doesn't hurt me.

So why, then, am I spending so much time thinking about this? Is it because my aunt is very sick? No, I don't think so. It's because I think that I understand one of their most fundamental points: That my mother, despite all of her awesomeness, has some pretty serious flaws when it comes to communicating with people she loves. It's not that she doesn't want to talk to people, but I think that maybe she is afraid to talk to people. I think that even though she opens up to all of us here in internet-land, she doesn't feel as safe making herself vulnerable to people in her family, including me, even though I love her and unconditionally support her.

So in my older brother (aka Eldest Son), her desire to give him the space she wishes her parents gave her, she has created too much room. All this is exacerbated by his feelings that none of us really care about or are interested in him. His extreme sensitivity about being disconnected from his immediate family, combined with my mother's extreme sensitivity for letting each of her children be their own person, has turned what used to be a kind of bad relationship into what is now a relationship on the brink. Admittedly, my own ambivalence towards my older brother probably doesn't help the situation.

But I also feel that tension between wishing my mom seemed more interested in my life, and also appreciating the space she has given me to explore my intellect, emotion and sense of adventure without being judgemental. But sometimes I wish the old-fashioned mom would kick in and say, "Hey! You're making a big mistake with your life!" or "Why don't you just get a regular job like everybody else?" Two phrases which I'm quite sure have never have never passed her lips. And I think that my older brother, although he would bitch and complain about it, wants that from our mother, too.

It's not that I actually believe that my mother doesn't care about our lives. I know that she would do anything she could to help me out. But I don't think her brothers and sister see that side of her. Too much judgement has been passed. They all, my mother included, spend so much time blaming each other for the lack of communication instead of just picking up the phone. I know that it is sometimes painful for my mother to talk with her family. But I kind of think that if she picked up the phone a little more often, it might get easier and there would be fewer reasons to play this 20 year old blame game.

And mom, grandma is now just a crotchety old lady. She's earned it. So maybe you don't deserve whatever she's saying to you, but she doesn't know what she's saying half the time anyhow. So talk to her while you still have the chance. And mom, you should be happy and proud that in the least, you have raised two daughters who like each other to live together as adults and won't be repeating the same silly mistakes your generation has made...

Our family no longer puts the "fun" in dysfunction, but we do a good job with "dys"ing part... Maybe we should work on that a little...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More on Nepal... In photos

Here's a little more on my trip to Nepal. There are probably a few more installments to come.

The first few pictures are from a jungle area in the Terai. Just days before I arrived, there was a huge general strike staged by the Madhesi people that went on for about 2 weeks. Their main issues were around autonomy and representation; they were protesting the rather Kathmandu-centric nature of the old Nepal Congress government, especially in terms of economic investment outside of the Kathmandu Valley. Their strike was felt all over Nepal as they were able to shut down the main trade route between India and the capital. Weeks after the strike was over, food prices were still pretty high (not just because of global inflation), and petrol was still so scarce that gas stations in Kathmandu were being guarded by the military and people would queue for a day or two fill up their tanks... Needless to say, this was an area that was swept by Maoists, and some of the more regional parties like the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum (MJF) during the elections.

When I was there, however, none of this was really evident and most people were reluctant to talk about (probably because the strikes are bad for tourism and most of the people I came into contact with make all of their money from tourists). And so I give you the tourist photos:

village houses near the entrance to Chitwan National Park.

That's me, "driving" the elephant on the last leg of our elephant safari in Royal Chitwan National Park.

endangered one horned white rhino, Royal Chitwan National Park
(dinosauric, ain't it?)

That's me giving the elephant a "bath."

Elephant Bath Time, Royal Chitwan National Park

Early morning canoe ride, Royal Chitwan National Park

Late afternoon elephant watering, Royal Chitwan National Park

A typical Tibetan monastery, Bodhnath, Nepal

This is a Tibetan stupa just outside of Kathmandu. The day I went there, I remember feeling very at peace with the world. Even if you aren't a spiritual or religious person, you can't deny the energy of a place like this. Pilgrims swing prayer wheels and chant mantras as they walk around the stupa, all in the same direction. Masum and I tried to walk around in the opposite direction, but didn't make it very far before we, too, decided to go with the flow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lessons from Nepal

I've been thinking a lot, trying to figure out how I can synthesize everything I learned in Nepal into one piece of writing that makes sense if it is read all together. But the fact of the matter was, the way I was spending my days and the way I was spending my nights was so completely different, that I don't know that it makes sense to write about as one experience.

On the one hand, I had the experience that I've been writing about here. The heartache, the healing-- the emotional journey that I've been on for the last two years came to an end. In Nepal, I was able to wrap up such a messy relationship into a nice neat box for me to put in the corner of my heart and the corner of my mind, where it can collect dust. I'll store it in a place where I can take it out and look at it with curiosity and detachment when it suits me; a place that's far enough to remain unseen, but close enough to not be forgotten. Yes, Nepal gave me closure.

And then there was everything else in Nepal. The everything that made me fall in love with a country, a place and a time that was exciting, intellectually stimulating, spiritual, nurturing, fun... But how do you pluck a story or an experience out of thin air and get it right, make it meaningful without telling the entire story? How could I begin to write about the time Pratit took me to his grandfather's house in this little Gurung village in the foothills of the Annapurnas without explaining my relationship to Pratit, his mother, or how his family defies traditional family structure in Nepal, or about how his grandfather's life is ruled by ritual and routine (is there a difference?); I would have to write about what the house looked like, how the white capped mountains hovered so close I thought I could understand why people believe in god... I would have to write all of that for anyone to understand the feeling I got as we sat eating daal bhat inside his old mud and brick house under a single light bulb, our eyes stinging from the smokey cook-fire; We sat there eating and he, his grandfather (who kept giving us sly looks as he cooked dinner) was not eating, but praying, making an offering to the small shrine he had in the corner of the house next to his bed, next to the cook-fire, which was next to me. How can I write all that and still not tell the story?

And then there was Saobin, a young man from the Terai who worked at the hotel I was staying. My first day there, the owner of the hotel, Devendra, said to me: "Look how he walks. So slow. Like a rhino." We laughed. And I watched. Saobin did all of the work of the hotel. He cleaned the rooms, he ran errands, washed laundry, made tea, took care of the garden... Devendra did nothing. He played cards, talked, gave orders. I watched. Saobin was shy. He had a sweet smile and he twitched a lot. He worked hard. I took to calling him 'babu', which I guess means baby or child, but I wasn't making fun- I really felt motherly towards him. I noticed there was something wrong. The last day, I asked about it. I was told that he used to live in a village in the jungle. He was a hunter. One day as he was hunting, he came across some Nepalese soldiers. They accused him of being a Maoist. He had a gun. They beat him senseless. Now he has trouble communicating. And now by telling that story, I've cheated Saobin because I've left out the context. The details. The other players. It's not complete.

To tell my story in Nepal I have to tell the stories of at least 10 others. I have to tell the story of a country in the midst of change, a hopeful time not only for Nepali people, but for myself as well. Because in the end I guess I learned that we can be reborn through our struggles and that my story depends not on myself, but on who tells it. And that we should never be careless with that power.