The spirit of Nepal

April 27, 2016 | Jennifer,DVM, Mines Action Canada, Nepal - Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal – Program Support Officer

When I arrive in Ottawa Sunday night I will have about 12 hours to recover and go to class Monday morning. What a strange and fast adjustment that will have to be. I’m used to waking up to the sound of the children monks chanting and shouting my name to wake me up (I made the mistake of telling the kids my name, so now they like to wake me up by screaming at me every morning at 6:00am). I’m used to brushing my teeth in the dark because of the power load shedding, with bottled water to rinse off my brush so I don’t get sick. I’m used to “chunky monkeys” in my coffee at least once a week because the milk has gone bad because the young boys who work in the kitchen at the monastery don’t understand the importance of expiry dates and refrigeration. I’m used to walking 20 minutes to work and risking my life crossing the insanely busy and chaotic Ring Road, now with the confidence of a local. And I’m used to passing by at least 1 cow, 3 goats and several ducks right outside my office twice a day. These are all small things that I never thought I would get used to, or even appreciate. But here I am on my last day of work, reminiscing about the amazing experience I have had here, and I truly think I am going to miss all of these quirks. I have learned that I take so much for granted back home, and I am worried that I will quickly forget how easy life is in Canada compared to the rest of the world. When people ask me “What do you miss most about home?” my answer is two thirds materialistic. 1) Family and friends, 2) Strong Internet connection (Nepal is the 2nd worst in the world) and 3) A tie between pizza, mac ‘n cheese, and avocados. Right now, if you were to ask me what I think I will miss most about living in Nepal, apart from the beautiful landscape, is more important than the quality of the wifi. I think I will sincerely miss the spirit of the people here. It’s hard to describe a feeling, but a great example would be how thousands of families lost their homes in the earthquake last year, but instead of every man for himself, neighbours and families and friends all worked together to rebuild with each other. If one family didn’t have enough to put food on the table, their neighbour would spare some extra rice for the children. The sense of community amongst the Nepalese is truly inspiring, and I hope to be able to bring a piece of that back with me to Canada. As I say my last goodbyes to this beautiful country it is a bittersweet feeling, as I am excited to see my family and friends back home, but I am also reminded that Nepal has so much left to teach me, and I just may have to come back one day.

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