Hi from Kathmandu – a gray day, the air heavy with moisture. Perhaps the rain will fall this afternoon, as it has done the past few days. The monsoon should have begun about two weeks ago, but it has yet to start with its true force. Amazing how desperately the rain is needed, as the paddies dry beneath the planted rice. It feels good to be back, though somewhat strange not to have a job or a volunteer position to speak of. It’s wonderful to be here with Jonathan, my partner, the first time that he has arrived in this part of the world to feel at home, like he is returning. A beautiful feeling, this is.
Our journeys have been rich with exploring and in particular exploring some of the holy places we have passed: a small Hanuman temple tucked into a nook in the winding alleys of Old Delhi where a shop-owner took us to share a piece of his culture and religion with us (we left with marigold garlands, red tikkas on our foreheads and sweets, all gifts from the gods); a famous Hindu Temple in Gorkhnath where a priest invited us to do worship and then asked us each for rs500 (hard to feel good about religion when one feels like one is being ripped off); the ruins of old monasteries in Khushinagar where the Buddha died (this sleepy town held a peacefulness that we had heretofore lacked in our travels, Khushinagar proved to be a powerful if understated place); Lumbini – birthplace of the Buddha, another powerful place and beautiful too in the hot terai of Nepal.
And then here to Kathmandu.
Life has been full and rich here with meeting friends again and taking the time to read and write and walk around. I’m not sure what I expected, but when I arrived, I had this powerful sense that I have changed more than this place has. Smile. I guess that will be true of many places I visit or live in and return to over the course of my life.
The big news from here is that tomorrow I will embark on a ten day silent meditation course: Vipassana. No talking, no reading or writing, two meals a day. Silence. Time to be by myself, time to be present with myself. Time. Another smile.
You will hear from me next after this next journey. Changed again perhaps. Perhaps more me than I am often able to be.
I am thinking of all of you and sending much love! Thandiwe