I’ve thought about leaving many times; some days I was excited to move on and other days I dreaded the day I would have to say goodbye. And now that time where I have to say goodbye and move on is not in the far-off future anymore – tomorrow I must say goodbye. And, now that the time to leave is finally here I find it hard to accept the fact that I am actually leaving. I no longer view tomorrow as the day where I will be relieved of all my stresses and expectations but as the day I leave people who I have come to view as my family, my kids and my friends.
I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs here in Nepal – from playing bomb blast with my kids to getting very sick to watching the Himalayas disappear beneath layers of clouds before reappearing hours later in the setting sun.
But from all of my challenges and triumphs I have learned the importance of the little things. For me what makes it hard to leave isn’t my success at teaching as I would have thought but all of the little moments with the people here that I’ve gathered in my memory while I’ve stayed in this mountain village called Chhomrong.
From trivial moments to big successes these excerpts of my time here are dear to my heart because they are Chhomrong, they are Nepal, for me. As I traverse the endless stairs tomorrow, I’ll think of the time when my host mother, Auntie, and my sister, Anu, gave me a stomach massage when I was sick and that moment, just today, when my host father, Uncle, told me I was like family.
I’ll think of that time when my 4-year-old student took a tube of lipgloss and put it on himself proudly like a tikka.
Or all those times that my sister, Jamuna, and I washed dishes together. Or even that day when an 80-year-old woman came through who had trekked all of the treks around here 7 or 8 times and was doing the Annapurna circuit, Mardi Himal, and ABC all at once this year.
Or when we play Go Fish and one of my students always says ‘oral’ instead of ‘oval’ and even when a 3-year-old puts his gum on a stick and pretends it’s a fishing pole and then puts the gum back in his mouth.
I’ll think of the day I broke down in tears because I felt like a horrible teacher and then I’ll think of the days when my students invited me to their houses for tea.
Tomorrow, I will think of all of these moments when I leave. And while this will make it that much harder to leave my second home it will also, in some ways, make it easier to know that all of these memories were made here – that I made my time here worthwhile.
I would like to leave you with a quote that gave me comfort during a time when trial after trial seemed to plague me:
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews