Thursday, February 28


I made it to Nepal!

As I was riding in the car to the airport, I felt a certain calm. I realized that though I hated packing as usual, I hadn't taken the time to have a real good freakout about the things I must be forgetting. I take that to mean that I must finally be a seasoned traveler. I didn't worry about the traffic. I wasn't concerned that my ticket wouldn't print. I walked calmly around the departure gates as I was directed here and there to fill out immigration forms, as I was told I could not carry on my baggage, and as the terminals are ridiculously far apart. But the Delhi airport is really nice, and it's filled with plants. So i smiled as i watched the silhouette of a worker dusting off the leaves of the live palm trees, and as two young boys bursting with energy ran as fast as they possibly could in order to beat the belt going the opposite direction on the moving sidewalk. 
I sat down at my terminal among a party of French people. I wondered were all the Nepalis were. 
I moved down the line to my seat on the plane. I had a window seat, and the large man in the aisle seat was already comfortably seated and buckled in -- and he refused to move for me. I squeezed past him and tried not to be too obviously disgusted when he stared pointedly and selfishly at the backside of an attendant who was bending over to help someone. (Who designs their outfits, anyway?) The man bought a snack, and he chewed it loudly. He wasn't really bothering me, I was just thinking how I didn't have a great seatmate; but mostly I was reading Donald Miller, so I was certainly enjoying myself. All of a sudden, I noticed out the opposite window that the light was taking on colors, and I looked up to see if there was a sunset to be had out my window. But what I saw...
I love Delhi, but in Delhi everything is brown. The leaves on the trees and the full moon at night and the streets and the cows have a sort of film over them, as though you're seeing them filtered through brown air. The brown air feels like home, but it also can get a little stifling. And after all that brown, it was amazing to see what i saw when i looked up from my book. 
We were crossing into the Himalayas. THE HIMALAYAS, PEOPLE. Who gets to just see this stuff? Wow. We were above some enormous foothills covered in dense forests, and far beyond them across the empty soft purple mist were floating pure, clean, white and blue and purple peaks. Even seeing all this through windowpanes covered in grease and condensation couldn't diminish its amazing beauty. All that majesty after all that brown just somehow felt like a miracle. And it was even more mind-boggling to understand the great hulking size of these mountains:
When you're flying, you look down on the world. And you see the cute little monopoly houses and you begin to believe the world is round instead of just a place where you put your own feet, since you can begin to see the curvature of the thick blue band of horizon. Up there is where you understand the zoning plans of cities and see the real shapes of the rivers, and where you look down and realize that clouds are things with a height and a top, and not a video you watch in the sky. Well, in that airplane I looked down on everything else, but I looked across to the Himalayas. I was in among the mountain range. How glorious. I mean... 
The human soul is bad. But our Father has created things that He deemed good, and it is not difficult to see why he did. I'm so thankful for this mandatory time of rest. I almost feel guilty leaving some of my friends who I know are working so hard - it seems unfair that I get such a beautiful break. But, I wasn't allowed by law to stay any longer, and it just so happens that Nepal is really cool. I'm hoping to make the most of it.

Oh, and after all of my seatmate's bad qualities, he did help me out by taking my bags out of the overhead before i could even think about squeezing out of our row, and even before he got his own. I guess that makes him a decent seatmate after all.

The team working here is really neat and they seem very well-bonded. Leah, the girl I'm staying with, is extremely well-grounded and self-motivated. She knows what she wants and she knows what she's gonna do. It will be such a blessing to be around her these couple of weeks. When we reached her flat after dinner, I was standing on her terrace meeting her dalmatian named Asha (Hope) and I when i looked out at the view from the place i was standing, i froze in it. It was the most beautiful display of stars I have seen in a very, very long time. It felt like just another beautiful gift of nature. It felt like it soothed me and spoke to my soul. 
Other than that, my experience with Kathmandu so far is that it's a lot like Delhi. The streetside shops are nearly identical. The people look extremely similar. The roads and traffic are pretty much just alike, too. I like the familiarity and the newness at the same time. It feels homey but still like a break from any monotony that had set in. 
I'm certainly thankful for this time. Lift me up that I might be an encouragement here, a help in any way i might be useful, and that I would make the most of the time I have. 

It's so nice to feel so content.

Love from Kathmandu,
Julie, happy in the Himalayas!

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