This is the first time I am writing something for anyone on the internet to read. I usually don’t like to write. Maybe that’s why I love being an engineer. We do have group projects but I can hand off the writing portion to a teammate; Dena Inqui was the latest victim of this epidemic.
After that short introduction, I would like to state that I have been a great time traveling with Tatiana so far. To have escaped my constantly anxious state of mind makes everything so much better. It is not only the trip that helped me relax but something else that happened recently as well. For the past two years, I had been using my first Blackberry to keep track of my life. However, two days before we left for Nepal, it broke down. I had on it a list of things I wanted to buy before my journey began, a list of things I wanted to do in Nepal etc. Losing all that information I considered important gave me a chance to dig into my memory banks and take care of things that were actually important and ignore the ones that I thought were important. However, it was not really possible for me to freak out about the untimely loss of my life scheduler as I had exams and project reports to worry about, had to move out of my room in a couple hours, leave for Nepal and so on.
Getting back to the journey, after we got on the bus on our way to Newark Intl. Airport, Tat wanted to talk about our journey. I replied, ‘Gimme a couple hours to accept that I don’t have to go back to school after this ‘weekend’ is over’. So our journey actually began. I was a little nervous and a little excited. Excited because I was going home with a very good friend of mine and was looking forward to showing her my side of the world. Nervous because I was taking a good friend of mine from an environment she is comfortable in to a setting that can be pretty accurately defined as ‘chaotic’ and ‘drive defensively’. As we got closer to home, I was getting more nervous about what to expect next. Once we landed in Brussels, the similarity in the pace and lifestyle with the American way was reassuring. Also, running into one of our classmates, Raymond Macharia, was entertaining as we felt like a reunited family for an hour or so.
After a couple of pictures and sketches, we moved on and boarded another plane on our way to Delhi, which I was actually looking forward to. The main reasons being the food served, the comfortable foot rest, the choice of movies and the girl sitting next to me who was also my travel companion. When we landed in Delhi, I was feeling wide awake as I had gotten some good sleep on the plane. This gave me more energy to focus on being worried about being harassed by the airport folks. This insecurity was sparked by blog posts that I had read in the past week or so while searching for travel trips. According to the post, Nepali travelers were scammed at the Delhi airport in the past to pay cash to get their baggage cleared through security. Fortunately, I did not have to suffer any of that which will make it easier for me to spend ten hours at the same airport on our way back.
Apart from that, Delhi prepped me for Nepal. As Tatiana and I observed, the airport staff seemed very laid back and casual in their demeanor. Guys were holding hands and walking around, not worrying about what others would say. On the other hand, almost everyone who passed us just stared at us as if we were objects in a museum. It took a Tatiana to remind me that that’s how people in some cultures interact with each other. That also reminded me that I need to be careful not to act strange in different situations after we get to Nepal, else I would come across as being pretentious and trying to ‘act like a foreigner’.
As we got closer to home, the excitement grew and I was really looking forward to meeting my family. Being home was the best feeling. Since then, we have been meeting a lot of family, spending a lot of time inside the house, eating a whole bunch of good food. Due to ‘Nepal Bandh’ which translates to ‘Nepal Shut Down’, we have had limited access to transportation and thus have not gotten to see too many places. We did go to some places at a walking distance and visited what used to be a palace and another site which is a beautiful monastery on one of the hills of the Kathmandu Valley. I am skipping the details since Tatiana will describe the experience in a more readable post soon.