In order to get the most out of my last time in Nepal before going back to Sweden I have been very busy recent weeks. First finishing the work for CWCN with the recruitment of the new Business Development Manager, which looks promising, the BDM is almost about to sign the contract. After those intensive weeks working day and night to find the perfect BDM my Swedish friend Gustaf came for a ten days visit. It felt wonderful to drop my notebook and leave the recruitment process for a while. I became a personal guide for Gustaf and showed him around in the dirty but colourful city of Kathmandu. When he was tired of wearing mask to protect himself from dust, salesmen tying to sell wooden violins in Thamel and going back and forth in Maruti Suzuki Racing Adidas Taxis we went to Langtang National Park for trekking in fresh air and silence. It became the most interesting trekking in Nepal ever…
It started with blisters on my heels after 30 minutes walking which made it impossible to walk in boots, but I walked happily in my flip-flops (or barefoot) all the way up and down again. On rocks, in water and snow, nothing is impossible for a Viking as me :) Day number two, our friend Ganesh tried the high altitude Rhododendron flowers and got so high and wasted that our Sherpa had to carry him on his back to the nearest village where we stayed the night and awaited him to get sober again. Nepalese are used to eat Rhododendron (it tastes like the Swedish “harsyra”) but there are poisonous flowers in the Langtang region and this poison gets spread by bees. If it has not been raining for a while, washing the poision away, one can get really sick if eating the flowers. The next day all of us felt very strong and reached our goal; the small mountain village Kanyjin Gumba at 4000 meters. On the way we experienced avalanches and land slides crashing down with a sound like a thunder storm as the snow from the mountain peaks are melting, happily this happened far away from village areas and no one got covered by the falling snow. After saying goodbye to the adorable white peaks we walked down again and felt the temperature rising with the lower altitude which made us to jump into the ice cold river for a swim when we finally reached Syabrubesi.
After a complete experience of Nepal in ten days Gustaf went back to Sweden and I picked up my notebook again and continued the interviews with our candidates in the search for the right BDM. Finally I handed over all my documents and responsibility from the recruitment process to mr. Sunil and Ashok in order to finalise the last part of it. Of course I will be there to coach them whenever they need thorough phone, email and Skype even from the other side of the globe.
After almost half a year of living in Nepal it has becoming my home, a beautiful country with amazing people which I don’t want to leave. Who knows when I should get back to Sweden again if my parents had not come to Kathmandu to take their daughter home to Gothenburg ;) Said and done! The last day of March mother Karin and daddy Ulf landed at Tribhuvuan International Airport and finally got united with their Nepali girl, meeting them wearing her SWAG cap, flip-flops and harem pants. They directly got introduced to Nepal when walking home to the apartment on the narrow streets of Sinamangal meeting street dogs, chickens, begging children, staring people and messed up electric cables when dragging their jumping suit cases on the bumpy roads between holes and mud puddles. When we entered the gate the guard greeted us “Namaskar”, bowing when holding his hands to his forehead with a wide smile wearing his Nepali hat of course, then he helped us to lift the luggage into the hallway. I showed them my luxurious crib (for being Nepal) the bathroom with gas shower, the large kitchen and my two rooms where they were going to stay together with me for five days.
I had already told them them that you need at least ten days to explore this country, but they are two busy persons who are working and traveling a lot and five days were all they could spare for Nepal. However, I am very happy that they manage to come anyway! To make the most out of our short time we went directly to Thamel for some shopping. After too many impressions of eager shop keepers, streets jammed with people and horning cars they really longed for coffee, so I took them to my favourite place North Field Café where they also got to meet my friends Pradip, Sunil, Jens and David. Pradip showed us around in his gallery which made my parents so impressed that they decided to order a painting from him. When Sunil arrived we planned a little trek which he was going to take us for. On top of that we made a visit to Swayambhu, the monkey temple as if they had not seen enough things for today already…
The next day it was time for me to make my last visit to the child home in Nayapati. We went with the micro bus and my parents was to experience their first ride on the bumpy Nepali roads. As this was the day before the great CWCN Judo Cup when everyone had to come to Nayapati to help out with all preparations the micro was soon full of people sitting in each other’s laps. When we reached the school all children and staff were engaged in various activities as building a stage, cooking food or taking care of participants which already had arrived from Butan.
I gave my parents the regular round tour of CWCN, when we ended up in the new judo arena where we started the tour the stage was already in place and all children were assembled on plastic chairs in a square shaped ring waiting for us, they were going to hold a farewell program for me. We were asked to sit down beside the staff and Tirupati took the microphone and explained in Nepali that it was time to say goodbye to me now. I held a short speech to say thank you to everyone, children held speeches and said that they were going to miss me a lot and then I got two very beautiful gifts; a colourful painting and a cute pink woollen purse, both made by the children. Then it was time for putting tikka first on me and then my mum and dad, we also got creme coloured silk shawls around our necks.
All children lined up to give me tikka, hugs and say goodbye. I really had to struggle to hold my tears back! Even if I have not been working with the children directly and only been working at Nayapati a few days a week it feels like I have got a good relation with the them, since they are very open, interested and keen to get to know me. I will really miss them a lot! All of them saying “good morning didi” when I arrive in the morning, their amusement when I speak the Nepali phrases they learnt me, their amazement when I eat the spicy pickle to the Dhal Bat, the girls making bread in my hair, their positive energy and their smiling faces. After the ceremony everyone went back to today’s duties for the Judo Cup and we went back to Sinamangal. It felt empty and weird to see the white school building disappear in the rear mirror of the micro when I don’t know when I will go back there again.
The next day we took our trekking gear and went with Sunil to Sundarijal where we were going to start our little two days trek. Up the hill we went heading to Chisapani. It was getting warmer as the sun was rising as so did we when we climbed up step by step in the steep stairs. We kept a good pace and reached the village within four hours including lunch break and short stops for drinking water. The beer and Dhal Bat tasted better than ever after a hot day and a tough walk, when we were sitting in the simple hotel lodge playing Four Pictures One Word on Sunil’s phone together. The next morning Sunil knocked on our doors to wake us up and take us to the roof top to see the stunning view of the Himalayan mountain range. It had been covered by clouds for more than a week due to rainy weather, but today we were very lucky to get the chance to see all the white peaks in the horizon. With big smiles on our faces we continued the trek to Nagarkot, me and Sunil in the front singing, jumping and running and my parents behind. After a long day of walking in wonderful sunny weather we reached our goal and as soon as we got into the taxi which was driving us back to Kathmandu it started to rain. Perfect timing :D
In the evening we were invited to Sunil’s family for dinner. They were going to make the traditional corn Dhedo for us! First we sat down on the floor together and had delicious chicken and the Spanish wine we brought. Then Sunil’s father called me to the kitchen to teach me how to prepare the Dhedo, as I was so eager to learn this. We mixed pure corn flour produced in his home town with boiling water, easy right!? Now to the hardest part: to make the right consistence. You have to be strong to manage this… Holding on to the pan with my left hand and then mix the Dhedo with a cooking spade was not as easy as it sounds. Finally the Dhedo was ready and we enjoyed it together with Dhal (lentil soup), vegetables, chicken curry and pickle. Yummy! The family was worried that my parents didn’t like it because they had so little, but they surely did. We tried to explain for them that Swedes (except from me who eat a lot to be a Swedish girl) are not used to eat as much as Nepalese because we eat more than two meals a day. Little and often :)
Now it was Saturday 4th of April, that day I had not been looking forward to… That very last day when I had to say goodbye to all my friends. As I am a very emotional person when it comes to goodbyes I always cry a lot. I started with making some last shopping in Thamel, trying not to think about it to hold my tears back. I picked up my parents painting which they had ordered from Pradip, it was a real masterpiece! When he thorough full packed and wrapped the painting I finally decided to buy that painting which have been thinking about to buy for a long time. A beautiful picture of the mountain Fishtail in the Annapurna range. He also gave me a very colourful abstract painting as a gift :) Then it was time for goodbye. I could not avoid crying when giving him and Sunil big hugs. They told me not to cry and I explained that they should be happy for it, I cry because they mean a lot to me :)
In the evening we went to Yamuna to have dinner with her and the family. Delicious food as always and we had to say the very useful phrase “malai pogio” many times, it’s a shame you get full when food is so tasty! Best Dhal Bat ever, my mum said. Of course a lot of tears came before taking the taxi back. It feels like I have been a part of their little family, a third sister :) I will always remember when we were cooking food together, making them try Swedish pancakes and apple pie and they learned me how to make Nepali food. Her mum always insisting me to stay the night because it’s getting to late to take my bicycle back. Girls talk with the two sisters until all of us are yawning and falling asleep in the big bed :)
That last night I slept very well… Extremely tired after an emotional day. And the next morning me and my parents woke up early to catch the flight which we soon realised was delayed. Turkish Airlines.. now a days famous for crashing air planes into KTM Tribhuvian’s run way and not having on time flights as Ryanair. However, far way better service than Ryanair so we shall not complain. They took us to an VIP lounge with soft sofas and free food while waiting to for boarding, not bad at all :) now I’m sitting between mum and dad in the huge Airbus on our way to Istanbul. Mixed feelings I would say. There are things I will not miss about Nepal, the dust, pollution and Nepali time for example ;) Despite, there are many things I don’t want to leave, the nature, nepali food, fresh fruit and vegetables and of course all my friends which means a lot to me. Friends for life. However, I hope to come back to meet you all again soon and I would like to tell you that you are very welcome to visit me in Sweden! Just give me a call :)
Now we are approaching Istanbul where we are going to stay the night on a hotel which is on Turkish Airlies’ bill. When missing our connection flight we get the chance to explore the city and make it unsafe tonight. Watch out for the Orhaug Family Mafia :D