well folks, by the time i finish this post i will have been "over here" (india/nepal) for exactly one month. i landed in delhi on september 16 at 8pm, indian standard time. it is now 7:30pm, ist: october 16th.
since shimla, i have travelled to manali, a tourist packed, though nonetheless picturesque northern city in the himalayas; the rohtan pass, a very harrowing day trip (hello windy, narrow, and sometimes washed out roads) thousands of meters above manali; kullu, a smaller, further south, valley region with stunning shots of terrace farming and spring fed mill-grinds; mac leod gang/darmakot, home of the dalai lama, hip cafes, and a plethora of israli expatriates who enjoy the villages music, meditation, yoga, classes on healing and buddhism, and the ever present marijuana. after my journeys in hamachel, i rested in punjab for two days before flying to nepal, where i currently reside in a u.n. owned compound in kathmandu: complete with walls and a team of guards. like the marble driveway of dr. kang's residence, it's not as impressive (and/or disconcerting) as it sounds. most homes in the city have walls at least, if not the guards.
i've been in nepal for a week. while i have made some day trips - mountain biking to a national park, visiting a local village, and taking in the various shopping opportunities (still with few purchases to my name), my days are spent relaxing at home in conversation with my friend nicole. i met her in kingston, working for greenpeace. her friends roger and kelsey rent the place (he works for the u.n) and they happened to have two extra rooms. we talk about the subjective nature of existence, god - or lack thereof from her vantage point-, food, and literature. i must say, i am not very well versed on the latter, and the reason i can hold a decent conversation about food is because we eat so much of it; and more than quantity, we eat quality food. from tibetan momos to banana hazelnut crepes to aloo gobi (potato, cauliflower curry), i have definitely gained weight.
indeed, food and friends are the defining (material) features of this trip and more often than not, they are wed in a beautiful manner. to name a few, i fondly recall having my first coke (the soda, come on now folks...) in years with christopher in manali, or eating amazing breakfast with adam in darmakot, or daal with dr. kang. there's something about table fellowship. but more than that, there's something about fellowship. the meeting of minds. the opening of opinions. the honest reflection of one's life in the company of another. i have met very intelligent, very spiritual, people on my trip. they have all, in their own right, challenged my beliefs, pushed my paradigms, and asked me to share of myself. for this i am grateful. i have needed to find my voice, speak it in humility, and trust that god will mould hearts for his glory through such dialogue.
my time in nepal has continuously brought me to reflection on life at home. how have i lived in postures of ego and not surrender; how have i lived selfishly and not selflessly; how have i deviated from my beliefs to please/appease others; and how have relationships been perverted because of these inner-attitudes - are but some of the questions i am being asked. i realize that, more than i would like to admit, i tend to the darker spectrum of these binaries, that is, towards ego, selfishness, appeasement, etc. as such, in my mind i have failed. i have missed the mark, so to speak. i know that in many ways i continue to fall short. but just today, through yet another failure, i was reminded that all i/we can do is try; try our best. where there are short comings, there is grace. indeed, where i act only for me, disregarding others and god, i can be restored. and where i fail i can actually succeed, because i think that our weakest points, when bathed in the love of jesus, become our strongest. because i believe in the honesty of admitting our humanity, our brokenness, our tendency to put self first, (usually evidenced in relationships, or one's reflection on relationships) we acknowledge that ways in which we cannot live full on our own. but rather we need to invite life and love and light (read christ) into our lives. and when we do this we are empowered to change and we are changed. and it is such change, such regeneration, from those former places of brokenness which shine the brightest.
oh happiness, there is grace!