Monday 10th March 2008

Ok, after the rather depressing note of the last email, thought you’d all like to know that my date with hot German last night was fantastic and he wants to see me again on Friday, so yay!
Sadly (as fate would have it), I’m leaving for Tibet in a week, and by the time I get back, he’s off on a meditation retreat and then going to Tibet himself, so we won’t see each other again for ages, but nevermind.
He’s very lovely.

Now then, onto the rest of the email!
In the last 7 months it has slowly crept up on me that I’ve changed quite a lot in many small ways.
For example, I’ve become a vegetarian, managed to give up smoking (well, so far it’s been 2 months anyway), I’ve lost ten kilos and dyed my hair red.

Aside from the physical changes, I’ve altered my perceptions about a number of things.
Such as my stance on personal hygiene.

Our little drought continues, and the boys have to go to the well every day now. We need so much water for cooking, washing the babies, and the kids to drink, so it’s just too wasteful to even have a bucket-bath. I am literally confined to my weekly trip out in Thamel to wash at all, although I have bought wet-wipes as an interim alternative!
The weird part is that I’ve gotten so used to it that I really don’t mind anymore. Aside from not being able to wash my hands after using the bathroom (that still gets me), I’ve stopped feeling dirty and barely notice.
This only became clear to me recently when Aamaa had bought a tanker of water. We had (for about two days) actual running water, and it was sunny so the solar panels heated it up nicely.
One Sunday Aamaa said to Karla and me that there was hot water if we wanted a shower. We both went “ooohhh yes please!” and then immediately wondered if we should, as we’d only just showered the previous Thursday and weren’t really that dirty yet.
The fact that we both hesitated to waste the water says it all I think, although we managed to rationalise it and had the hot shower (it was too good to pass up on).

Also, since being here I’ve learnt how to cook and actually quite enjoy it too!
Admittedly I can only cook Nepali food, but it’s yummy and as a new vegetarian I’ll need to know how to cook something when I get home – and now I can make lovely curries with soya, lentils and chick-peas etc.
I also can’t bear to waste food at all – in the orphanage if I can’t finish my plateful, there’s always a kid who’ll finish it off for me, but in restaurants it’s really difficult – sometimes I’m sooo stuffed but can’t bear to just leave my food on the plate to get thrown away.

I think I’ve already mentioned that I don’t miss having a fridge at all, although sometimes I think it might help with our rat problem, which is getting worse now that the weather has warmed up a bit.
I’ve become increasingly aware of my personality flaws too, although I don’t know if they’ve actually gotten worse, or if I was always like that and never noticed it.

These days I’m horribly impatient, moody, emotional, and very easily frustrated. It occurs to me that this might be why I’m having so many fights with Aamaa and Priya, and it also will not help me in trying to find a job when I go home.
“Yes, I love to travel and experience new cultures, however I am moody, aggressive, culturally insensitive, etc”

Alan is afraid of me when I’m angry, he says I’m really scary, but I’m sure I never used to be particularly frightening.
In fact people once described me as “bubbly”, but I think nowadays most people would use “excessively talkative” instead.

Maybe I’m just a different person now – people change after all, and I’m definitely not 18 anymore – inching towards 30 in fact.
Or maybe I’m just really really hard.

Anyhoo, that’s probably enough of my rambling, and instead of worrying about my massive personality flaws, I’m going to float off home on cloud nine dreaming about my upcoming date with hot German (this will be date number 4 by the way- very exciting!), who incidentally is lovely and hasn’t yet noticed my flaws, and did I mention that he’s also lovely?

Hee hee,
lots of love

Oh! and P.S. – the election is only 30 days away now and we can all relax and rest at ease. The Maoists have pledged to provide armed security from the People’s Army to all of the remoter regions to ensure the voting is conducted fairly and without any trouble.
It’s just really unfortunate that there won’t be any curtains or privacy for villagers to vote, only a helpful friendly Maoist with a gun standing by watching who you vote for.
So, don’t worry at all about the fairness and legality of the upcoming election. (Perhaps I should practice my red salute now?)


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