Today is October 26th which means it is just shy of 3 weeks until our last clinic day. I will then have 2 days in Kathmandu to finish any last minute errands, including an hour flight view of Mt. Everest and my last night relaxing at the Hyatt in Boudha (thank you hotels.com free nights). Until then, it is a straight dose of perseverance. The Langtang trek which took place over a week ago now was an amazing time. There was no doubt it was physically and mentally challenging. We were hoping for better weather, but there was a typhoon which hit India during our time which made for 4 days of rain and very few to no views. Luckily on the second to the last day we managed to climb above the clouds for a few hours and witness some breathtaking images. Those of you have not seen the pictures can check them out here. A good time was had by all. We met some wonderful people including our porters who were with us the entire way schlepping our bags up and down and a Danish lady who ended up being a knitting teacher (Jean!!) and helped me with some tips while making my first irregular scarf. I think next time I trek that I would rather avoid going in a group. There is something to be said about taking your time and planning your own stops, but I am grateful for the adventure and knowledge I gained so I can come back.
Trekking is what the majority of people associate with when they think of Nepal. Or, they envision a bunch of people meditating on mountain tops wrapped in yak wool and baby goats gently chanting, but the interesting thing about what I am doing is that I am able to truly experience the rawness of Nepal here in the towns and villages where I am treating. I see the daily lives of Nepali people, the endless trash on the streets, the barking dogs, the kids throwing rocks at the dogs and goats, the amplified coughing of and spitting of mucus (didn't like when I lived in NYC, don't like it now) and the other uncomfortable things that we look away from with disgust. The beauty within the people here is indeed in their perseverance and their warm 'hellos' while walking down the street, whatever their pain or hardship might be. I definitely had some different expectations in mind when I first arrived, but now over the half way mark and most likely a little desensitized, I am just telling myself that this is what it is and having that respect, both for how I feel and for what life just simply is over here.
I feel a bit better about things. We spoke up about the food situation. Ramen noodles for breakfast or white bread is not very filling or nutritious, and a little less rice and more vegetables would be grand. It is carb city over here. We get most of our protein from peanut butter and the random egg here and there, but it has been communicated that we need more meat! Again, opening up new clinics is challenging for everyone, including our house Mom. Going with the flow, but definitely asking for what we need. I still wake up at 5:30 AM every morning from the noise. It seems everyone wakes at this time and starts doing their daily chores (basically clanging and banging of washing dishes and exchanging morning conversations at an increased volume that not even my ear plugs can buffer). Still cold showers along with sparse, if any at all internet connection. The house in which we stay is more of a boarding house. There are many people who come in and out (we have a lock on our door) and there still never seems to be a moment of peace or privacy (the three of us share a room), but so it goes. I started having some vertigo again this week which of course is a little disturbing, but just trying to get through it. I suspect the weather and barometric pressure, a little bit of deficiency (OK quite a bit) is to blame, BUT staying on the positive I started doing some yoga this week and ventured out to research the road and learned that there is quite a stretch of somewhat OK paved asphalt on the way out of town that I could actually run on. I did bring a pair of running shoes, I DO wake up at 5:30AM and it really put a spark under my ass this morning to give it a try. It might be the only time I could have some peace some time to myself. Also, carb city is not boding very well for my physique, so if I have three weeks left until I come home and then indulge in the holidays and good ole American consumerism, I might as well move my body and get back into running, something that seemed to slow down during the last quarter before graduation and I miss it... just exercise in general.
Clinic continues to be fantastic though. We still do not have the ideal set up, but we are making do. Many of my patients continue to return and I am honing in on one for my case study. Yesterday I had a patient have a seizure right in front of my eyes. It was scary and a very valuable experience. I had to research if she had had one before (which she did) and then refer her for more testing including a CT scan as we suspect a possible tumor. That is never fun to tell anyone. I have no doubt over these last few weeks I will be flooded with many emotions as I try to focus on my patients and remember the main reason why I am here. There seems to be another 3 day holiday coming up (the festival of lights) so it seems the clinic will be closed which means we essentially only have 14 actual days of clinic left. A little frustrating when we are trying to see people as much as we can, and see what improvements they are making before we leave and pass them on to the next camp of practitioners.
So, yes. Perseverance, staying present, trying to soak it all in, keeping the head up, laughing at the insanity, trying not to be grumpy pants at the chaos and drama, and looking forward to coming home and feeling guilty about using a western toilet or washing machine and seeing and talking to all the people I care about. AND I am also excited to open my mail when I get home to see my license. Joy Jeanette Ann Earl, LAc. (wasn't planning on the full on name, but that is what the birth certificate reads). I have an interview lined up for temporary work when I get home and plan on practicing part time in Forest Grove and have an open house planned early December, so things are good! I am very thankful that I am needling and prescribing herbs every day. I am actually retaining all my knowledge from school and not letting it slip away. It was my goal to continue my education overseas, and I don't regret a thing. Life it too short for that.