The other day as I was watching out the window, I saw a grandfather walk his granddaughter to school hand in hand. They smiled and laughed with each other as they walked. As they reached the school he lovingly flicked her cheek as she smiled up at him and then took herself through the gate and into the school. The grandfather stood watching until the gate closed then slowly turned and headed back in the direction they had come. What a simple thing I thought, that these two probably do quite often but that day I got to witness their love.
It is the things that we do in our everyday life that not many people see that make a difference.
This past month has been one of getting back into a routine. I have not done much travel which has been nice. My focus once again has been on learning the language, working on my research project, and connecting with the people here.
God has blessed me with two new language teachers since my past teacher has had to move to a different area of the city for school. One of these teachers is Hindu, she is helping me with the grammar and reading focus of the language. She does not mind challenging me in my language and giving me homework. She is stretching me, and it has been a privilege to work with her and work to get to know her. My other language teacher is the younger sister of my previous teacher. She does not speak a lot of English and through my struggle to work with her we already have many stories to tell and laugh about. The other person who really has stepped up to help me with my language is Rita. What an amazing friend God placed in my life shortly after my arrival here to Nepal. She is so excited to help me learn her language, she tells me every day that we meet that she is confident that she will make me as fluent in Nepali as she is in English! I pray that she is right, though I am learning more and more of the language it is still a huge struggle for me which can be very frustrating at times. Some days I want to jump for joy because I was able to carry on a simple conversation with a stranger, other days I want to crawl under a rock because I think that someone asked me where I was from but something about the way they said it left me really having no idea if that is what they said or not. I ask that you continue to pray for me in this. Language really is a key part to understanding the people here and their culture. As Rita said, it is her language, it is the people here’s language thus to be a part of them you must understand their home tongue.
I have started setting specific time every week to work on my research project on herbal remedies and their relationship to the culture of the people here. This has given me time to study something that I enjoy as well as the opportunity to meet with different people and learn from them. There is something key about being the learner here not the teacher that opens doors into the people’s lives. As you ask about them and their practices you can here the pride in their voices as they teach you about what they do. This also gives them the chance to ask about me which thus far has seemed to build a bridge of trust with different people. My college professor is someone else that I have had the privilege of slowly getting to know. I pray that God continues to grant me favor in this and continues to open up doors as I interview and learn from the different people here.
I have started connecting with a couple younger girls here as well through the English conversation club that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. These girls are so excited to learn about you and spend time with you. Time here is definitely a love language. Your willingness to set aside a portion of your day to spend time with them means a lot. The other day I was privileged to meet one of the girls’ family. We enjoyed an afternoon together and I got to go to their shop. They are tailors and so I had fun trying on the different traditional dresses they design. We had many laughs since I am not at all an average Nepali size, most of the dresses I could get on but they were all far to short.
I have continued to get to know the different nurses and their friends and families. I was able to spend Losar (the Tibetan new year) with one of them. It was neat to learn about the different things they do on this holiday and fun to try the different food and drinks that they had prepared. We then enjoyed going to a concert where she danced a couple of traditional dances and I got to connect with a few more of her friends. Losar is one of just a few holidays that the Buddhist’s celebrate in a similar way to our New Year it is a time where they do different prayers and activities to prepare for their year to come.
My day to day life here has been mundane, yet I feel blessed. We serve an amazing God but somehow when I am going about my daily life, I take him for granted. It sometimes takes watching a grandfather and his granddaughter walking to school and seeing their love and connection with each other to open my eyes. The memories that grandfather instills in that granddaughter every day is making an impact. How he treated her I could tell made her feel special. What we do everyday no matter how mundane makes a difference. The way we treat others and how we make them feel makes a difference. Our connection with God in our daily lives makes a difference in how others perceive us and in how his light shines through us. I ask that you continue to pray for me here that I do not let things that have started to become mundane deteriorate the love God has placed on my heart here for the people but somehow enhance the passion God has etched in my heart.