Lost in Translation

Nothing is easy in Nepal, as if the country is testing its inhabitants. Roads are rough, mountains high and weather extreme. There is just no getting around it, life in Nepal is hard. Whether you are a mountain terrace farmer, rising early each morning to climb endlessly up and down your fields, or a taxi driver in Kathmandu, dealing with traffic jams, smog and automobile horns that seem to never cease; without a heavy dose of patience, life here would be impossible. But the fruits of this challenging environment are sweet and nourishing. Nepal’s people are patient, kind and resilient. The landscape is awe inspiring, so much so that I cannot put into words and pictures just don’t do it justice. It is precisely for these reasons that I was both nervous and excited about my impending visitors.

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Recently my wife (Katherine) and father-in-law came to visit. I tried to design a trip that showed them the best of Nepal while also giving them a window into my daily life. There were a few hiccups but I think they had a great trip. We toured temples, pagodas and palace squares, met the wonderful people that I am lucky enough to call friends and witnessed much of the beauty this country has to offer. They were both awed and astonished by the splendor and devastation that Nepal somehow seamlessly meshes together. Afterwards Katherine told me that I had planned a “first rate third world experience”. In the end I was just happy to spend some time with my wife and I don’t think it would have mattered one bit where we went or what we did during her stay.

Before arriving Katherine very eloquently stated that the reason she was so anxious to see Nepal was not just because she missed me but because she would never be able to fully appreciate my journey without seeing it firsthand. In this blog I have desperately tried to relay those experiences but there is so much I will never be able to describe. The raw emotions somehow get lost in translation. If you want to understand you have to see and feel for yourself. Her insight made me realize that change starts through perspective. Since arriving in Nepal I have been receiving that perspective in large uncontrolled doses. It’s what you do with that perspective that makes all the difference. The PULSE application’s first question asks: What are your motivations for being a volunteer?  My answer: I wanted the chance to give back for all the good fortune I have received in life; the chance to help others so I can inspire others to do the same. And while I hope I have fulfilled those aspirations, I have received so much more in return. So take the leap, volunteer, help a friend, comfort a loved one, or simply perform random acts of kindness.  It’s an easy way to learn about yourself and the world around you.

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4 comments

  1. Paul , This is Julia in the Bldg 5 clinic in RTP. I have been reading all your blogs and I am amazed at how well you write , thank you for sharing it has meant so much to me to read about your journey. So glad your wife was able to visit you !!

  2. What wonderful reflections and pictures, Paul! So glad that your wife got to visit you too. You well captured how “in giving you shall receive” — but I also want to thank YOU for giving so much to all of us who have partaken in your blogs & sharing throughout your PULSE journey. You created a window into your experience and reflections and, in so doing, expanded the positive PULSE ripple effect even further. Thanks for your gift!

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey, Paul. I looked forward to every post you put up! One day I too would like to experience this live changing journey but need to wait until all of my children graduate from school. In the meantime it was so enjoyable to learn about yours. Good work my good and faithful servant.

  4. Glad you had a great visit with Katherine and her dad. It’s been fascinating following you, your stories and your subsequent insights. As Ahsiya said perfectly, thank you for your gift!

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