It’s late, maybe nine or ten pm Nepal time, but my body has no idea what time it’s supposed to be feeling. The past thirty-six hours of my life have been a blur of airports and airplanes, and I’m running on a meager five hours of sleep to cover the past two days. Driving through Kathmandu in the dark, I begin to question the wisdom of my choice to come to Nepal. All the unknowns feel hostile, not exciting, and I find myself wishing I was home. Unbeknownst to me, I am coming home.
It’s starting to get late, maybe seven or eight pm, and I’m fully aware of exactly how long I’ve been sitting in this cramped van seat. The road ahead of us winds up a steep hill before dipping down into the Kathmandu Valley, and the flow of motorcycles and Tata trucks is almost at a standstill in the evening rush hour. The blinking headlights are making me feel carsick, but I am overwhelmed with a sense of anticipation that drowns out my discomfort. I’m almost home!
I’m a firm believer that in this life we have places we naturally call home, but we also have homes that are birthed in our hearts. The place I grew up is, and always will be home to me, but I have also begun to call my college campus home. And now a third home has been added.
Now I know some of you may be wondering how a place can become a home in a mere six weeks, and to that question I have two answers.
1. God’s been growing Nepal in my heart for three and a half years, and this trip was the final piece of the puzzle in realizing the depth of my love for this place. I’d love to tell you more in person about God’s process of confirming that I will be moving to Nepal someday!
2. Nepalis are some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. We Americans have oceans to learn from them in the area of hospitality. Take for example our friend Bhuwan (front and center in the plaid shirt.)
Bhuwan was the overnight host at our favorite guesthouse called Five14. (If you need a place to stay in Kathmandu, they’re the best! http://five14.biz) Although it was his job to take care of us, he consistently went above and beyond what his duties required. Almost every night we would return to the guesthouse gate after it was already locked (oops!) and Bhuwan would run down the stairs to let us in. Once we were inside, he would ask us about our day, but it was never just a polite question he asked for the sake of conversation. He genuinely wanted to hear about what we had done, and where we had gone, and who we had met that day. Because Bhuwan chose to invest in us, by the end of the trip he had become our dear friend.
People like Bhuwan are the norm in Nepal, and through the hospitality of my many new Nepali friends, I have discovered that it is nearly impossible to not feel at home when you are so well cared for.