I'd be wrong if I didn't ever mention the excrutiating homesickness that comes along at times.
Buses will run you over from the unexpected side.
I'm learning to wash laundry better by peeking at my neighbors. It's good that I can learn from them. They all ask questions. Why is your hair like that? Why aren't they in school? Isn't it tiring to teach them?
Answering is tiring, and answering is the best gift because look, interest! I'm seen too much and not at all. I'm the most visible invisible person.
Here is a woman walking along the street with a loosely wrapped lungi and a large wrap around her waist, with braided hair and glittering green beads around her neck. Here she is reaching out to touch my hair.
Here I am, smiling my Namaste.
I am gratified by every greeting. This is how lonely I am.
I stand in the line at the bank and I'm very aware that I'm the tallest person in the building, tallest by far, and I'm so used to women up to my armpits, but I'm still not used to seeing myself in pictures with them, large and unfamiliar and towering like an ostrich.
And the men sitting under trees in their Nepali hats almost bring me to tears because of their familiarity with one another, and who am I familiar with? Will I ever know that ease? I am a privileged girl, I am a traveler. It is the life many people want, and I am curled away from it, shuddering because I have other dreams too.
(There is a little girl for us somewhere, I am convinced of it. Maybe she is not born yet, but I want her so badly, and I'm crying because I don't usually write about this. And there are so many reasons it might not happen, yes, there would be one more plane ticket, yes, guest house rooms are already too small. No, we don't have any money, and there doesn't seem to be any way these dreams can fit together, and I'm not a perfect mother, I'm not, I'm not, but I'm still waiting for her, I have been since I was a little girl myself. I have to hang on, not knowing if I will ever be able to bring her home.)
There are so many flecks of foreignness in every single day, and I am constrained from bitterness by the gratitude I feel in being a guest here.
Buses will run you over if you look the wrong way crossing the street.
I go to the tiny church and sit trying to sing, trying to understand the few words I know. It's beautiful, all the women's voices, the women who carry water from the pump, who spend their lives working, women singing with eyes closed. I am crying with them, I am inside and out, at the same time.
The lake could be mine. I watch it often enough.
That clump of old ladies, perhaps I could go and wrap my long arms around them. Perhaps they wouldn't pull away.