For those who would like a typical update, this is for you.
-Yes, I am in Nepal. Contrary to what it seems the world news portrays, not all Nepal has crumbled. I am ‘safe’. I felt the earthquake, and continue to feel many of the aftershocks, and have found them to be a unique beautiful force of nature. I am as thrilled by earthquakes as I am by thunderstorms!
Overall, the village is pretty laid back about the whole earthquake situation. Those who watch a lot of news get worked up (really sad or fearful). But, mostly people are chilled out.
– The last couple days, I have spent a great deal of time writing and connecting deep into a stream of thoughts and perspective about the response I’ve received and have seen regarding the recent Earthquake action in Nepal. It’ll be a chapter of the book, but feels more timely now. You can find my full earthquake story titled ‘The Earthquake Shake: The Latest Dance Craze of the Himalayas’ at thehaileyjones.wordpress.com.
– If you’re looking at a map of Nepal, I am a couple of hours outside of Pokhara. I don’t know if there is a map, the primary village I’m in is called Damdame. That puts me like 80 miles from Kathmandu, the place in Nepal you’ve been seeing on the news.
– These villages are amazing, self-sustaining, abundant. Farming culture, using what the land gives culture. These small hamlets care for each other, helping each other out whenever possible.
My village family looks out for me just as much as their own. Everyone always makes sure that you have eaten. “Heema! COME!” I don’t want to even eat, but I am forced so frequently. It’s possible they’re fattening me up for their full moon sacrifice.
The baba (crazy old man) of the family… I think he’s my Grandpa Jones. Same style, similar laugh. Two lives. Ama (wise woman) is like the perfect fusion of all of my grandmas. I have an auntie next door who also calls me daughter. She’s like the elder crazy aunt, she spooned me to sleep the night of the village campout. That was an odd and kind experience.
– My name has fully been changed to Heema Gurung (pronounced hee-mah, goo rung). It actually is strange to even think of myself as Hailey anymore. Although I have been told many times that it’s a good idea to marry a Nepali man, I have not gotten myself into a marriage situation here. Lesson learned in India. My name changed naturally, that’s kind of cool!
– Today, I went to a community meeting. The principle asked me to come to school. Every time I’ve gone there, the kids are just sitting in circles chatting or playing volleyball. I thought he wanted me to come teach. Instead, the whole village showed up for a community meeting. I sat there in the audience, then was asked to move to the front of the room. Where I sat for two hours, trying to entertain the children with just my curious eyes. I’m not sure why I was asked to be there. I have no idea what was said in the meeting nor was I presented or asked to share anything. So… what?
-The call to come back to the USA is getting stronger.
However it still feels like I’m not coming back…
Sometimes this village feels like the midwest.
Recently, a bunch of Nepali Christian Missionaries showed up.
Then a couple from Chicago arrived.
There was a villager wearing a hat that said ‘Kansas’.
Another is a USA hoodie.
A USA flag bumper sticker drove by.
Then I crossed paths with a super wonderful gal from Colorado.
-Whenever someone comes through with any sort of English I gradually unload buckets of stories and ponderings upon them. The great thing about many of the Nepali backpackers you meet in the hills is that they are also pretty spiritual people.
– I met such a lovely gal last night. We talked about the beauty of the world and our current observations of it. I also got to share my safety sue episodes with them and it felt so great to hear the laughter they can evoke.
– I’ve been so quiet and learning so much from every little exchange to have someone who can understand my words and stories is such a treat. I am grateful when I hear from you all. Of how my experience is affecting your experience. Of your own personal growth. It’s beautiful and moving, and I am excited for each of you. I apologize for not directly answering your emails always. Most of my internet is limited to my phone (except when I post these big entries). And phone emails are a bit of a headache sometimes. Know that I feel each of you so strongly, and I just want to give you a hug.
– I have so many stories and am very much looking forward to sharing them as they appear to be relevant back home. I keep having a bit of a crisis in writing the book. I am writing it to express the adventure I’ve had for more to be inspired. But, then even knowing that’s my intent it feels very ego driven to write a book about your adventures. Why would this perspective be helpful? Can I even communicate what I’m trying to express? And if I don’t get validation from others, why am I even doing it? There are so many people in the world.
Those are probably normal thoughts in creating something. I’m having a wonderful time and am finding so much beauty in every moment. At times I feel sadness, but it’s not of a sad sense. It’s just recognizing another part of how things can be. But not feeling sad myself, just being moved by the poetry of it all…
Occasionally I travel down the spiral of thoughts relating trip into a deep curiosity of the future. I very mindful of this because in the past, this form of thinking has been very destructive to my relationship with the present. But, I am curious to how this trip meshes with the bigger picture of this existence? Will I really come back? Will this become my true home? Will my roots be ever expanding, never locking me into a official home?
– I have been developing a very clear relationship to cravings and attachments. My cravings for food or activity. Working to discipline myself to release all need of anything but what is. When it’s time to shift, I do. I recognize that what I want isn’t always what I need.
– For those of you who are interested in karma, past lives, and the nature of human existence… I’ve had some really neat breakthrough thoughts about these lately. The world of meditation keeps taking me to really nice places about the nature of existence. If you’re curious, let’s talk about it sometime.
– I have become very famous in these villages for being a great dancer. “HEEMA, DANCE!” I’m often told. I have a dance to a hindi song called ‘Pani Pani’ that everyone likes a lot. Then I also have the earthquake dance, it’s a fusion of storytelling and my joy of movement. I feel like the Billy Elliot of the Himalayas. Considering my physical (and sometimes emotional) resistance in dance, it’s quite surreal still when someone identifies me as a ‘dancer
– My year at Dell’Arte was the most useful ‘formal’ education I’ve ever received. It’s the most useful education I ever received. Lately, I’ve kind of deconstructed the importance of the traditional education… And now am understanding my early resistance to learning math, reading, and science. I’m glad that I know how to write and read, but when you are in a village, you see that those things aren’t really that important. My understanding of how a rainbow is formed, doesn’t alter or really add to my experience of seeing a rainbow and sharing that experience with others.
– Bryan once told me he thought my last words would be ‘thank god for clown training’. I still feel this is true, as it’s how I know how to release my body from feeling physical pain (or getting hurt when I fall). That moment makes me giggle cause it it happened right after I fell out of a hammock.
– There was a man the other day who kept repeating all these ‘problems’ he was having. When someone can speak english and goes on a tangent about problems, I get a bit less than zen.
NO PROBLEMS, no discomfort— your choice, you are not helpless.
The next day, he began again, ‘I have problem. There is no hair on my head.’ I say, ‘You have hat, so no problem. No hat, cold head, problem.’… He replies, ‘It is my personal thinking that it is still a problem.’ … WELL SAID! Who am I to say what’s a problem and what’s not. I can suggest an alternative thinking, but many people like having problems.
– I moved my home stay up the mountain a bit (where I strangely a stronger connection. The woman named Durga says to me while making dinner, “Tomorrow dancing. Today Heema come. Me very happy.” … This morning she woke me up to get ready for the wedding together like a kid on Christmas morning.(Oddly enough her husband’s name is Santa, describing that to them was complicated since they don’t even know Christmas). All of this was a nice reminder of how simple pure happiness can be.
– I swear I try to keep these short. But, I have so many thoughts that I just feel are useful to share. And as thankful as I am to be having this solo journey, also I enjoy sharing it with you all— in a way that hopefully makes you feel as if you’re sitting beside me in this barn loft filled with giant, beautiful spiders. :0)
– I am feeling a call to go to Kathmandu, my plane is scheduled to leave there on the 11th of May. I might need to walk there as I’m not sure if buses are coming or going from there yet. It’s only about eighty miles from me. I know things are rough there, that the city is almost apocalyptic… but I feel that I could bring much needed light to the streets.
– The journey continues and I’ll go where I am called. At least a few more days here in the mountains… I could spend so much more time in Nepal. The nature here, the people, all of it so grounded, so connected… This is true for all the earth, as we all are, regardless of where or how.
– I know many of you are thinking about me a lot lately. You are worried about my safety. I can feel you all so deeply, your concern, your loving thoughts, and prayers. My heart expands back to you and I am so thankful for the warm fuzzies.
Heightened situations call for heightened thoughts, which connect us all together greater spiritually. It’s really neat to be feeling you all so strongly in that meditative space! It’s also helped me check into the more gentle moments of my life and the ones I’ve shared it with.
Anyway, thank you. And, yes, I love you too.
And am glad to have shared a time in my life with you.