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Shed with a view over Kathmandu

My Nepal Trip

My first few days in Kathmandu have been a challenge. When I arrived at the hostel (compound) I was surprised to see that the walls were topped with razor wire and there were huge metal gates. Foolishly I thought these were to keep the volunteers safe, but soon realised they were to stop us escaping.

I had paid extra for a private room as I did not want to spend every morning surrounded by nubile 20 year olds in thongs, making me feel even more depressed about the toll age and gravity have taken on my body.

Stable Life

My quarters are separate from the rest of the house and it appears that the last thing to live here had 4 legs. Someone must have shooed it out and threw a mattress on the floor hours before I arrived. The only other thing in the room is a bookcase off a skip. Why the hell do I need a bookcase? A wardrobe would have been good.

A large padlock secures the door and I was advised to padlock myself in at night. I do this but then lie awake worrying that my iPhone, which is attached essentially to 2 live wires sticking out of the wall, might burst into flames. I would be totally buggered as the window only opens 6 inches ‘for my security’. These are my thoughts as I lie in bed trying to drift off, when I am bored of squashing giant beetles by torch light.

Gappy Granny

The rest of the group, as one would expect, are mainly gap year students, full of youthful optimism, wanting to see the world and doing the Nepal Trip. I am the only English person, but fortunately English is the spoken language in the hostel.

At the introductory meeting I jokingly introduced myself as the ‘Gappy Granny’. Big mistake. I have nothing against Chinese people per se, apart from the giant mobile phones, excessive use of selfie sticks and appalling dress sense. However, one particularly annoying Chinese girl, Xo Siang Ho, really hacks me off. Every time she sees me she says ‘Hilo Garpee Grawnee.’ I swear if she says it again I will poke her in the eye with a chopstick. Or I might just strangle her with her Huawei headphones,

Finding Oneself

The other person of note (or not) is an extremely dull German called Jorg. I know that a nation that prides itself on ‘precision engineering’ is not going to be full of people you want to go down the pub with on a Friday night, but this guy is a particularly fine specimen.

He is 46, single (I wonder why)? And a software engineer (exactly). He drones on incessantly in a thick Germanic accent about how he comes to Nepal every year ‘to find himself.’ If he hasn’t found himself by now perhaps he should consider going back home and jumping under an Audi on the Autobahn, to put us all out of our misery.

Culture Week

This week has been a Cultural Immersion Week (initiation by fire) on the way of life here, before I am let loose on my class on Monday. As well as trying to learn some Nepali (impossible), I have witnessed abject poverty, but also the immense pride and contentment of the Nepalese people. One wise old man said to me ‘we expect little, so are happy with little, whereas you Westerners expect so much and are never happy with what you have.’ So true…

Reflecting on Nepal (after a long climb)!

Midlife Crisis Stages

Preparations for my Trip over the past few months have been extensive.  Firstly, I had to make the announcement to Husband.  Normally when I say ‘Darling’ in a semi sexy voice over supper, I am about to admit to yet buying another Ralph Lauren shirt, or some Take That tickets.  This time the ‘Darling’ was sexier than ever… Husband coped very well with the announcement that his wife of 23 years was buggering off to Asia for 3 months to find herself. He knew there were midlife crisis stages, but he just wasn’t sure which one I was in.

Cool Mum

I actually think he saw a green light for more tennis matches, meals out with the Boys and to get his motorbike licence.  Which led me to believe he, in his own way, is having a mini midlife crisis too.  My grown-up kids, to be honest, were shocked. 

Reliable Mum, always at the end of a WhatsApp message and ready with a roast dinner when required, was doing something so “un-Mum-like’ they could hardly believe it.  Eyes widened, mouths opened, then eventually came the words ‘Mum, that is so Cool!’  Rarely in all my years as a mother, have I done anything is my kids’ eyes which is ‘Cool’, so I am taking this one and I am taking it Big Time.  

Grey Hair

Worryingly my friends all asked the same two questions, and in the same order ‘What will you do with your hair?’ and ‘What does Husband think?’ I told them I was going to tie up the first and might well do the same to the second.  Why do my friends think my peroxide bob comes before Husband?  That is worrying.  I guess I can at least hide the fact that one is very grey.

 

I have also had to cope with a lot of pricks lately, and I don’t just mean the guy in the camping shop who tried to sell me a £350 sleeping bag.  No, I mean vaccinations!  I have actually had so many that if I keeled over in the high street and someone saw my arms, I would be carted off to the nearest rehab centre. 

Jayne Webb eating lunch smiling in one of the stages of a midlife crisis.

A nice lunch out before I go…

Barking Mad

I thought Japanese Encephalitis was something on the menu at YO! Sushi but, it is in fact, a rare, but often fatal brain disease, carried by mosquitos and it requires 2 bloody great needles full of serum to prevent it. I have also had 3 jabs for rabies and guess what?  It actually does not STOP me catching rabies!  It just means that when I fall to the ground, foaming at the mouth and barking with a limp tail I have more time to get to hospital.  Great….!