Note to newcomers accepting the writing challenge! You can begin the challenge at any point. There is no right or wrong way to participate. You are not being graded or judged. This is a gift we are giving ourselves. So be gentle during this process. We are about to climb a mountain, YO! Remember that. Remember we must be present. Release all self-defeating thoughts. You can do this. I do want to remind the new climbers that no matter what day you decide to join the challenge please begin at the beginning. It’s important to prepare! Sending you all love. See you at the top of the mountain. With all my love, Alicia
Day 2 ~ Flight and Day of arrival
We have arrived to Nepal, all peaks and mountains and cold… this will be an extremely challenging journey. I must remember to breathe often because I tend to forget. As I look out of this truck… at the massive structure that is what mother earth has created. The view alone is stunningly breathtaking and alarming all at the same time. There are so many mountains near each other, each with their own challenges. And I chose Makalu, one of the hardest mountains to climb. I ask myself, am I really about to do this? Snow… ice… climbs… breathe… remember to breathe.
After a long 24 hour flight, most of which I spent watching movies. One of my favorite plays was on, “How we gonna payyyyy? How we gonna pay? How we gonna payyyyyyy…. last year’s rent, this year’s rent, next year’s rent???” It’s probably the song that has been my theme for the past seven year’s. I love that play though, I love that RENT depicts many pains that artists struggle with in surviving and how important it is to have known and shared love. Seasons of LOVEEEEEE… I slept and thought about so many things. Mostly, my mind is filled with all that I have dreamt of for me and Courtney and how different my life is. I am meditating on my life plan and all the plans I have made, some of which have miraculously come true and others that have just not manifested. When do you finally surrender the old plan? When do you give up on it? When do you surrender and realize that maybe wanting the old plan so badly isn’t enough, maybe we should consider that perhaps THAT PLAN really isn’t the RIGHT plan??? So then what is the plan? What is the plan for my life? Where am I headed? Why am I here?
I slept quite a bit on the flight and had so many dreams that I can’t remember and began reading a few of the letters from the writers in the NYCLWG. Diana Q’s letter was filled with so many beautiful images of what I should look for in every step I make during my climb. And Jakira’s letter was so great… she is so funny. Her advice is always so practical and filled with love and hope and I can see her smile in every word of love she wrote to me.
I finally arrived, Yo! I am getting excited. I have arrived to the lands of Kathmandu. I am on my way to the lodge where I will be meeting other adventurers, team leaders and expert climbers. I am dedicated to completing this 40 day expedition. I am so nervous. I have never taken on such an experience. Of all the adventures I have been on throughout Latin America, this one feels different, scarier than all the others. I am really flying now. I am by myself and this is the greatest test of my strength, strength of spirit, my mind, my body, and my heart.
I arrived to the Welcome area and my neck feels somewhat tense…. Its just my nerves… breathe Alicia! You’re finally here. You are here to prove something to yourself. This is for you! For Courtney! Be present!
The team leaders all introduce themselves and layout the agenda for the first few days. For now we are just gathering, getting comfortable and meeting other climbers. We go through the entire course for the next four weeks. There are people from the United States, India, France, Germany, other European countries, Central and South America. I am the only Dominican woman here. And I breathe… tonight I will get a good night’s rest.
I can’t believe I am finally here. We leave for the mountain the day after tomorrow. Let the journey begin. Aché. Namaste
4 thoughts on “Nepal trip ~ Day 2: Flight and Day of arrival”
Padam waved and wished me well. I had the great luck of meeting a very bouncy, all smiles, all touchy feely sort of woman who when she wasn’t tending to passengers, she was telling me tales of her family’s climbing adventures. She left me with a wealth of information and with the instruction that I should ask for Asmita Thapa, her brother’s wife, when I arrived to meet the other climbers.
The airport was busy. Everyone was friendly but obviously determined to get to where they were going. A mother dragged her son by the arm as he hummed a sweet tune. He smiled a wicked smile when he saw me despite his mother’s rapid pace. Two men, both handsome and strangely tall were standing in a far off corner, posing as if they belonged on the cover of GQ. They appeared to be selling something. They kept stopping people during their travels to and fro and showed them random items I could not make out and on my way out of the airport, there stood a most woman. She looked like the bronze statue of the veiled dancer I bought some years back during a group trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her long, Indian-orange threads hugged her shoulders and thighs. She was all covered up but one could make out the contours of her hips and calves. She didn’t have to do anything, people just gravitated to her, yielded as they exited the airport to get a better look at her. If this was the beginning of what Makalu had in store for me then I was ready. Bring it on!
I boarded the bus where climbing gear took up as many seats as passengers. I greeted everyone I passed and knocked around a poor old man as I clumsily made my way to the back of the bus. I sat in the last row of the bus, right in between a woman who sat staring out the window and a young man flipping through the December 2013 edition of the Sierra Club. I knew the cover immediately. It was currently sitting on my kitchen table.
The ride was bumpy and I spent most of the ride thinking about the journal Papi had given me. Tears pooled in my eyes at the realization, he “gets it.” My heart swells. I wanted to tell him what it meant to me. I wanted to call Cassie to tell her about the woman at the airport; instead I took out my cell phone and took photos of the scenery. We were getting closer to the mountains. The people, shops and homes became fewer and fewer. It became a different kind of quiet. There was the sound of the wind, the soft ruffle of sand and pebbles under the tires, the rattle of suitcases and climbing gear after each hard thump and the sound of the truck’s engine roaring down the road. Soon we would be there.
I pulled out the journal and opened it to Papi’s note. I passed my fingers over the words he’d written and wondered what was it that passed through his mind when it came to me. I think about the many times he had to defend his love for us by stating, “las quiero todas igual” but I never believed him. I suddenly felt a little guilty for being so hard on him. Titi Niece says I’m not fair when it comes to Papi, that I don’t know about the demons, that there are not two but three sides to each story. I look out the window and notice the sun filtering through the branches and I turn the page, click on the mechanical pencil a couple of times and write:
I WISH I KNEW YOUR STORY.
Peace, love and light on your journey. Lalita
Thank you. I love you.