Rule Number Nine (While in Asia): They will assume you have rhythm and like to dance.
I have been to my fair share of countries, so I think I’m qualified to say that, compared to the rest of the world, Americans are rhythmically challenged. Apparently, the Nepalese are not aware of this because I cannot count the number of times they have asked me to dance. I think they assume that I have some moves they’ve never seen before (which is true, my dance moves probably have never been seen before, but that’s because I’m so bad at it!) I should probably also clarify that when they ask me to dance, they’re assuming that I am just going to dance, by myself, in front of them, to Indian music I’ve never heard before. Yeah, no thank you!
I had two new experiences today:
1. I learned how to drive stick shift. Perhaps I should clarify. I was not actually in the driver’s seat (if I was I probably wouldn’t have lived to be writing this post). The driver simply allowed me to move around the stick while he drove, so that I could learn how to change gears…baby steps.
2. I rode on a motorcycle! I am now convinced that the first vehicle I purchase will have two wheels (and a motor! My mom and dad thought I should also only have two wheels for college, but their version involved pedaling).
A woman in the market yesterday asked me where I was from. When I told her the United States, she seemed thoroughly shocked. She told me that my face was so cute, I must be from the Middle East! While I’ve been told that I look Middle Eastern before, it’s never been justified by the fact that I have a cute face. I got a good laugh out of the encounter!
This morning, I met with the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Analyst. We had met by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu on my previous trip to Nepal in January, so this time I asked him if he would like to come out and visit one of the border stations supported by the Red Thread Movement. I enjoyed going back to the border and visiting some old Nepalese friends, while showing him around. He is doing research right now for the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report that will come out this summer, featuring a section on the trafficking in Nepal. To read last year’s report, check out the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report.
I also left for Kathmandu today. It was really hard to say goodbye to the girls. I am an emotional wreck when it comes to goodbyes, and as soon as someone else starts crying I just lose it. So, it was a pretty tearful farewell. I only have one brother, so I’m not exactly sure what it feels like to have a sister, but I think it’s safe to say that those girls really became like the sisters I never had. Despite being victimized by trafficking, cheated by love and deceived by lies, these girls taught me what it means to be “home,” how to love purely and fully and what it looks like to be lit from the inside by this contagious joy. I may never see all of these girls together again, but I consider them my adopted family, and the virtues they’ve taught me will stick in my heart for a lifetime.