Hi All! I’ve been meaning to post about this for literally months, and due to the state of the world, now have the time to do it. Stay inside and enjoy!
I’ve performed a fair amount in my life. In elementary school, I took part in the yearly school plays and church Christmas pagents. As I got older, I joined band and performed in countless concerts. In high school, I continued with both band and theater and continued with band through college. After college, work, life, etc. got in the way and I stopped performing. I realized that I missed it. Last spring, my friend performed at a storytelling event and I loved it. The event was a group of regular people, telling stories from their lives. I laughed, I cried, I thought about things. I decided to sign up to perform one myself.
There’s apparently a huge wait list, because I didn’t perform until December. I forgot when I agreed to do December, just how stressful that month is. In addition to getting ready for the holidays, I was dealing with a very intense work deadline that we had to meet in order to get re-accredited, whilst being short staff. So it was more work than I thought to get a story together.
A week before the event, we had to meet to workshop our stories with the other performers. I was way more nervous than I thought I was going to be. I almost didn’t go, which is very unlike me. But I did and it was a super nice process and got some good constructive feedback, which I then incorporated despite the looming intense work deadline.
I need to give a huge shout-out to my sister/roommate, who listedn to me perform the story almost every day for a week and then went to the performance to see the finished product, without one compliant!
The day of the performance, I was once again incredibly nervous, again seriously considered not going, but again was glad I did it. Luckily, I was first. I always hated going first in school presentations (3rd was my sweetspot), but was actually thrilled to be going first, as I could enjoy the remaining performances and not stress about my own story. I think the performance went really well and once the world calms down a bit will be looking for more opportunities to do this.
There was no script, as I did it from memory. So below is a close approximation of what I remember performing. The overall moral of my story (in addition to just being a way to talk about the fact that I went to Nepal!) was that things will all work out if you just wait. I hope and pray that is true for our time now. Enjoy!
So I was standing on a cliff in Nepal waiting for my turn to paraglide and I was nervous. Waiting had kind of been the theme of the trip so far. The 125ish mile trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara, where we currently were, took about 8 hours where we had nothing to do but wait in the car. The paragliding trip was supposed to start at 9, so naturally, our instructors didn’t come until 11.
I’ve never really liked waiting and I found myself in a very waiting time in my life outside the trip. I hated my job and was waiting for the right job to hire me. My Grandma died recently and I was waiting emotionally as I worked through that grief. So all this waiting was a little tough for me.
When our instructors had finally arrived at the hotel, they piled the 5 of us and the 5 of them in an SUV. To fit us all in there, they moved the seats to face sideways. I was crammed in the back with our super cool instructors. They were all about 20 and used way more American slang than I had ever seen outside of a movie. They talked about how awesome it was going to be, and they’d be taking pictures of us with their GoPro cameras the whole time and we’d land by this awesome lake.
When we got to the mountain, they told us to leave everything in the van. I took my phone with me incase I wanted to take pictures while we waited, but left my purse with my wallet and passport in the van. As we walked up the mountain, one by one we went to our instructors launching area.
My instructor was not one of the super cool guys, which I was kind of greatful for. He was in his 30s or 40s, which gave me comfort, since he had lived long enough to hit that age, he must be good at his job. There were a lot of people on the mountain, so we had to wait a while. After I got harnessed, my instructor gave me the instructions for take off. He said, “I’ll say walk, and you walk, I’ll say run, and you run, the mountain will end, but you keep running, I’ll say sit, and then you sit back in the harness and don’t have to do anything until landing.” While we waitied, he pointed out whenever someone who was taking off before us did it wrong. This made me even more nervous as I would not only have to run off a mountain, but I could do it incorrectly.
While we waited, I watched all my friends take off. It was finally our turn, and I walked, ran, and sat correctly! Paragliding was not the extreme sport I thought it would be. It was very peaceful. I could one way and see the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas. If I looked another way, I could see a lake. If I looked down, I could see forest, and birds. If I looked straight ahead, I could see a rainbow of other parachutes in the sky.
My peace died down a bit as we got ready to land as we were no where near the lake, but rather in a field surrounded by cow pies. My landing was much less successful than the take off as I was confused, a little nauseaus from the final round of acrobatics we did, and quite frankly trying to keep my shoes clean. After we got unharnessed, my instructor told me to wait and my friends would be landing soon. I was confused, as I had seen all my friends take off before me, but there was nothing I could do but wait. At one point I was taking a picture of someone landing and was told that’s not your friend, that’s a Chinese guy.
Eventually, my instructor got a phone call. My friends had landed somehwere else, but they would come to get us shortly. He said we’d go somewhere and wait for them. We literally went to what I think was someone’s house. There was a baby, an old lady, and chickens. I was starting to get worried. Right as we got there, this guy asked me what kind of phone I had and then I started panicking as my phone was my only connecting to the outside world. I told him I didn’t know, which obviously I know what kind phone I have, but I panicked. He took the phone out of my hand and plugged something in and said he was downloading pictures form the GoPro. I calmed down a little.
I sat there with the instrutor and the phone guy outside the house and they offered me some tea. Again panic set in as I was told not to drink the water unless it was boiled. I figured they must have boiled it to make the tea and I was hoping it would help my stomach, so I took it. It was very sweet and very delicous.
While we waited for the van to come we talked. I talked about how I was here for my friend’s wedding. My instructor was very happy she was marrying a Nepali guy and assumed it was an arranged marriage. I didn’t want to tell him, it was in fact not arranged, and that when I met this friend she was with an Abhisheik and was now marrying Abhinash, which was really an upgrade. We talked about America. The instructor said he always wanted to paraglide in America, but some areas were too sandy. I told him I didn’t think Chicago was too sandy, but it was flat. He seemed to not really see the point of paragliding then.
While this was going on, I was surprisingly calm. The whole 8 hour trip to Pokhara, I seen Nepali men sit outside houses and drink tea. So I figured this was probably the most authentic experience I could get.
Eventually, he told me he’d just drive me back to the hotel, which again made me nervous as I was traveling to a secondary location, but what could I do. In the van was myself, the instructor, and a bunch of other people who may have been paragliders or related to the baby. I will probably never know. They did drive me back to the hotel, and as I walked down the driveway, my friend’s husband Gary came out to meet me. Now, I like Gary, but I have never been more happy to see him in my entire life. I came into the hotel, and saw all my friends and more importantly, my purse with my wallet and passport.
After I got back from the trip, my life hadn’t changed. It would take months for me to find a new job and work through my grief, but I tried to remember the lesson I learned paragliding. If you just wait everything will work out.