I don’t know if it is wise to throw you in at the deep end and scare you away or if I underwhelm you with a mediocre story and you think I’m talking a big game.
So I’m going to go with one of my more PG, family friendly (ish) accounts, a time where I really had to stop still to embrace the moment and think, “this is undoubtedly the most surreal experience of my entire life!” And I’ve had a complete stranger walk into my living room on a Sunday morning looking for someone else and them not leave for 2 days.
When I was 20 I took my first ever trip out of the UK. I had never been on a plane or had a passport, in fact I had barely traveled very far from my home town at all. The day I got on my first plane was the day I went to live in Nepal for 3 months as a volunteer with people I had never met in my life.
I have so many tales to tell on that trip and I intend to make a post about it so for now I will tell you this one anecdote. I hope it is enough to give you a window into my experience as a human in general.
Nepal is in Asia, snuggled up right in between India and China, it is the home of Mount Everest and an incredible country! There are many traditions, festivals and rituals which I was able to explore and be a part of while I was there. As part of our first weeks training we went on a trip round a monkey temple in the capital city, Kathmandu. It was night time and the place was bustling with people, fire and “The Holy Monkeys’.
As we approached the light of the flames, our Nepali tour guide turned to casually mention that we were about to reach a mass burning of human bodies.
I don’t know how everyone in the group felt but when I saw it, I thought it was beautiful. There were people gathered all along the side of the river and bodies spaced along the edge of the water, engulfed by flames. Everybody was praying and chanting prayers.
They cannot bury people in their land as it is mainly sand and rock due to the mountains and so cremating them is the best way. It is the normal way to hold a funeral.
After our training we were sent to rural areas to live and work within the community and with the schools. This is where I spent most of my trip, my family fed me every night and welcomed me into their home. We lived off a diet of 90% rice. We would have tea first thing in the morning, rice and lentils for brunch, then we would sometimes go out and get a snack (probably dry instant noodles – im not kidding) and then we would have rice and lentils for tea. On the very odd occasion my family would have goat as a special side for us but as I was vegetarian, I would be offered egg.
Please note****** Do not eat the eggs in Nepal.
The day after my first egg (I was stupid enough to eat one twice), I woke up with dread in my stomach. I am a hardy girl, I have eaten all sorts and never once had food poisoning but that egg rinsed through me. And I had shit to get done… lol literally. Life doesn’t stop when you live in a mud house.
So I packed up my clothes and went down to the river with my friends to do our washing. The river in my little town of Khurkhot in Sindulhi was stunning; wide, white sandy beaches and big mountain views. I loved going to hand wash my clothes in the river and drape all my clothes on the giant rocks, having chance to relax and take in the views while they dry. I have to say though, when your arsehole feels like its a dam for Niagra Falls, it’s a struggle to find serenity in your surroundings.
Obviously I was embarrassed, how could I tell my fellow volunteers that I was about to shit myself. I had no option but to run away and hide behind one of the boulders without anyone noticing me. So I pegged it, whacked down my hareem pants and let it go…
I nervously turned right to see if anyone could see me, then took a turn to the left and that’s when I saw it.
It is a sentence I never thought I would say but…
I had explosive diarrhoea no more than 20 metres away from a burning dead body.
And so I told my friends at home and they called me Feral Amy and I couldn’t shake the nickname for a year.