My feet dangled in the air. A patchwork of farms and trees spread below me, carpeting the mountains and hills from the snowy Annapurna range in the north to Phewa Tal lake in the south. The sun was high in the sky at noon; the lake glistened, bathed in the warmth of the light. Up where I was, the air was chilly; the cold winds enveloped me and I was an eagle, high above the noise of the lands.
Back on the earth, I missed home.
My home, praised and sung to since time immemorial. A place I never lived in for too long, but always called it home. Where my grandmother wakes up in the morning and, despite her age, goes to the local markets to pick the fresh crops of the day to cook me my favourite meals. Where I would go every two days to the dairy shop with an empty, white plastic bucket and return with one filled with yoghurt. Often, it would be a blue bucket: that is for when I get goat’s yoghurt. The milk bucket was white, but large; the metal handle always strained my flimsy hands.
I remember my mother — beautiful and wearing a purple and white dress — on the balcony watching me cross the street on my own. I felt powerful and confident; a whole new world was out there for me to explore, beyond the confines of the street. I ventured into the wilderness behind the grocery store. Back then, it was a long stretch of meadow and patches of barren sand; now it is a sports complex. I had on me a water pistol to defend me from evil foes I would encounter. All I had encountered on my adventure was a tomato plant; it had sprung from the earth defiant yet lonely. My neighbour kept it.
Two decades later, I was walking through meadows in Pokhara, Nepal, with a backpack filled with crackers, cheese, a water bottle, a jacket, and two flashlights in case it got dark while I was still out. Bugs found their home on my legs (and a spider on my scalp); I carried them with me on my new adventure to find pieces of my soul I have been chasing. Dreams I have longed to be fulfilled. I found myself at sunset by the lake; the air was crisp and cold and the afternoon sun was breaking behind the mountains. I breathed in the realisation of a dream. For so long have I seen photos of lakes and mountains and longed to be there on sunsets or sunrises. And here I was, enjoying the scenery, bugs and all.