It was last minute, the whole thing. I found out the lovely Jen Lemen was in Kathmandu, so I decided to hop on a bus and come to see her.
The Superstar Husband was involved, of course. As well as guys from our old hotel, who hooked me up with a bus ticket.
But as I was planning my trip, I began to think there was something missing. As in... a little companion. Like a little girl who might need some one-on-one with Mama time. Very rare, at our house. And I went back and forth, because I'm doing the last proof-reading of my book, and I can ALWAYS use time to work. Like seven hours on a bus.
But then I chose her, chose time with her.
And now we are here. We spent time with Jen yesterday and I discovered that she is just as beautiful in person. I think it is the beginning of a long friendship. (I hope!)
And YaYa? Well, we got on the bus yesterday at 7:00 in the morning, boarding below a breathtaking view of the Annapurna Mountain range, and we felt like we were in a fairy tale. We live on the quiet side of the lake, but unfortunately, it is also the side of the lake without the mountain views. So it was awing to see them, their height and ripples, with the snow blowing off them.
We're able to share it all. YaYa points the donkeys out. She gets right to work on the book she is writing and illustrating. She mentions that she loves the way Nepali children call out "Hello!" to every bus they see.
Today we wandered Kathmandu together, hand in hand. I took photos of her amidst ancient buildings and flocks of pigeons. She took photos of me and of flowers that she loved.
This is what I notice about kids getting older: It's awesome. And they need the one-on-one time more, and I need to find ways to give it to them. Which means sometimes that what could have been a trip for solitude is trip with a little companion, but I know that every moment we build together is something that we will remember, that will keep us together as she grows older. Moments of love, of noticing beautiful things.
And sad things too; she almost started crying when she saw a bunch of chickens in a cage all piled on top of each other. When one crowed, she asked it, "Are you calling for help?" And I explained to her that we wouldn't be giving money to street kids (this is a long story, but basically they reject real help, real help that is available to them, because of the life that travelers offer to them: free money and bon bons- but that we would give money to old people and people with disabilities.) So she kept pointing out men without legs and rushing to give them money when I handed it to her. Sometimes with kids, it's not whether or not it actually helps (although as a family we try to give money where it really DOES help) but how much you cultivate the willingness to walk on by. I don't want my kids to get hardened to need because we live in a place where begging is a problem. So I'm happy for them to give some money when it doesn't compromise too much.
Whoa, long rabbit trail, but it's an important part of living here.
Anyways... my point is that in years past I may have fled the house, screaming with joy over a day of blissful solitude. But this time is different. I see that my kids are getting older and I want to strengthen this beautiful bond of love that we have.
I picked YaYa because she is the one who I knew would most enjoy this, and most be okay with sitting around while I had coffee with Jen, or looked for the things I can't find in Pokhara. As well as with two seven-hour bus rides in three days. We leave first thing; we couldn't stay away long.
I'm thinking I'd like to try a trek with Kid A. He'd love it, I think. It would be right up his alley. He would NOT have been as happy with all the sitting around.
(I have nothing to transfer photos to this computer. I will post them soon!)