Pushing Beyond the Slump

Work is work is work. There comes a point in one’s time abroad when everything becomes finally fairly familiar, and your day to day life settles into a routine. Wake up, go to class, go to work, go home, sleep and repeat. It no longer is exciting to just be there, and you find yourself groaning at the prospect of the day ahead. This is the time that your actions become crucial. You have two choices; two paths you can follow. You can accept that this is the extent of your discovery, be content to groan and grumble while counting the days until you go home, or you can take this as an opportunity. You can push past that boredom to take a second look at the world around you.

Now that I am comfortable I find myself at this point on the edge of two divergent paths. It can, admittedly be hard to find the enthusiasm when the newness has worn off and the annoyances have grown from pricks to a constant pain. When you’re sick and it’s hot and the project you’ve been working on has once again come up to some sort of roadblock the natural inclination is give up, to complain, and to wish for home. This is an inclination that we must resist.

Each time I feel that path begin to diverge beneath my feet I try to take myself out of the situation and look at it with new eyes, because I believe that there is always something that can be learned.

In my illness I have had an opportunity to look at the Nepali medical system. While I hate being unwell I am distracted from the annoyance by my interest in the way that this culture treats illness. I have learned that the medicine here is much cheaper away from the monopolies of American markets, and most people are loath to take anything unless they are quite sick. I have been given recipes for traditional drinks and tinctures and learned the benefits of plain rice and ginger, in a way that I would not have otherwise.

The heat prods me, making me irritable, but the heat also makes me more aware of the ways that the culture here is shaped around it. Never before in my life have I carried an umbrella both for sun and for shade, and here not only do I see many people doing it, I have also picked up on it myself. I am forced to slow my pace to match those around me, and while the timing of things and the constant feeling of being late irks me, I am grateful, when I reflect, that I do not have to move so fast, as I would surely be constantly soaked in sweat.

It is not a sure battle, and I can sometimes feel my patience slipping as I dream about fresh salads and water that I can drink from the tap, but with the help of my co-fellow and coworkers I am able to keep on. This week has been somewhat difficult, but with luck and the right inquisitive mindset, I think I will be able to push out of this slump onto the path of learning and excitement.

Emiline Jacobs ’18
Kathmandu, Nepal