Today, I am trying to finish packing for Nepal. The Acupuncture Relief Project dropped off my two heavy duty, rubber-fortified duffle bags and about fifty pounds of medical supplies for me to carry into Nepal. The medical supplies are mostly Chinese herbal formulas in pill form, since I am replenishing the herbal pharmacy in Chapagoan. I’ve had to bar the cats from my home office to keep them away from the fascinating and smelly pills. These medical supplies take up about two-thirds of one duffle.
Now the fun begins. How to best stuff four months worth of travel into two duffle bags and keep each bag under fifty pounds? I think I’ll be playing the ‘carry all your super heavy books in your carry-on’ game.
I received an email from my colleague in Nepal this morning reporting that the electricity and WiFi have been cut down to twice a day in Chapagaon. This means I need to bring a decent collection of real books with me. This suits me just fine, since I love the feel of a paper page between my fingers. I have had a gleeful time selecting my reading collection, which is why I will need to stuff most if it in my carry-on. A part of me is looking forward to the lack of electricity, to get back to reading, writing, and drawing during my free time. I say this now while I sit in the luxury of 24-hour WiFi. I know how it sounds. Luckily, there is still enough electricity to let me post a blog weekly and try to quickly send of a couple emails.
Otherwise, clothing and clinic supplies are tucking nicely into the duffles. The biggest challenge is fitting my glass cupping set into the duffle with enough clothing to pad and protect it. It is a little bulky, but cupping is one of my favorite treatments for back and shoulder pain. I’m committed to getting these cups to Nepal.
During the packing, I came along a hilarious, looking clothing item. Last year, my friend and colleague gave me two odd, colorful, knitted face masks. She had just finished volunteering with the Acupuncture Relief Project in the 2012 winter camp. She told me I would need them for the dust and other particulate pollution that gets strong in February and March. Apparently, it is especially strong in the larger cities. They are very soft and comfortable. I might even wear them when I sleep to keep my nose warm.
I have ten days until I board the plane for Kathmandu. Aside from the excitement of packing, planning reading lists, and crossing off to-do list items, I am experiencing a colorful stew of emotions; excitement, nervousness, melancholy, and anxiousness–all seasoned with a dash of self doubt and a pinch of resolve. My thoughts restlessly pace from concern over my acclimation to the winter climate, to joy of providing health care, to the long separation from my husband, to the great unknown of travel, and my ability to adapt culturally, emotionally, and physically to Nepal. I have to triple check my packing list and to-do lists. I notice that I need to carry a pen and paper with me everywhere to avoid forgetting stray thoughts. But ultimately, I am confident that I will adapt and that there will be ups and downs during my clinical time there. Until then, I will simmer in my emotional stew and know that all of these emotions are perfectly normal. There is a big transition ahead of me.