Day 18: Blessings in Disguise

If I’ve learned one thing on this odyssey, it’s that patience truly is the mother of all virtues. After sending emails and posting blogs two weeks ago, I went to the main street to catch my 3:00 ride back to Zangla. I sat on the curb, roasting in the sun, waiting, waiting, waiting. No taxi. I happened to spot a villager whom I recognized, and inquired about the taxi. Apparently the taxi driver was waiting for a passenger who would be arriving by bus later on in the day. Okay, fine. No problem. I’m a patient girl, I’ll just wait it out. What else could I do?

I ended up waiting for six hours on the side of the road. But I remained light-hearted! Sure, that was a hell of a long time to wait. But at least I was fortunate enough to use the Internet today! I was trying to count my blessings.

The ride home was grueling. The road felt especially rocky, I felt sick from sitting in the sun all day, and the 8-person vehicle was stuffed with 13 passengers. The taxi bumped violently over the uneven terrain for an hour and a half, knocking me around. By the time we reached Zangla, I was sure my hip bones were fractured from being squished so tightly in-between people. Though slightly peeved and thoroughly exhausted, I remained optimistic. At least I had a warm bed and an even warmer family to return to at the monastery. Not everyone has that, I reminded myself. I was still trying to count my blessings.

When I got back to the monastery, it was deserted. All the doors were locked, including the door to my bedroom. No key to be found. The children were gone, the nuns were gone. Everyone was gone. I called out for several minutes, “Hello? Is anyone here? Hello?!” But my only response was the disquieting silence of the empty courtyard. I ended up crawling into my bedroom though the tiny cat port that connects to my quarters underneath the bookcase. I scratched up my arms and legs doing so, and collapsed onto the floor mat that serves as my bed. I decided then that counting my blessings was stupid and pointless, and I crawled into my sleeping bag–livid.

I awoke with a clear head. The nuns were bustling around as if nothing had happened and were more than happy to see me. They had all gone to a gathering in the village the night prior, and had locked the doors. I realized that they obviously thought I wasn’t returning until the following day. It was unusually late after all. They apologized for locking my door, and laughed when I told them how I was able to get in. I laughed along with them. In retrospect, it was sort of ridiculous.

The rage I felt just a few hours ago dissipated and I reinstated my lightness of heart. I concluded that the tiny cat port, the one I had so vehemently cursed as I crawled through it the night before, was indeed a blessing in disguise. How would I have gotten into my room otherwise? I suppose blessings are like that, sometimes. We don’t realize their value until after they’ve helped us. So thank you, tiny cat port. For miraculously accommodating my tall Nordic stature and my wide American rear. I couldn’t have ended the day in my warm bed without you.

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About Hanna Dougherty

Hanna is a sophomore with a major in International and Comparative Studies and a minor in Community Action and Social Change. After graduation, she is interested in pursuing a career in international humanitarian aid with a focus on educational development and youth engagement. Hanna will be spending 12 weeks in India volunteering with the Jaymang Foundation, an organization that dedicates itself to equal educational opportunities and literacy for indigenous girls and women in the Indian Himalayas. Hanna’s research project will focus on using in-depth community-based inquiry to explore native perspectives of the most pressing issues concerning education that exist in the region, and furthermore, how international humanitarian aid has helped or harmed the path to improvement of the educational sector. By focusing specifically on local perceptions of educational issues, Hanna hopes to re-emphasize the importance of empowerment from directly within communities that receive aid, and thereby push traditional notions of humanitarianism in a progressive direction.

One thought on “Day 18: Blessings in Disguise

  1. I hope you had a good book on the side of the road and have a great chiropractor when you get back to the States! What an intense day. Sometimes it’s challenging to think, “Some day I’ll laugh about this.” Sometimes it’s impossible. But a new day can do wonderful things! It’s interesting to think that your experience with your disposition will provide a completely different memory than someone who might go through the exact same challenges but doesn’t have your optimism and positivity. I’m just glad I don’t have a “tiny cat port,” or I’d be up all night worrying about small-framed burglars.

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