Dang Andrew, you’re right. Your blog post did suck. It’s okay though, we still support you.
Where to begin? Life is good for me. I’ve grown up hiking, camping, and running, so trekking feels like riding a bicycle – old skills coming back to life. The elevation reminds me of the summer I spent in Colorado. Tonight, we’re camping at about 10,000 feet. We’ve been checking the oxygen saturation of our blood with a pulse oximeter every day because we’re curious. The elevation is taking each person a bit differently, but since we’re ascending slowly, we’re all acclimating pretty well.
The scenery is beautiful. It’s been foggy every day because of the monsoon season, and we’ve been rained on every day, but what you can see is unforgettable. The forests are lush – ferns, moss, stately trees (we’re in conifers now). We walk through small villages and their rice and corn fields, nodding to the families and their children (Namaste!) and smelling their goats, chickens, and water buffalo. The mountains are tough terrain, slick trails with steep slopes, but our guides stay close to us and offer us a hand when the going gets tough. We are very well taken care of.
Friends, we feel a bit like royalty on this trekking trip. If only you could taste the food! The company takes care of our camp and all of our needs so we can focus on enjoying this time and preparing to do our medical work. Tonight, we talked about maternal health, focusing on pregnancy (courtesy of Lisa). It was a lot of information for us, and my vagina hurt as we walked through a birth. I’ll take this chance to say a heartfelt thank you, mom. Holy cow. What the hell is pregnancy? Birth is a miracle, and I’m glad we’re alive.
We talk about poop, leeches, and/or farting about every conversation. It’s pretty much awesome. That is all.
It seems to be a running joke that I’ll be the one to take a child or a puppy home with me. I’ll take this opportunity to dispel all rumors: everyone and everything is cute when they’re small, but, for heavens’ sake, no!
We’re at the top of a mountain, and we’re surrounded by fog on all sides. It’s like being in a house alone at the top of the world. But we’re not alone at all. To me, this group is starting to feel like a family of sorts. We give each other a hard time, have long and deep conversations, and help each other up when someone falls. Each person brings something different to the table, and we all have something to contribute.
There are two elderly women who live in this house we’ve stopped to camp at. One of the women is deaf, and smiles at everyone. She speaks with her hands and her laughter.
There is a puppy and its mother here. Though we don’t pet them, they’re adorable. A little black cat snuck around us earlier in the evening, looking for scraps.
In other news, Dr. Murphy told his daily weird doctor story: three cases in one shift of intimate body parts damaged by “housecleaning” endeavors.
Dinner was amazing. Every meal just seems to get better and better. Dr. Murphy thinks we’ll lose weight trekking, but we all swear we’re gaining weight. Soup, a crispy spicy bread, pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, and a fried spring roll. A fruit cocktail for dessert. We’re being spoiled.
Randomly, an introduction to some Sherpa language!
Tashi dele: hello
Thhuchichhe: thank you
To wrap up, all I can say for sure is that this is real, and this is unforgettable. I’m honored to be a part of this family and get a taste of this country. Meeting and getting to know people along our trek has been the best part. Cheers, friends. I hope you’re all doing well.