Scritches from my journal Christmas morning (Purna and Rajan are two IRC staff I travelled with last week):
I wake up to a sound like wind chimes. Donkeys passing by.
Purna twists the light bulb on and picks through his blanket. Hunched over, his back lit by the dim light-bulb above his head, he looks like Galam from Lord of the Rings, or like a monkey. His frame is scrawny, his movements jolted.
Rajan questions him in Nepali. Purna nods. Keeps picking.
They notice I am awake.
"Bed bugs!" Rajan explains.
Purna keeps picking. Turns to me. Big grin."HAPPY NEW YEAR ROSIE!"
"Not new year, Purna, Christmas." Rajan laughs. Rajan is the more worldly of the two. He grew up in a town, went to college in Kathmandu, has an email account.
We all laugh.I'd forgotten. It's Christmas Eve at home. I try to imagine the families putting the turkey on the table, singing Silent Night by lit trees, sitting in wooden church pews - kids on laps, huddling by fires at their ski lodge - cheeks rosy, hot chocolate in hand.
But I can't. I am here. With bed bugs and donkeys and Purna and Rajan.
I can't understand it, but I am so happy to be here.