I shouldn’t tempt fate by saying this, but 2011 has been the worst year Chris and I have faced in our 25 years together. I would even go so far as to say no other year comes close, not even the year my mom died, or my cancer year.
This year has been full of a series of hard hits, an unrelenting string of tragedy and pain.
Somewhere during the year, a happy event popped up. We were invited to the wedding of our friends Annie and Chet.
Annie is from the United States and Chet is from Nepal. They’ve been married in the states, but they need to marry in Chet’s village, Okhaldunga, Nepal. Chet insisted we could stay with his family in Bhaktapur, near Kathmandu, the first few nights, and then we would all travel together to Okhaldunga, a 13-hour bus ride into the countryside, where the family lived when Chet was growing up.
There, we would stay in their 600-year-old farmhouse and all the villagers and relatives would come for the wedding.
Honored to be asked, thrilled at the profound privilege of a cultural adventure in Nepal, we snapped up the invitation. Our friends said I would be given my own sari and Chris would be given his own set of handmade Nepali clothes to wear to the wedding.
It was made clear that it would be unacceptable for us to offer money for this or for staying with the family. We began asking how we could compensate Chet’s parents and, after much strategizing, we’ve decided to bring gifts for about 25 members of his family. Thus, we have already packed, weighed, and waiting, two 50-pound suitcases full of presents.
Exactly two months before our plane is due to take off, I have a total knee replacement and develop pulmonary embolisms, two serious complications to travel. In the end, I rehab fast and well.
Thank heavens, the trip is still on.
Two weeks before departure, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hits Nepal, killing at least a hundred people and causing much damage.
Chet quickly learns his family is fine, both those in Bhaktapur and those in Okhaldunga, just 100 miles from the epicenter. Luckily, the trip is still on.
Then, rain; much rain. There is deep concern regarding landslides and the long bus trip. Nepalis and Utahns agree that a few days of sunshine should sort everything out, and if necessary, a plan B wedding plan could be made. Again, the trip is still on.
Eleven days before the trip, a thing that I have been simultaneously trying to solve and wanting to ignore, demands the front burner.
I am having pain, excruciating pain, in my back. I cannot hold a position in bed at night for literally more than four seconds. I am truly writhing in agony.
Eight days before our plane is due to take off, my friend removes the culprit, my gall bladder. Luckily, my friend is a surgeon. But seriously, I would have removed it myself with a steak knife if I had known where to find it. That was some serious pain.
Again, I rehab quickly and well, this time doing loads of pre-trip laundry the day after surgery.
We make our final preparations for travel, leaving our adorable 5-year-old neighbor Hazel (and her parents) in charge of our kitties, and sending Jojo the puppy off for a few weeks of romping with friends.
Today, we get on the plane. When we do, I hope I remember to pause and think how lucky we are to receive this amazing invitation to adventure, and how lucky we are to really be able to go.
The trip is finally, finally on.
Barb Guy is a regular contributor to these pages.