I’ve been at my homestay for over two weeks and to date my time here has been relaxing, calm and quiet – exactly what I wanted. Everyone in Lebong town, and the small surrounding villages, knows who I am and where I stay. “There’s the running foreigner who stays with Tilak! Invite her in for tea.” At some point during my day, I’m out running or walking the windy, tea garden roads and it’s become next to impossible to complete a workout without being warmly invited into someone’s home for tea and water. Even those who don’t speak English manage to flag me down and insist that I sit on their porch for a few minutes. Once I sit, crowds instantly form around my sweaty body and women practically throw their babies on my lap and begin to snap photos. All part of Miss Canada’s foreigner role I guess…
My host Tilak and his family are extremely hospitable, kind and loving. Although I am a paying guest, it’s repeatedly stated that ‘You are family!’ Tilak has two sons – Obesick and Obeson – but since I am part of the family, I insist that my new name is Obelas. Everyday Tilak approaches me and details an excursion he would like to take me on. Even though he knows I’m doing work, he always reminds me ‘Whenever you have time I’ll take you. Just let me know. It’s no problem.’
My days are spent on my laptop; writing articles, networking, talking with Amazon and working on my next project. Then at some point during the day, I break and retreat to the beautiful landscape outside. It’s the rainy season, so I try to get a workout in when I see a clearing in the sky, but usually by the time I return home I’m soaking wet. My workouts usually last several hours because one; the steep hills make both up and down hill movement slow, and two; I often find myself lost in thought because of the scenery. My walks and runs allow me the time to organize my ideas and write in my head. Once back home, I immediately return to my laptop and begin writing. When in nature my mind naturally weaves a magic carpet and soars to a different place. I’m only brought back to reality when I begin to feel the burning sensation in my calves; then I know I’ve been out for too long and it’s time to journey home.
Other than the outdoors and the living room, most of my time is spent in the kitchen; socializing with the family and consuming mass amounts of delicious food. Tilak’s wife has come to realize that I’m not shy when it comes to eating and often serves me larger helpings than she gives to her two teenage sons. Tilak hooked up the television which I never watch. When asked, ‘Why don’t you watch TV?’ I told him the reality in which I live is entertaining enough…
His father, who I refer to as Ninja Man, is always up to something for which I feel compelled to keep a close eye. I call him Ninja Man because he ties a band around his head like the Karate Kid and carries an electric tennis racket around the house which he uses to swat and kill mosquitoes. And although he doesn’t speak English and I have no idea what he’s saying, he’s always ordering someone to do something. Sometimes Tilak’s wife is ordered to cut vegetables faster.
The 104 year old grandma might be mature in age, but definitely has the attitude of a bratty 16-year-old. She’s always up to mischief; sneakily smoking cigarettes and trying to run away back to Kathmandu. She rants to me in Nepali about various topics and usually ends by saying ‘…but you have no idea what I’m saying so good night.’ Sadly, last week she requested to be moved to Tilak’s cousins’ house for a change of scenery, so now I’m short a channel.
Moving on to the backyard which is currently a disaster zone as Tilak is expanding the pool and building two additional cottages for guests. Never the less, the view is stunning! Behind the tools and equipment you will find dogs, chickens, cats, roosters and the always terrifying, and very temperamental, turkey. This turkey deliberately hunts you down and chases you. I’ll be quietly sitting in a chair writing post cards and the next thing you know, I’m hurdling over construction equipment; trying to avoid a pecking punishment. Even though I scream, ‘I’m vegan!’ it does nothing. I’m hoping he’ll start attending anger management sessions, but I’m less than hopeful we’ll see improvement any time soon. Maybe he has daddy issues…
Speaking of daddy’s, I want to wish all the dad’s out there a very Happy Father’s Day! A special shout out to my brother Nick as he celebrates his first year as a father. I phoned my dad to say hello and send my love and gratitude to him, and the first thing he said was, ‘Hold on honey, let me just put on some underwear.’ As much as I continue to grow and change, I can always count on my dad to remain consistent in character.
I’ve been working non-stop with the type setter to get the book on Amazon. So expect another blog post in the coming days which will announce the official release of the book. In the mean time, hang tight and do as I do, have another cup of tea!
Tilak’s Home in Lebong.