I am being gently pushed to practice routine. Some people thrive on set order, others whither. My petals are mildly drooping. Rural Nepali life survives on the necessity and completion of a long list of morning chores. As each day passes, I am adjusting, and maybe even finding some benefit and grace that accompanies routine. I am also spared repeated treks up and down four flights of stairs, if I stick to the routine, rather than lean toward the chaos of randomness.
I get my work done. I usually just shake up the sequence, depending on my whim. I confess openly that I am tardy by about two hours past the normal waking hour of my Nepali sister. However, I won’t budge on an earlier time. The sun hasn’t even risen for her first hours of the day. Even if I am awake, I can’t imagine getting out from under my 20-year-old down sleeping bag, which has retained its fluffiness, even after all these years. It’s old, but I can’t bear to part with it, nor my loveable backpack. These two have been my consistent traveling companions for many of my carbon footed miles. I digress. Prime example of what happens during my more lax style of ‘routine’.
So I try to systematically approach the day, when I courageously step out beyond my bedroom doorstep. I grab my plastic bucket (for nocturnal toiletries), my clothes to be washed and my jug of water to brush my teeth. It’s necessary to use the “thunder bucket” at night, as my family fondly called it, at our northern Minnesotan cabin. Fear of darkened stairwells and frogs sitting in the squat-toilet hole, put a squelch on any nighttime runs.
My main job in the morning is to get the clean buckets of water to the kitchen on the third floor once they go through the filtration system down by the pump. If I am late or negligent due to my randomness or tardiness, the duties are already completed by my Nepali sister. She has already swept the entire school grounds with a tree branch broom and is getting ready for her puja (prayer time) upon my awakening. I hang my head low. She only laughs. She knows most foreigners are light weights when it comes to Nepal lifestyle.
I make up for it by cooking the morning dal-bhat (lentils and rice) bi-daily meal, while she does her puja. Her chanting puja music blares out from the MP3 player, while I chop vegetables and sip chai. From my limited Nepali language, it sounds like the singer is saying chiso pani (cold water), so I repetitively sing this after her puja. Again she laughs. I guess that’s not exactly what is being said. At least I got the routine somewhat down. Now, I laugh.