In 2018 I took a hiking trip to Nepal with a group of people I had never met before. It was an organized trip of sixteen people who happened to book it at the same time. And so, fate brought us together, not knowing what to expect neither from the trip nor from the people.
The first time I saw my hiking companions, it was at the airport of Kathmandu after recovering my baggage. The group was waiting outside of the airport with the group guide holding a printed list in his hand and asking for our names. We timidly looked at each other trying to form up our first impressions of each other while taking in the lazy afternoon sun of the Nepalese capital.
I look back now at that moment with a deep nostalgia as it was the beginning of a sensational ten-day trip full of adventures and good times. The group was absolutely fantastic and we were lucky to realize that we were very much alike and got on well right from that very first hour at the airport of Kathmandu.
One day while hiking back from the Annapurna National Park we stopped for lunch at a Nepalese family house. The food was being made fresh by the lady of the family and we were invited to sit down on the deck of the house where the table was set for us. As soon as we got on the deck I discovered two big eyes fixing us, belonging to a small girl of approximately three or four years old. As our gaze met, I smiled at her and she instantly smiled back.
Once we were all sitting at our table she did not bother with us anymore. She simply continued playing with random things she found on the deck, such as small stones, branches, leaves, or an empty package that used to contain soup spices.
It was something about her self-sufficiency and creativity that captured my eyes and made me follow her moves throughout the time we spent there. She was just content in her own world. She never once drew our attention to herself. She did not stay in the way of her parents who were doing their best to feed us. She was simply there doing her thing. Fascinating. I just do not see a lot of small children in our western society playing alone and quietly with random items on the street.