"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How Montana Became Nepal

So you know how, all year, I've been talking about moving west, to the big mountains?  Well friends, it looks like I may end up moving so far west that I'm east - and the mountains are as big as they come.

I've applied for a fellowship at a school in Nepal!

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling blocked in terms of where to move out west.  It was becoming apparent that Oldman would probably go his own way, and I would be left to decide what I wanted to do.  Montana?  New Mexico?  Colorado?  California?  I didn't want to move somewhere to just to move for the sake of moving and because I've told everyone I'm going to move.  I want to move because I'm inspired to; because I feel like I'm headed somewhere meaningful.

And just when I was feeling defeated and like I would never figure out what to do, I got an email from a co-teacher that said, "Hey Melanie - I don't know if you know what you're doing yet when you leave, but I just saw this great opportunity from a friend of mine who opened a school in Nepal.  Thought it might be perfect for you."  And she sent me this link: http://blinknow.org/kopila-fellows/

I opened it immediately and read voraciously through all of the information on the site.  My heart began to race, and I couldn't keep a smile off of my face.  I wanted to jump up out of my office chair and shout, "THIS IS IT!"

View from the school (www.blinknow.org)

The opportunity I've applied for is to be a "Wellness Fellow" at the Kopila Valley Children's School in Nepal.  As a Wellness Fellow, I would help to integrate things like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and perhaps some organic gardening into the existing program there.  HOW MUCH MORE PERFECT FOR ME DOES IT GET - RIGHT??  Every time I tell someone, their jaw drops and they say something like, "Wow.  It's like they created that for you!"

It was a Friday afternoon when my co-teacher sent this email to me.  Before leaving school that day, I went down to her room to ask for more of what she knows about this place.  That night, I couldn't sleep from thinking about it.  That weekend, I dropped my plans and spent six hours filling out a five-page essay application, dusting off my resume, and securing references.  I sent everything in by the following Monday.

The faces of these girls has been burned into my mind.
I look at their picture often and send a little prayer for them.

This is not just any school, mind you.  The story is so inspirational it will knock you over.  This young woman whom my co-teacher went to high school with, Maggie Doyne, decided to take a gap year and travel the world before going to college.  One of the places she visited was Nepal.  She was overwhelmed by the sight of so many children without their basic needs being met, so she called home to New Jersey and asked her parents to send her all of her babysitting money.  That, plus other money she raised from friends and family, was enough to enable her to buy a plot of land and open an orphanage.  At age 18.

Today, the orphanage has 40 children as residents.  The school that they built (with their own hands, using local bamboo) opened just three years ago, and now has over 300 students.

Holy cow.  (No Hindu pun intended.)

A shot from the playground (www.blinknow.org)

I want this fellowship so badly.  I want to be a part of that school.  The Buddhist part of me is saying, Don't get attached to the outcome, Melanie.  But the create-what-you-want-from-the-universe part of me is saying, Live in gratitude like you already have it.  Call it to yourself.

I don't find out whether I'm even a finalist until the middle of July, and the position doesn't start until October.  So this is a huge reason why I haven't made any other plans.  I want to remain available in case this comes through.

I also haven't moved forward with designing my final thesis project for grad school, even though credit-wise, I'm ready, because I'm hoping I can tailor it to my work with Kopila Valley School.  I want my project to be designing a wellness program for the school.

I may still head west for the summer while I wait it out.  Have some outdoor adventures, meet up with some old friends, make some new ones, do some writing, rest from the last eight years of teaching - ya know.

In the meantime, any prayers, light energy, and unicorn rain dances you can send my way for this fellowship would be appreciated.  More importantly, send all those prayers and wishes to the people who are already working so hard to make Kopila Valley the thriving, inspiring place it is today.  Perhaps I will have the honor of joining them.

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  1. From a book I checked out of the library today, and very apropos to your two most recent entries: "The Spanish have a lovely phrase, 'No hay mal que por bien no venga," which, when translated into English, means, 'There is nothing bad that isn't followed by something good.'"

  2. Ahhhh. Ain't that the truth! Always after the night comes the dawn.

  3. That sounds amazing!!!!! Good connectivity. You are the perfect candidate.

  4. Like your blog! inspirational too!

  5. Thanks, Krishnaa! I tried to read yours but it's, ah, not in English. :) Anyway thanks for stopping by and for the comment.