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Angie started walking. She didn’t know where she was going. She only followed a crowded street where she felt lonely, disconnected, and lost… She had been feeling like that for the last 6 months since she returned to her home country. The city seemed strange, weird, distant, chaotic, and very noisy. Angie felt herself like a complete stranger in a new city, although she had spent almost 10 years in that city. She was anxious and worried.

About 2 weeks ago, she started working in a new position with new people. Today, she became an official temporary employee. She knew the day she started working that her employers would be travelling. She was too shy to ask for how long. Today, her boss told her that she will be away for 12 days. She knew from her only colleague, that she will be away for 15 days.

Angie never minded being alone… What bothered her was that she had just started in this new job and there were so many things to learn, to assimilate, to explore, to handle, to experience, and to investigate…

People were walking, cars were passing… Children, adults, men, women, cars, bicycles, motorcycles… Busy people, lovely people, lonely people, talkative couples holding hands, groups sitting in cafes and restaurants, … long, short, ugly, handsome, happy, sad, rich, poor, lost, late… A girl walking her dog, a man checking his messages on his phone… Traffic, jam, cars, small cars, big cars, motorcycles changing lanes and flirting with death… And Angie…

She was there and at the same time she was far away. Her body seemed to exist in this present moment on this crowded road, but her mind was hanging around a calm beautiful landscape far away. She was thinking about her days in Kathmandu. Her mind kept taking her to that wild trip she took to a small forgotten religious city named Janakpur. She remembered the night bus trip from Kathmandu to Janakpur and she also remembered the longer trip she made two days later from Janakpur to Pokhara. She recalled the crowded bus she had taken from Janakpur thinking it was a tourist bus, only to figure out that it was a false deluxe coach. She kept remembering the freezing wind coming through two holes in her broken window and how she covered herself to stay warm. She was unstoppable, fearless, free, and independent back then… Thinking about that adventure, she hardly sees any similarity with the person she was on that trip and the person she is returning to be now.

In Kathmandu, she was nicknamed “Angie rice.” The woman, who called her like that, had very limited English. And since she had to invite Angie for breakfast or dinner, her only way was to shout and repeat several times: Angie rice. In Nepal, the official dish is Dhal Bhat. A dish made of steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup. Families eat Dhal Bhat in the morning around 9am or 10pm and in the evening around 7pm or 8pm. Her son, who assisted Angie in many ways to travel and to stay in Nepal, once heard his mother calling Angie, Angie rice, he liked the nickname and he made it a joke.

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The girl walking on the street in this city is different. She is becoming reserved, shy, anxious, worried, scared, distant, fearful and… a good obedient employee. You know, the kind who follows orders, and hardly thinks outside the box. The kind of employees who never dares to say anything, who respects hierarchy, who works silently waiting for a paycheck, and of course, who spends a lifetime in a forgotten place dreaming of making a change and finding meaning, and struggling to end a month with a tiny salary… She was becoming whom she used to be before leaving her previous job and travelling…

Thank you for reading.