My first few days in Nepal were a real culture shock. Roads were crazy busy with wild drivers, and there was just so much dust (I now know why people wear those masks and I am really close to getting one myself)! Plus the toilets, oh the toilets, OMG... I just wanted to cry (I say that trying to sound as unpretentious as I possibly can). I felt so isolated, being away from everything and everyone so familiar to me. I really regretted my decision to do this whole solo travelling thing, but I knew that I couldn't go home after just a couple of days. I'd end up hating myself if I gave up now.
So, I ploughed on, thinking that I'd at least give the volunteering a go and see if that helped. Well, honestly, that was even more of a shock to the system. The orphanage was more of a refugee-camp looking building. Not somewhere that I thought children could live. The toilet situation scared me to the point where I thought I'd just hold it in for a few days. And the room I shared in the village with 2 young girls seemed a little odd with no running water or toilet.
Then, I don't know how it happened, but I think that seeing how the sweet little children got on with things at the orphanage without complaining or whining, made me suck it up and start appreciating the things we take for granted back home, like electricity, gas and running water. Eventually I got used to the toilets, power cuts and lack of showers. It wasn't so bad. I spent my mornings doing the girls' hair, sweeping, washing the kids' clothes, and preparing food. We spent evenings in the children's bedrooms, wrapped in fleeces, jumpers and beanies, dancing to music and finishing up homework by head torch/phone light. No one complained, not even me. In fact, I realised more than a couple of times, that I was actually really happy.
I think that's something I've learnt... What seems difficult or impossible right now will become easier over time. As humans, we are extremely adaptable, and really can deal with so much, way more than we think. My advice to anyone going through a challenging time, is give it a while. It will get better.