In America, July 4th is spent celebrating our independence and my grandmother's birthday, BBQing, hanging with friends and family, spending time up north along with many many other American traditions. Fireworks, humidity, beach time and all.

This year I spent the day rehearsing our play 'True West' (with a bunch of Nepalis) and saying goodbye to a good friend (who incidentally is British, not American). I also spent the day reflecting on how lucky I am to have become independent here in Nepal. Living in America is so easy for many ways...electricity all the time, water all the time, easy to acquire and consume products, available technology. I didn't have to learn some of the things that I have learned here and I sure wasn't lucky/ courageous enough to live on my own.

Living on my own has given me an appreciation for the silence, for the cooking, for the ability to have created a sanctuary, and for the understanding of how much I love my own company. That being said, the loneliness can be all-consuming and all-encompassing and sometimes all I long for the sound of someone's voice other than my own. But that had made me stronger.

Rehearsing this play and hosting people at my apartment has also shown me my ever-growing independent streak. I can be a good host. I can provide shelter for friends. I have also gotten over the fear of being embarrassed by my modest apartment. Its my own apartment is what has impressed people, and its been two years in creation. It has become a home.

In this next chapter in my life I look forward to retaining some of that independence though I'm guessing I won't be able to live alone for many a moon. I will strive to create a sanctuary of my own wherever I am and to take the independence that I have gained and apply it to a new setting and a new situation.

Happy Independence Day.