“I woke up when I heard my mobile ringing, and I sleepily answered it, as I glanced at the clock, which said 10.05am, “Hey cousin, just checking in to see if you are ok, by the sounds of it, I must have woken you up” Seb said to me, “Yes I was asleep, as I am not use to getting up at 5.30am, and travelling for over two hours so early in the morning” I replied. “Ok, I have to go, I’ve got Language classes to teach next, I will come over to make some lunch for you at noon, see you then, bye” Seb said as he ended the call quickly.
Once I was out of bed and in my wheelchair again, I made a quick stop to the bathroom, before heading to my study office. Just as I arrived, my telephone rang, which was an international call, so I answered it in Italian. “Good morning to you Huon, I heard you are out of hospital at last” the company lawyer said to me in English. “Good morning to you, what are you doing, calling so early your time?” I responded.
“Oh, I couldn’t sleep, so I came to the office to do some work” the lawyer explained, and we chatted about business matters for about twenty minutes before the call ended. I had made some notes during the call, which I looked at for a moment, before boosting my laptop computer, and transferring the notes onto the computer, and I sent a copy to Seb via email.
When Sebastian came over at noon, I was reading a book in the formal lounge room, “Hey mate, thanks for coming over from work to feed me” I said as he arrived, “That is not a problem, especially when work is only two doors away” Seb replied. “Annette told me yesterday, that I am going on a healing trip to Nepal, and that you are paying for it, I was wondering this morning, how am I going to manage with me being confined to a wheelchair” I said to Seb as he started preparing lunch in the kitchen.
“That bit of news she left me to tell you, you will have a travel buddy going with you, but he doesn’t know yet, well he will later this afternoon” Sebastian said, with a huge grin, and I presumed he was meaning Kyle would be coming, “Well, I bet that he will be thrilled with that” I responded. “Depends, as there will be no internet or mobile access doing the retreat, but I have arranged for you both to go on a 3-night safari the day after you finish the retreat, so you should enjoy that” Sebastian replied.
“How is your languages teaching going, are you enjoying it?” I asked, “It can be a challenge sometimes, and I have to remind my brothers to let the other students answer questions first, since they are not so fluent in the languages, most of the students are doing very well, while others are struggling” Seb replied.
“How is the Southern Explorer going, is it still doing the supply runs?” I asked, “Yes, it is going well, the captain has keeping me posted at every port, and the French have requested renewing visiting each of its remote research basis, which I have yet to respond to” Sebastian said to me with a huge grin. “Making them sweat it out a bit, are you?” I said between chuckles.
“We are now doing an extra area once a year in the Indian Ocean, on the second run each year, instead of going to Albany from South Africa, and then onto the Cocos Keeling and Christmas Islands, the Southern Explorer now goes to Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives, then across to the Cocos Keeling Islands” Seb announced.
Once Sebastian had returned to his school office, I went to the Wagner office upstairs, and did a little bit of research on this place that I was going to in Nepal, before heading downstairs and across the road to the education centre, and upstairs to the centre level, where the music room is located. Sitting outside the classroom, I listened to the teacher trying to teach some singing lessons, without much success, so I knocked on the door.
“Enter” the teacher called out, and I struggled to open the door, which opens outwards, until the teacher eventually opened the door, when she realised that there was a problem. “Mr Devonport, what a wonderful surprise, please come in, the Administrator has informed me of your talents” the teacher, Ms Arnold said to me as she held open the door, to let me in. “Students, this is Mr Devonport, he is a relative of Mr Wagner, and he is also a talented singer” the teacher said to her students, as she re-entered the classroom.
“Hello Mr Davenport” the students chorused, and I saw two familiar smiling faces, “studenti del buon pomeriggio” I said in Italian, knowing the students were learning Italian. “Buon pomeriggio signore” the students chorused back. “It’s good to hear that you are all learning Italian so well, but lets concentrate on music for now, can I hear just the girls singing, please, just the first line of Mary had a little lamb” I said to the class, and on hearing them singing the first line twice, with the music teacher on the piano, I split the girls into two groups, right, now lets do the same with the boys” I said, and one of the twins put his hand up.
“Yes Louis, what is it?” I asked my cousin, “Scusi, signore, ma io e mio fratello non conosciamo questa canzone?” Joachim responded in Italian, “Ok, well I will deal with you both in a moment” I replied in English, and after listening twice, I had the boys also split into two groups, before asking the twins to chose a song and sing the first line.
The twins looked at each other then smiled, before facing me, “La signora Arnold conosce Ave Maria?” Joachim asked, “I understood enough of that, and yes I do? Ms Arnold replied, and she began to play the intro.
When the boys had finished, “ok you two show offs, you can join the first group of boys and stand at the back, the other group of boys stand in the middle front row, with the two groups of girls on wither side of the front group of boys” I instructed, and the students moved around to the positions that I had instructed.
“Right now, does everyone know Do Re Mi?” I asked and I saw the music teacher smile, as she began to play the intro, “Now follow my lead and repeat what I sing” I said to the students, and I started the song, singing one line at a time, and getting the students to repeat.
“Great, now that sounded very good for your first attempt, this time I am going to give the first word, and you will sing the rest of each line, Ms Arnold, can you write the lines on the whiteboard please, for those who don’t know the words properly” I said, and a few minutes later, with all the words on the whiteboard, we started again.
After singing the whole song twice, I looked over to the music teacher, who was smiling, and she indicated towards the door, and I looked over to see Sebastian and one other teacher looking through the window smiling. “Ok, that is excellent work for today, I will leave you all with a bit of homework, and your teacher will instruct you on how to do what I want.
When singing, you need to control your breathing, so I expect you to be working on improving your breathing while you are singing, that is all from me, grazie e buon pomeriggio” I said as I wheeled towards the door, which Sebastian opened for me.
After the door was closed, “Who gave you permission to teach a music class?” Sebastian asked, “I was invited in by Ms Arnold, to assist with the singing lessons, and the twins were showing off as usual” I replied, as we headed towards the lift. “You better get home, I expect you will be getting a phone call, from an excited best friend” Sebastian said to me, and he lead me over the road and over to the house.
A few minutes after Sebastian had returned to work, my mobile rang, and the caller ID said that it was Kyle. “Is this real? Am I really coming with you to Nepal?” Kyle said excitedly, “Yes it is, apparently Sebastian had to work hard to get your mum’s permission for you to go, as well as convince her for you to delay your university studies” I replied.
“This is so awesome, thankyou for letting me to come with you, I can hardly wait” Kyle said, “Have you been lined up for your imunisation jabs yet?” I asked, “Yes straight after school tomorrow, I really hate needles” Kyle replied, and I chuckled at this. After a few more minutes of chatting, we ended the call, and I went to my room, and lay down for a little rest, and I woke up, when I heard noises from somewhere in the house.
“Seb, when is Huon going to woke up from his rest?” I heard one of the twins say, “It is, when he wakes up, and he will wake up when he is ready little one, now get back to your homework, while I start preparing some dinner for all of us” Sebastian replied. A few minutes later, I had freshened up, and I wheeled into the living area.
“Hey you, did you have a good rest?” Seb asked me, as I arrived in my wheelchair, “Yes thanks, all that singing tired me out a little” I replied, and I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon and evening with my cousins. The days and weeks passed quickly, and soon the day of departure had arrived, for Kyle and I to fly to Kathmandu, Nepal via Singapore.
At home that morning, Sebastian handed me a travel wallet, which contained the itinerary of the journey, and on reading it, I discovered that Sebastian had arranged a number of other tours of Nepal. After the retreat at the monastary, we will travel to the Shey Phoksundo National Park in the Midwestern district of Nepal, for a week, on the border with Tibet, before travelling east to Sagamatha National Park, for another week, also located on the Northern border with Tibet.
We would then be travelling south eat to the Nepal / India Border, and 37 kilometres further to the India / Bangaldesh border. I looked to Sebastian, in a puzzled manner and he just chuckled, “I wanted you to experience a real adventure holiday, so I organised a few things for you, oh and the second national park you visit in Nepal is where Mt Everest is located, so you will be close enough to see it” Sebastian explained.
“Wow that sounds awesome, thanks for all of this Seb, you are really spoiling me too much” I responded. Annette delivered Kyle to the airport, while Seb and the twins took me to the airport to say farewell and safe travels, I hadn’t seen Kyle since the previous weekend, where we gathered to discuss what to take in the way of clothing, etc, and this is when I broke the news to Kyle, that there would be limited internet access during our journey, so we decided to take just our mobiles only.
The 5 ½ hour journey to Singapore was uneventful, and we had a 12 hour stopover, enough time to do some sightseeing, and a little bit of shopping, with everything we bought, sent by mail home, so we didn’t have to cart it around with us. As we were organising sending our purchases home to Western Australia, I noticed an unexpected item in my backpack.
“What is it Huon?” Kyle asked me as he spotted the strange look on my face, “Oh nothing really, its just my cousin had slipped a Sat Phone into my backpack, no doubt, he was making sure that we stay in touch, no matter where we are” I replied. Once we had sorted mailing our purchases, we headed back to the airport, to relax and wait for the second flight to Nepal.
When we arrived in Kathmandu, it was late in the afternoon, and we had one night in the city, before we go to Monastary for the ten day healing retreat. We were booked into a five star hotel in the city, and once we had settled, we had a short walk around the city before dusk, deciding to stay within the walls of the hotel for safety.
After dinner, I called Seb’s home, using the satellite phone, “Wagner residence, Louis speaking” I heard a familiar voice say, “Hello young man, is your brother home please” I said in response, “Hello, Huon, I will go and get him” Louis replied, and a short while Seb came to the phone. “So, did you find the little package I slipped into your backpack?” Seb said to me.
“Yes, I am calling you on it now, just wanted to let you know that we arrived safely in Kathmandu, and we will be heading to the monastary mid morning tomorrow. We did some shopping while in Singapore, which we posted to the Wagner Investments office address, so just stash them away till we get back, I will call again in about 4 days time, to keep you posted on everything” I answered.
“Very well, I look forward to hearing all the news, take care both of you, and we will see you in about a months time” Seb said to me, “Ok mate, speak to you again soon, bye for now” I said before ending the call. I slept fairly well in the hotel, and Kyle woke me at about 8am, and after I had showered and dressed, Kyle wheeled me to the dining room for breakfast.
Back in our room, we packed our bags, and caught a taxi to Kopan, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, where the monastry is situated. Once we had registered our arrival, we were shown to our comforatble twin room, with our own bathroom, and we were given a timetable of the course, plus other events that happen each day at the monastary. After unpacking our luggage, Kyle wheeled me around the grounds of the monastary, which are quite vast, very peaceful and beautiful.
With the daily talks, sessions of meditation, a number of sessions of quiet contemplation, was fantastic, I was feeling a new man, and even Kyle said he was enjoying his time in Kopan, even when he had to put up with my complaining, every time he forced me to do alot of physio therapy, and encouraging me to walk with his assistance. I was able to walk a little further every day, although I needed Kyle to support me.
After five days, at the monastary I called Seb to let him know that we were both doing well and enjoying our time at the monastary. Seb was pleased to hear from us, and informed me that everything was going well at the school, and that construction work was well on its way on the Queenslea Drive property. Seb had also decided to use the new building to expand the school, instead of leasing it out to the grammar school.
He mentioned that the school board was very pleased with the news of the new building, as it would allow them to double the number of students to 144, once the new building is completed, as provide extra phys ed, music, arts and language class rooms, as well as multi-purpose rooms and halls, activity rooms, plus extra outdoor spaces.
By the end of the retreat at the monastary, Kyle and I were feeling alot better, and now we have two weeks of exploring the national parks and Himilayan mountains of the region. Spending one more night in a hotel in Kathmandu, I called Sebastian to let him know that we had completed the retreat, and that I was now spending alot more time walking with support, instead of staying entirely in the wheelchair, which Seb was pleased to hear.
Copyright January 2018 Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Are Reserved