Have some news, have a kit kat. On the smallness of big moments

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Sunrise over Thorong peak

Yesterday, I climbed upto a 5416 meter high (every meter counts) pass in Nepal, starting before dawn, to arrive early at the top before the wind was too strong. So we walked, in the dark first, a small caravan of flash lights in the emptiness, looking at the stars slowly disappearing as the sky became clearer, and suddenly the sun  reached the peaks and the world was full of colors. It was one of those moments where nature is so splendid you whish you were an ancient bard, able to compose an ode to it, this beauty, this moment, you feel like it shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Afterwards, we reached the top, I almost lost a few fingers waiting for my companions to arrive, in the icy windswept pass, and we started going down in a growing sandstorm, back to a valley with a village, a good coffee, and a slow WiFi. There, mechanically checking my emails after 5 days of unconnected bliss, I discovered that I had finally received the confirmation that I had passed my final exams. I am now, officially, a doctor. I didn’t really know what to do with this news, to be honest. I went down to the “general store” of the village, and bought the closest thing to a celebration gift for myself I could find : a kit kat (and some toilet paper, less glamorous, that’s another story).

I came back to my room and ate it looking at the apple trees dangling under the strong wind in the garden, feeling a slight relief, but mostly for having climbed up to a pass in the Himalayas. It seems so long ago, so far away, those studies. I thought of all the moments waiting in the near future when I will feel lonely, or helpless, the mistakes I’ll make when I’ll begin to work, the patients I will get to know, the countless times I’ll be discouraged by all the administrative tasks we have to do, and hoped I will remember, in those moments, the day I learned I was a doctor, finally. Remember how little this news seemed to me, not, as I thought it would be, life defining, but just a rite of passage accomplished, a slight smile and then the rest of the day went by. It is a good news, don’t think I minimize the impact of it, it does allow me to actually do the work I want to do, but here, in the “roof of the world”, amongst those out of scale mountains, it is put back into perspective.

I had the kit kat. It was good (if a kit kat doesn’t seem to be celebration enough to you, it’s because you haven’t been on a trek eating mostly rice those past 10 days) and went on with the rest of the day. Sometimes, life happens when you’re not in a place where you can raise a flag over it. In those times, a kit kat might do the trick.

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