It has been exactly four weeks that I came back from Makalu, spent five days with my friends in Kathmandu and quickly took off again to start another batch of working for the Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) here in Islamabad.
It has been a quick transition between attempting to climb Makalu and coming back to Islamabad, where life is still pretty much the same as I left it one-and-a-half years ago. Some of the people I knew back then are still here and some have changed but it was almost like coming ‘home’.
The first thing I did when I arrived was take a taxi to my friend Hannah’s house, where I collected a bike that has been accompanying me everywhere ever since. It was amazing to get back on the bike and cycle past the many security guards –some of which recognised the blond woman on the bike, shouting “Madam, you are back!” with a big smile. What a great way to be welcomed in this town that has such a negative image all over the world.
I have taken up running in the Margalla Hills again trying to motivate my friends to come out with me and I have been successful, which makes me very happy. My work is also interesting as I am here to do the media work for the SDC, finding success stories and going to ‘the field’, as the development and humanitarian world calls it. Going to ‘the field’ does not necessarily mean we are somewhere out in the middle of nowhere though. It means that we are leaving Islamabad and visiting places, where we provide aid but these places are often little towns and villages, which are anything but the field.
Apart from working behind a computer in the office and going to ‘the field’ I have also rented a studio to teach CORE classes and it has been a real success. It is wonderful that I am able to share this with the Islamabad community and my classes have been jam-packed since I arrived. The great thing is that men and women, no matter whether ‘internationals’ or Pakistanis, share a room and lift their legs and pelvises in unison – which is not necessarily ‘normal’ in a place like this.
So, where do I go from here? I will be here until Christmas and then I am looking forward to going home to spend the festive season with my family in Bavaria and hopefully be able to stay there for the winter to do some ski mountaineering before I head back to Nepal in mid March.
The plan for next season is to join Russell Brice’s expedition again as ‘Billi the Blogger’ and take the opportunity to join his team to attempt Nuptse – a 7,861m peak that is situated right opposite Mount Everest. Nuptse has not been climbed by many people, as a matter of fact only 20 individuals have stood on its top so far. The Austrian mountaineer and good friend of mine, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, became the first woman ever to reach the top together with the German climber David Göttler last year.
Lets see what will happen until then but at the moment I am looking forward that I have yet another opportunity to go back to the high Himalaya in Nepal.
Until then I would like to thank all of you for your interest and support I receive when I am on expedition. It means a lot to me and it is a huge encouragement and joy for me that I can share these experiences with you.