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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

As I leave Nepal, I want you to know…

NAMASTE FRIENDS AND FAMILIES!!

During our transference in Bhaktapur, we talked about going home – what it means, what to expect, how to make sense of this semester in Nepal. We want to thank you to all families and friends for your support in making this semester a great success! The following is a collection of responses from all students, for what they need YOU to know

As I leave Nepal, I want you to know….

-How thankful I am for the love and support I have received throughout this journey from both leaders and all of the other students.

-My life is changed now. I am changed, and I make no apologies.

-How much I’ve loved, Nepal. You’ve become a mother, a mentor, and a lifelong friend for me. I’ve explored your chaotic cities, your tranquil simple villages, and your awe-inspiring mountains. The love and positivity that runs rooted in the very ground of country pervades every person here- visitors, refugees people who live here for centuries and those who just pass through. Nepal, you’ve given me adventures, sorrows, thrills and chills, boisterous, laughs and quite smiles, visions of the past and a glimpse of the future of humanity, but mostly just love-given so freely and taken so sweetly in the bowing of the head, in feeding someone a sweet, even in the heckoning calls that bellow across the house! “Oi! Siddhartha!”

As I leave you Nepal, as a lover leaves a beloved, I will keep and feel walk in my knees as my heart breaks amidst the sunrise of incense. But I will take solace in memories of the sweet sunlight breaking through golden clouds, of iridescent greens contrasting with the red clay mud in the lower Himalayas. I will rejoice in the memories of circles of people laughing and sharing, passing around Chia, biscuits and stories. I will continue to nurture the emotions you chat in me- the happiness, peace, and love. I want you to know how humbled I am to call you a home, Nepal.

-I am good. I am more good. I am more consistently better than I have been before.

-That piece of my soul will remain here forever and I am so grateful for my time here. I have been shaped by colors of Nepal.

– How grateful I am for this experience, and how much my time here has meant to me. I can already tell that these past months have changed my life, and as it goes on, this experience will continue to inform my perspective. The ability to travel so far away with such wise, fascinating teachers and study so many different subjects I love has been a precious gift, and I cannot thank you all enough for allowing me to pursue this opportunity. I have learned so much and although I am sad that many new things that I am excited to share with you and implement into my life in America.

In travelling, my concept of what is possible in life has completely shifted, and I look forward to what I can create with this knowledge in the future. Thank you so much!

-Mom and Dad, how grateful I am that you allowed me to go to this trip and for always inspiring to follow my dreams. A yak will never communicate how this trip changed me. I can’t wait to share my experience with you.

– The person who lands at JFK terminal isn’t the same person you dropped off. The flicker of pixalated screens and the sleek weight of a pocketed i-phone will feel foreign tome. My mannerism will be slower, my gaze in conversation will pierce deeper. But most importantly my patience infinitely vaster.

Once I am back home, I will keep on finding meaning by

-Trying to live more sustainably, continuing my travels, and attempting to learn more from people with possibly different opinions.

-Recognizing the inherent beauty in every moment.

-Expanding on the things that I learned during the trip and taking action on the projects I came up with while here.  I’m going to rely a lot on my 11 other travel partners in order to keep being reminded of what I learned and what I plan to do with it.

-Finding a community of like-minded people who are inspired by the world and I will plant so many vegetables, fruits and trees and flowers.

– Traveling is one of those few times when the meaning of life really seems like it is just to live, just to look deeply and speak to people and appreciate it all. There isn’t this need to be productive that I often feel in my normal life. So, once I am back home, I will keep on finding meaning in the ways I usually have, but in new found ways as well. I will still find purpose in doing what I am passionate about, in standing up for what I believe in, and living intentionally. But I will also take time to simply exist, to view the world as the intricate and wonderful art work it is and appreciate its beauty.
I will find purpose in working towards what I feel is important and valuable , but I will also remember to sing songs and dance in the rain and give compliments to strangers and surprise my loved ones with random gifts and wake up to watch the sunrise more often and take the scenic way to work and make myself nice breakfasts in stead of instant oatmeal and wash my clothes by hand every once in a while so I don’t take technology for granted and to try new things and do things that scare me everyday. In traveling, I think I’ve realized that although careers and goals and hard work are important, these are just the shapes and outlines in our lives. Feeling alive colors our world in, and no pursuit is worth a colorless life.

-Waking up in the morning and reminding myself of the beauty and light that can be created as simply, by smiling, by mindful remembering and acting, by moving forward, by living in the present.

-Finding meaning in myself and my daily life, I’m scared that going back to a comfortable environment will make me fall back into routines. However, by focusing on finding meaning in the small parts of life- cup of tea, the flowers that will be bloom in my backyard, the cute sighs of my sister as she takes nap, the smile I share with a …… stranger. I want to find meaning in the seconds I spend …….for a pot of water to boil, driving to the post office, practicing patience. I will live my life more intentionally- looking at what I do and why I do it and putting conscious mental energy in my actions. I will find meaning by reconnecting with my family, perhaps gang on picnics and taking time to observe the change of the sunlight on the green grass. There is meaning in the first hug of my old friends, our bright eyes meeting with unshed tears and luminuos love. I will find meaning in….to our save earth, one small contribution at a time, putting my sweat in soul into the work I do. I will trust in myself and find in every corner of the world. And that’s how I will find meaning.

-Practicing mindfulness every day, actively seeking out opportunities to learn new things, and slowing down my pace of life in order to be more present.