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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Rice Paddies vs Dusty Ring Road

The simple and evident difference between Balamchur and Kathmandu is that one is a village and one is a city. But within this difference lays an incredible chasm that even I was not prepared for. If you start in Balamchur, you look instantly at how the villagers fill their day. One hour for the buffalo, one for the goats, two for lunch, two for dinner, one for laundry, one for cutting grass, and if you are lucky, one hour for a match of soccer. Except for harvesting season, that is village life. It’s like clockwork, with little variation but unwavering work ethic. When I first arrived at Balamchur I naively saw this as too simple a way to spend your day. As these days passed however, I begun to realise how very wrong my understanding was. Because life wasn’t lived on a clock, rather by what needs to be done. I found myself falling asleep at night with little to no stress in my life. In a very simplified, and probably incorrect new understanding, I was beginning to accept that by satisfying my needs and pushing aside my wants I actually felt satisfied. On the final days in the village I no longer saw cutting grass or chasing goats as something timed or dreaded. I just recognised that it all needed to be done, simple as that. And when I found with this way of thinking is that when you are finally done placing the goats in their pen, you can smile and feel completely at ease because you know that you no longer need or really want anything else in that moment. Kathmandu, though, is different. Time matters, even if it is on Nepali time. People walk fast, they wear trends and they speak of seemingly important things. Now, I have only been in the city for 2 days and yet I am in love with it. I love the chaos, the crowds, and the way you can get lost in a second. My host family has been warm, loving, and accepting (just like my village family). But I will mention this. I have not see that smile or the relaxed shoulders I witnessed at the end of the day in the village. Maybe it’s just the nature of a city, but it feels as if the wants outweigh the needs and that the list of both never seems to end even when the sun goes down.