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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

These are mountains, not hills

I’m sitting on the bank of a glacial river, right next to a bridge covered in prayer flags. The water is icy-crystal blue. There are mountains all around. The village of Na is a tiny, quiet and unbelievably beautiful place in the Rowaling valley. In this village there are a lot of yaks. The stars at night are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen – seriously, I’ll never forget them. You can see the Milky Way. Thousands upon thousands of vivid stars dripped through the sky. I saw my first ever shooting star here, while bundled up from the freezing cold. Did I make a wish? No. I was so “star-struck” that I forgot.

I cannot yet seem to comprehend the beauty of all I am seeing. The fog and rain rolling over the red and yellow hills. A single house standing solemnly, unsure if it’s inhabited. The beautiful holy lake that we hiked up to had hundreds of carefully-formed rock piles – meant as prayers or blessings for loved ones. There are massive snowy peaks that I can only fathom as real because I’ve seen photographs of similar ones. The butterflies, all the way up here, dance in the cold wind. The sleepy-eyed yaks, birds that flock in hundreds, the avalanche over the lake – all things I never in my life expected to see. I didn’t ever think I was capable of making it up to this place. Trekking was something that scared me. Now that I’m here, I am both very grateful and very proud. The mountains are teaching me to have faith in myself and confidence in my abilities. I couldn’t be happier to be here in this moment, amazed that I am here and this is my life.