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

Nepal

We arrived in Nepal less than a week ago. I think. I have nothing but an outdated, plastic alarm clock to anchor myself to the concept of time. I remember the clock as I left my hotel room in New Mexico: a sharp, red message of 4 am. I remember the large, fluorescent clocks of the international airport in Qatar as we tracked the passing of our 10 hour layover. I remember an underlying panic of late, delayed, passing time. Here in Nepal I don’t feel such a constant urge to control my time. I wake up early with the sun, and the days feel longer. We meditate in the mornings, and try to concentrate on breathing and calm while pop music blares across the valley in the background. At night we climb to the roof of our little hotel and look at Nepali stars and a Nepali moon. I am here, but it still feels like I am barely at the edge of Nepal. We left the border of our hotel for the first time in days, and were confronted once again with the color and noise and functional chaos that is Nepal. As we went weaving through small village streets in search of colored bangles, I felt as if we had finally arrived. We met three little boys and traced their hands in our journals, and asked for each of their “signatures” in the middle of each. We were invited for tea, asked if we could donate blood, laughed at, laughed with, and found ourselves entirely overwhelmed. While each stage of this trip invites its own wave of panic, I feel a lot of warmth from the people I am with. We sing Eric Clapton around the fire, and help each other pronounce our broken Nepali sentences. And there is always tea. Tea, cookies, and time to think. So far I have been sheltered, yet structured. Each day has been intentional and important. I feel ready for new places and people. There has been so much to see, and there will be so much as we move on to homestays with our Nepali families.