Besides the beautiful air and atmosphere of the valley and our first struggles with learning Nepali, we didn’t get much of a taste into this new world we stepped into until this morning. In groups of four, we wandered slowly out of the sheltered hotel grounds and into Dhulikhel. Though we were nervous at first approaching strangers with our broken Nepali, we were received so warmly that our fears were soon replaced with smiles and gratitude for everyone’s hospitality. From children and mothers to shopkeepers and anyone on the street, everybody we spoke to helped us find our way through a scavenger hunt of facts to learn, fruits and objects to buy, and tasks to perform (shoutouts to Team Super Saiyan). Lots of people were out and dressed up for Shivaratri, and they were almost all adorned with a red tikka (including a dog). Children giggled with us and asked our names in perfect English, and sauji (shop owners) laughed and chatted and bargained with us (mostly thanks to Tomas’ jokes).
This small step into Nepal and the Kathmandu area excites me so much for our upcoming month in Patan. I cannot wait to meet my host family and so many other new people and brush up on my Nepali so that I can speak with and learn from so many more people.