The day was beautiful and sunny, hardly a cloud in the sky, and the streets of Patan were significantly quieter than would be expected for a Monday afternoon. My mind was feeling clear and my appreciation for the moment was sky high now that my gut bacteria was finally doing its job. Though walking through the alleys and secret passageways of the city as a foreigner puts you at high risk of getting lost, I enjoy discovering new courtyards and happening upon random temples and shrines. On this particular day, my quest was to find a local tea shop recommended by my host sister. Luckily my chosen path didn’t lead me astray and I was soon absorbed by the sights and smells of the tea, coffee and spices. Though the shop keeper spoke little to no english, our communication was very clear. We traded Namastes, shared a smile and he proceeded to help me choose the best tea and spices. Though at first the language barrier seemed isolating and lonely, I came to realize that we are here for a purpose and nobody really has the mindset of negativity or disrespect. At first street vendors might give a subdued impression, but the moment you smile at them and say “Hello” they smile back and I can just feel the warmth. We are all people and of course it can be intimidating to be a foreigner, but its time to let go of the assumptions and safety belts set up by the comfort of home countries and embrace the flow of Nepal.
I’m not going to lie, its taken me some time to adjust, but I’m really starting to love Patan and cant wait to explore even more of this crazy and wonderful country.