My homestay little brother told me, “Happiness is meeting a stranger that becomes part of the family.”
He couldn’t be more correct.
On Saturday, my last family day, my homestay father, a silver jeweler, summoned me into his bedroom where he was polishing his newly completed collection of rings and bracelets. “Aunus, aunus!” he said. I sat down next to him and watched him purify his handiwork. Every detail of his carvings has symbolism and correlations to his Buddhist faith and his work’s intricacies are absolutely breath-taking.
My father told me he had something for me as he pulled out a pair of silver earrings. With a dharma circle in the middle and four pedals attached he explained that these were two Bajra symbols. It is believed to be the strongest item in the Bajrayana Buddhist faith, his family’s faith, where life flows in at the middle of the Bajra and flows out of the sides into infinity. The Bajra is also the symbol of the Bajracharya family, the surname of my homestay family.
My father handed me the earings and said with so much endearment, “This is the symbol of my family which is also now your family too. Wear these earrings and always remember us and come back home someday soon.”
There is nothing more important in my life than family, community and love. To have that extended here is Nepal leaves me feeling exceptionally blessed and eternally happy, just like my little brother said.
My time in Patan, the great artisan city, as come to a close, but the genuine love and connections I made will be felt by me forever, and that love is equally reciprocated.