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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

Morning Walk

“I’m taking you guys someplace different today,” Nick says on our morning walk to Boudha Stupa. Only three students joined us for the 6am pilgrimage where we climbed to a roof of a nearby temple. We overlooked the hectic plaza surrounding the Nepali holy site next to a sculpture of two deer who were alleged early followers of Buddha. We took our shoes off outside an ornate room where the downpour increased. Once inside we lit incense in butter candles and admired the gold decorated idols in front of us. We then sat on mats while a monk blessed us with a string necklace that embodies purity of body and mind with a knot holding his prayers. Tea was poured into our hands an offering and placed on our heads while being touched with the monk’s prayer book. As we left we all bowed and said “namaste” before heading back out to the rain where we came from.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in Kathmandu but I did not think I would feel so immersed in this peaceful and complex place. I’ve never experienced a city so busy and calm at the same time, though in our short three days I have certainly felt impacted. We’re off to Bhutan today and I am carrying the prayers that Kathmandu has given me along with an open mind for adventure.