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Nepal Semester Student's Catherine Von Holt's photograph of the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu.

First Impressions of Nepal

We arrived in Nepal on the 24th and 25th, after many long hours of travel. After being picked up by taxi at the airport, we arrived at the Cafe de Patan, where we met our group for the first time. Here, we rested and tried to adjust to the new time zone; we also ventured out into the streets of Kathmandu, where we picked up more passport photos, adaptors for our computers, and generally tried not to get run over by motorbikes or taxis. We were struck by how different the traffic is here from the United States, how everyone drives with their own agenda and does not hesitate to change lanes or pass the car in front.

On the morning of the 26th, we gathered our things and traveled by bus to the village of Dhulikhel for our orientation. From the roof of our hotel, there is a beautiful view of the Kathmandu valley – the hills, monkeys swinging in the trees, clothes hanging on the lines, rooftop temples, and somewhere hidden by the clouds, the outlines of the highest peaks of the range. The view is refreshing, as it’s nothing like what we used to see at home. The first days here were chilly and a bit cloudy, but soon it cleared up, and the sun appeared, allowing us to get a full view of the snow capped mountains in the distance.

Here, we have been getting to know each other as a group, and setting intentions for our time together. We have been asking questions about what it means to be a global citizen, and how to approach our time in Nepal with respect but also curiosity. We are beginning to think about what brought us here, and what we would like to get out of our time together and within the program; what are our goals? How can we challenge ourselves to achieve them? We have also begun our first Nepali lessons!

Besides all this, we have also been adjusting to all the new sights and sounds and information (and also microbiome) here. We have a very full plate! As we make room in ourselves to experience all this, we are working to lean into the next phase of our journey; our upcoming homestays in Patan!

Some other things we have experienced:

  • Lots of dal bhat and chai
  • A whole gang of stray puppies
  • A Kali temple
  • Pooping without toilet paper
  • Truck horns that sound like trumpets
  • The smells of the city; sandalwood and smoke and dust

We leave Dhulikhel on the 1st for the Hasera Permaculture Farm . . . and then onwards!