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

A Home With Seven Floors

A few minutes down the narrow road,

And across the land and sea,

In a towering house of at least seven floors,

I’ve found a family.


Each morning I’m awoken,

At the absolute crack of dawn,

By construction across the shadowed way

And a bell that seems to go on.


I try to stay under the covers

Which I never can seem to fold right,

But I always get up for a cup of tea (and like eight rotis)

In the early morning light.


My mother speaks some English

I speak in English too

I try to speak in Nepali,

But it sticks on my tongue like glue.


There’s lots lost in translation

And sometimes we just smile

And every little minute

Makes the struggles more worthwhile.


At dinner she gives me more

Than Simran and Bipash combined

I don’t think the phrase “no thanks I’m full”

Exists inside her mind.


Simran’s always on her phone

Bipash always too

I think he’s annoyed about my coming

‘cause I kind of took his room.


Though one night we watched Clueless

“baai” sitting on the floor

And between him and his sister,

He paid attention more.


My father is elusive,

I don’t know where he goes

And like what’s on that seventh floor

I don’t think I’ll ever know.


Up and down the winding steps

I travel every day

This home reminds me of the home

I left so far away.