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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

Rad(ish) Orientation

After a strenuous two days of travel we arrived on the other side of the planet. We were greeted by our wonderful instructors who bequeathed us with mala flower necklaces and wished us a peaceful “Namaste!” From Kathmandu we traveled to the hill town of Dhulikhel, where we have a breathtaking view of the Himalayas in the distance.

That first afternoon and evening was a blur of excitement, anticipation, and sleepy jet lag. Our first lunch of daal bhat was accompanied by a welcome cup of chiya tea, which was wonderfully reenergizing and tasty. That evening we participated in our very first group ceremony. We were silently ushered into a red, candlelit hut, where marigolds (taken from one of the previously mentioned mala) were scattered around the rug. We sat on small, circular green cushions. As we closed our eyes to the faint sound of Nepali chanting playing in the background, we were led in a guided meditation. Our leader Anna presented us with a sensory experience as we were invited to smell and taste orange slices which suddenly seemed foreign and unfamiliar, and then fennel and sugar which was both bitter and sweet, a metaphor for our experience to come.

The last several days of orientation have been full of many experiences such as this one, as we participate in sessions to prepare us for the course, Nepali language and culture lessons, walks around Dhulikhel, and acclimating to Nepal and to each other.

We are very excited for the end of orientation and our upcoming rural homestay in the village of Koshi Tappu in the south. And now for some personal messages:

Hi friends and fam! I’m so happy here. Our group is amazing and I’m in awe of how beautiful this country is. Love you so much Mom, Bryan, Hannah, Nonna, and friends <3. Give love to the animals for me. ~ Hope

Saludos a todos. Espero que todo vaya bien por aya. Aqui me la estoy pasando increible. Les escribo pronto no se preocupen. Mandando muchos abrazos.

Hello everyone! I’m having a wonderful time here. Nepal is so beautiful and I’m incredibly lucky to be here. Special message for Bubby: I saw a KFC while we were on the bus. I didn’t get to take a picture of it but I couldn’t believe it was there. Love to Mom, Dad, Ari, Ellie, Charlie (woof), Bubby and Julie, Grandma and Grandpa, and all my other beloved friends and family. ~ Meredith