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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Janma Din

The dust has definitely settled in Patan, where we’ve been living with our homestay families for almost two weeks now.  Most of us, all wrapped up in our shawls, have had the opportunity to explore Durbar Square after cooking breakfast and learning Nepali each morning at the program house.  I’ve gotten pretttty average at bargaining for items in English, but for class today we went out to bargain in Nepali & I was much, much worse.

At this point we’re well integrated into our host families.  My 14 year old bahina Smirti is smarter than I am and a beast on the badminton court, and my other 19 year old didi Sneha is a businesswoman and boy does she love Kasautii Zindagii Kay, a romantic Hindi soap opera.  My aamaa is a talented painter and cook, while my baa is a metalworker.  On Sunday, my birthday, they even prepared a traditional Nepali ceremony for me!  I was blessed with a tika, flowers and rice.  They even gifted me toe rings.  It was so special and I will never forget it.

Then the gang wrote me a card and purchased not one, but TWO cakes with both my name and my Nepali name (Kavita) misspelled but I was too excited about the sugar to care.  The same day, we burned those calories on a wild hike in the Godavari Forest.  At the summit, we ate cookies while gazing over the Himalayas and the Valley.  I have never had and will never again have a birthday quite like that one.

The day after I did not get two cakes even though it’s required to respect your elders, but I will accept the awesome presence of each of these youngsters everyday instead.

And yes, at least half of us have experienced sickness in one way or another – myself included 🙂 But it hasn’t stopped us from moving forward and taking each day as it comes.  Like dragons we’re fearless!  And we breathe fire!  (literally)