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Namaste Everyone! (Greetings from Nepal!)

My name is Shanti Magar, one of your instructor from this fall course. I am so delighted to work with you all this fall and share the upcoming beautiful journey with you all! Let me introduce myself a bit – My name ‘Shanti’ in english means ‘Peace’ and it was given to me by a foreigner who happened to pass by me when I was a one year old baby, and he looked at me with a smile and told me that I looked so peaceful and since then everyone calls me ‘Shanti’. Some of you might have heard this word in meditation or prayer in the Hindu tradition where you end the prayer by chanting the mantra “Om-Shanti-Shanti-Shanti” as an invocation of peace. Hindu traditions you chant shanti three times to represent peace in body, speech, and mind. Yes, that’s how I got my name!

Now I live in the Northern part of Kathmandu valley called ‘Narayanthan’ and the place is devoted Lord Vishnu. You will learn about him when we have class on Hindu religion. I moved there last year and it’s very beautiful. Though I was born and raised in Kathmandu, my parents are from villages in the Eastern part of Nepal and came to Kathmandu for work and then had a family. I live here with my parents and 4 siblings who you all will get to meet eventually on this course!

I started my journey with Dragons in 2013 as a program assistant for three years. During that time, I had the opportunity to explore my country with Dragons students for the very first time which now I feel very grateful for. I had never thought that the days I spent on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley would be the best days of my life and would teach me so much. Ever since then, I have fallen in love with my country and I have understood why so many people come to visit our nation and meanwhile how much knowledge and wisdom it offers to people.

Now I have been  working as a full instructor since 2017 and I am very excited to showcase to you how Nepal lives through its vernacular. Most tourists pass through expressions of the Nepali culture that depict monumental achievements – temple plazas, popular festivals, important sites, etc. But, there is more to learn from the vernacular – expressions of art, music, cuisine, and economy that hide in the subtleties of daily lives. You will live among the people, in villages and in cities, and experience their habits. You will endeavor to learn Nepali and break words with people who cannot help but smile at your humble beginnings. You will look wondrously at people who will be just as curious when you walk past them. Some people will come forward and address you; some people will sit back and wait for you to approach. Regardless, you will experience not just the sights and the sounds of Nepal but also the emotions that are so freely expressed in this small country.

I am grateful to get the chance to meet each one of you and assist you on this journey that has the power to change lives and direction. I want to let you know how proud I am of you, that you dared yourself to get out of your comfort zone to embark on this adventure. There is really no way one could prepare for what this trip might bring but I suggest that you be open to whatever comes your way. Keeping in mind that it is only us that creates our own limits. The team of instructors- Me, Hemant and Vincent–are here to assist you on your journey. Till then take care of yourself and see you soon!

With care,