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Photo by Scott Diekema, Nepal Semester.

Reflections of Patan

After we said goodbye to Patan and our homestay families we sat together as a group and reflected on the five weeks that we spent here. Through the sense of smell, taste, sound and sight we revisited these memories that we had created in the five weeks and with a heart full of gratitude, experience and learning we move forward to the next component of our CSA program. Sharing with you all the compiled version of of our writings.

Smell:

The smell of the spices at dinnertime and the pungent odour that would be mixed with incense while walking down the street.

The smell of red, fleshy meat, swishing side to side on the uneven road as it made its way to the market.

Fried dough soaked in sugar cooked on the streets, even though my belly won’t receive, the sweetness sinks into the pores of my being just as deliciously.

A certain whiff from outside my bedroom window and the smell of Jasmine.

The strong fish smell while passing by sasto bazaar, that was instantly subdued by the smell of the newly dug trench which again if you walked a few steps ahead was totally annihilated by the smell of hot steaming veg and non-veg momo’s (dumplings)

The smell of the freshly fried fritters being sold  at the street corners. The different fragrances of incenses lit at almost every house or temple in the street.

Taste:

Zesty cucumbers cool my being and ignite fire within my spirit. Sprinkled with swaadhilo (tasty) pixie dust- peppers are its garnish. Mixed in with the nourishment of dal bhaat. Oh yes, Nepali cuisine I have officially fallen in love.

The taste of Newari khaana (Newari food)

The taste of my seventh cracker, soaked in the sugary and hot morning chiyaa (tea) as I glare at the happy faces of my family and Banglamukhi temple out the window.

The taste of my aama’s (homestay mom’s) fries that she would always make for me.

The healing bitter taste of fenugreek in the newari achars (Newari pickle)

Sight:

The brick walkways.

The differing views out my window, seeing neighbors in the morning out of their windows.

The sight of kites racing from the rooftops to the mountains far away as the sun sets for another festive night of Dashainn.

The pigeons taking flight in dozens at the ancient square, sweeping dust and raising our heartbeats for a moment.

Temples glowing amongst the black night, their illumination brightens my sight. Rave balloons flash on by, energy buzzing, Yes, I am alive!

Sound:

The crow caws and aamako “kaa”

My family talking early in the morning at each other from different levels of the house. The hawker yelling/announcing something with a nasal tone and Dashain singing.

The sound of “khana khanaa aaunus” (Dinner’s ready) accompanied by a warm smile peeking through the doorway.

Humans spitting wogees outside the window cell as hip beats of Nepali classics wrap my eardrum. Pravaji our language teacher speaking fastly in Nepali, so much energy to receive.

The elderly people singing bhajaans before sunrise everyday at the temple just outside my bedroom window. Hacking a cough once in a while. Their dedication and steadfastness remained unswayed.

An ode:

Dear Patan you have nourished my soul so profoundly. Your energy is of the great mother. You taught me how to slow down, soften and surrender more than I ever have in my life. Your intense essence of devotion has brought be back to life. Every prayer wheel spun, bell rung and incense burned while chanting prayers have empowered my spirit, brought health to my being. I arrived so sick in my spirit, in my body. I feel renewed and rejuvenated after you took care of me. Through your people, through the dragons family, through my nepali family, through the ayurvedic and yoga family. All the people have been my medicine. Spirit, great mother of Patan – I thank you for helping me remember you ever more deeply through the sacred energy of this space on Earth. Thank you for mothering me like a child, now strong enough to go back out in the world and do your work.

Words cannot express the gratitude for the multitudes of experience lived here in Patan and the way I was welcomed so selflessly. To my homestay family I am forever grateful for allowing me to experience Patan and their family. I am grateful for the messy, sicky, beautifully divine and everything in between. To get to share our lives through the extreme challenges to the extreme blessings. It is all magic and alchemy. I have changed for the better and good although no expectations have grown and will continue to show up unconditionally. I am grateful for the selflessness of others, the gifts of others the intimacy with self and the learning.

I am so incredibly grateful for the warmth and generosity of my family and all those I have crossed paths with in Patan and all of the moments no matter how big or small that have made this experience so amazing.