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Homestay: One of the things I was most nervous about for this trip was the home-stay experience. I’ve had friends who have had great experiences with their home-stay families when they did trips abroad, but I’ve also heard some horror stories, so I really did not know what to expect. But after all my worrying, the moment I met the family I realized I had had nothing to fear. My host family, the mother especially, were extremely caring and loving (not to mention incredible cooks!), and went to great lengths to make sure I felt at home and was having a good time. The couple times I got sick, it seemed like my recovery became their number one priority. I also had my own room and bathroom, and was never uncomfortable in any way. The kids, ages 8-14, were a blast. We went to the movies, went to the zoo, played cricket, football, board games, and I got to teach them some of my favorite card games. It was really neat to learn a little about their culture from them, and teach a little of my own. I really realized how much they meant to me after I got back after my 2-week trek and I walked into the house and thought, “I’m home”. I had not expected to feel that way.

Trek: The trek to Annapurna Base Camp was my favorite part of my 11 weeks in Nepal. I had not done very much trekking in the past, but what I had done I had loved, so I knew I was in for an incredible experience. I would like to write about one particular experience I had. It was the first day of the trek, and it was a really beautiful day – sun shining down and a brilliantly blue sky. We had been walking for a couple hours and were up in these hills where these farms were. And I was walking by these houses and I was all of a sudden struck by the beautiful simplicity of these people’s lifestyles. I realized that this beautiful hill was a person’s home. They lived and farmed the land and woke up to the views of the mountains every day. I was both jealous of them and embarrassed of all the things I have that I really do not need. I may not be describing this very well, but it was a really powerful moment for me. Now that I am back home I think about that a lot whenever I get caught up in trivial, superficial things.

The rest of the trek was incredible as well, going high up into the mountains, going through all different kinds of landscape, passing through rural villages. I’ll never forget it and I look forward to going back in the near future to do it again.

Volunteering: The first week I was in Nepal I had the opportunity to be a volunteer at the annual Kathmandu Jazz festival or Jazzmandu. I had a great time. For one thing, my coordinator, Yanik, was also a volunteer, and so this was a great way to get to know him – bonding over a love of music, and working at these shows. All of the other volunteers were local kids about my age, so it was great to talk to and get to know them. And obviously being able to go to all of these shows for free was amazing, especially because, being a volunteer, I got to know some of the people in bands and have some great conversations with a couple of them. My favorite band was Soulmate, from Shillong, India. The lead singer was this unbelievably talented bluesy soul singer, who could command the stage with ease, and she was backed by a, to use some Kathmandu slang I picked up, deadly guitarist.


Written by passageinternational

March 14, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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