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Archive for July 2012

Emma’s Personal Passage

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by Emma Bussard

July 12, 2012

Emma Bussard came to Kathmandu as a Personal Passage student. This was her first visit. Emma was here on a 6-week program and chose Traditional Art as her ISP. In this blog Emma shares her experience in Kathmandu, in a nutshell. 

Once I boarded my first flight to begin my 40+ hour journey to Kathmandu, I realized that my trip was going to be an adventure.  Although it was my first time traveling outside of the country alone, Yanik Shrestha made me feel as though I was coming to visit my best friend. The initial drive from the airport to the passage base was completely overwhelming but probably the most exciting drive of my whole trip. I was amazed by the amount of honking on the road, people and cows walking around, and colorful shops selling everything imaginable. Those first few days of exploring were incredible because everything was totally new, and there was so much to see that I didn’t even want to blink! I was literally breathless when I saw the view of the houses and mountains from the passage base. It was one of those out-of-body experiences where I could not even believe that I was in Asia or standing there seeing that amazing view. My first week even more exhilarating because there was a lot of political upheaval happening around the city—which was actually very interesting to go through and learn about.

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When I moved into my homestay, I began to feel the culture shock. However, after a week or so, I finally began to settle into my life in Nepal with the help of my family and teachers. I had two younger brothers which was a completely new and fun experience for me considering I’m one of three girls. I stayed with a Newari family which is one of the castes in Nepal. Newaris cook amazing food and even speak in a different language than what I was learning in my Nepali language class. It was cool to see and experience the differences between the various levels of the caste system in the multiple atmospheres of which I was a part. As an art student, I loved to take pictures of all the routine activities that I found so fascinating; and my family would always laugh when I would sprint down the 3 sets of stairs in our home to grab my camera to capture a moment. The homestay experience, while very difficult for me at first because it was so extremely unlike my experiences in America, was the most amazing part of my trip. I felt at home with them as well as all of their family members who would occasionally stop by our home to visit and eat with us. The mother in my household didn’t speak much English, but we could still communicate—sometimes in Nepali and sometimes with smiles and body language. My father would always look out for me and make sure I had eaten enough and knew where I was going. He even took me with him on his morning walk (at 4:45AM!) to a local temple. My little brothers spoke fluent English, so it was easy for me to communicate with them. They would help me with my language lessons though—sometimes only allowing me to speak in Nepali and testing me. They always expressed interest in my life and asked about my traditions from home. I’ve been back in America for a week, but I miss my second family so much already!

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The ISP that I chose to do in Nepal was to learn traditional art, specifically clay sculpture. I studied at the Nepal Traditional Handicraft Training Center which was about a 5 minute walk from my home. My art classes allowed me to interact with people my own age as well as learn about traditional Nepalese art techniques and symbolism. I worked in a clay sculpture studio and also took a theory class where we learned to draw mandalas. I’m hoping to base my senior art show this year off of ideas that I developed and learned about in my classes as well as from my walks around Patan where I saw a multitude of temples, sculptures, and artisan shops. I was also able to meet and talk to a variety of artists on a heritage walk as well as on trips with my art teacher. What I learned from simply walking down a busy street full of shops there was invaluable and also something I could not have experienced in America.

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What I learned most on my trip to Nepal though, was how to be independent. Traveling alone put me entirely out of my comfort zone and challenged me to reach out to entirely new types of people, cultures, traditions, foods, and behaviors. My time in Nepal gave me a new sense of self, a fresh outlook on life, and the travel bug. In addition to these wonderful things, my short 6-week trip to Nepal also provided me with the confidence that I can travel around to experience diverse lifestyles and cultures—even by myself. From the first week of my trip when I was scared to take a taxi, haggle on goods, or even walk to the store by myself, to the last week when I traveled 8 hrs on a bus to Pokhara completely alone, I learned so much about myself and the world.  I hope to return to Nepal on another trip with Passage when I graduate.

 

Written by passageinternational

July 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

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Written by passageinternational

July 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized