The semester has come to a close. Just as my friends and fellow students abroad have expressed in countless ways, this time abroad has surely been an amazing experience filled with excitement, anxiety, and inexplicable adventures. I was fortunate enough to spend an extra week here in Nepal, traveling around with my wonderful cousin who took off work to come visit. We saw more of the Kathmandu Valley in the last 7 days than I saw in my entire 3 months in Nepal. We explored the Durbar Squares (palace squares) of Basantapur, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, took in amazing views over the valley from Kopan and Namobuddha, and meandered through the lush botanical gardens of Godawari. Never have I truly felt like a tourist than in these last 7 days, especially in my own “home.” However it was refreshing to explore in a more relaxed, leisurely manner. We had a fantastic time, and so did my new friend, daruma san, brought to me by my cousin from Japan. He went everywhere with us and, as it turns out, he is more photogenic than I.
Wood carving in Bhaktapur; just one of the many amazing pieces of art for which the Newari are known.
Also, the zoo.
The forest adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens.
I have had my ups and downs, my hopes and my fears, moments of joy and moments of worry, but each and every experience taught me something, and for that I am indebted to Nepal. As foolish as that may sound, simply living here and experiencing the world from a slightly different perspective than one I was accustomed to allowed me to grow, as I’m sure my classmates can attest to as well. This beautiful stupa in Boudha has been a source of comfort since we first arrived, and it will be sad to leave it behind. A few rounds of bittersweet kora will conclude my time in Nepal, and before I know it I’ll be back in the states with my family.
Before bringing this final blog post to a close, I wanted to share one last quote. This passage is from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s book What Makes You Not a Buddhist, and it was one of our reading assignments before coming to Nepal. The passage spoke to me because it addressed my worries, particularly with flying. I tried to hold on to these ideas for the duration of my trip, and I will surely be thinking about them during my travels home.
“Fearlessness is generated when you can appreciate uncertainty, when you have faith in the impossibility of these interconnected components remaining static and permanent. You will find yourself, in a very true sense, preparing for the worst while allowing for the best. You become dignified and majestic. These qualities enhance your ability to work, wage war, make peace, create a family, and enjoy love and personal relationships. By knowing that something is lying in wait for you just around the bend, by accepting that countless potentialities exist from this moment forward, you acquire the skill of pervasive awareness and foresight like that of a gifted general, not paranoid but prepared.”
Thank you to all of those who have taken the time read about my travels. For those of you who know me, you know this is only a small fraction of what I could talk about, and I will be happy to relive these memories with anyone who cares to learn more. Only 6 hours until I head to the airport and make my way to Scotland for one last leg of gallivanting before returning home. It has been an incredible journey, and I’m happy I had amazing people to share it with. To my directors here in Nepal, my friends here and abroad, my home stay family, and of course my loving family at home, I say thank you for everything. Take care, and I will talk to you all soon.