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I traveled to Thailand with two other people. We spent three nights in Bangkok and four nights in Phuket. In total, I was gone May 14th to June 14th. I loved the freedom of traveling and experiencing other cultures. I sincerely believe that traveling is the easiest and most meaningful way to become a globally conscious citizen.
Our last week we attended several lectures that gave us more of a background of Nepal. These lectures helped us prepare our final presentations. Our final deliverable was a photo essay. This project allowed us to convey a single thought in an easily digestible manor. This form of communication allows a wider base of individuals to access our findings.
Attempts Dorothy impression: rhinos, and elephants, no tigers, oh my! My second week in Nepal seemed to be geared more towards conservation and livelihoods. During the more hands-on portions of the week I found myself seeing several endangered one-horned rhinoceroses, having very close interactions with Asian elephants and taking in beautiful scenery of the terai (the lowlands).
I’m half way around the world and all I have with me are the clothes on my back, my retainer, my passport and some cash. That’s right, I lost my luggage. The issue was that my flight from Chicago was delayed causing the connecting flight in Abu Dhabi to be sort of a nail-biter. Luckily I made my flight, the tradeoff was that my bag didn’t.
At the end of our study abroad experience, our class was challenged to create a photo essay that spoke to our own personal focus during the trip. I chose to make my photo essay about the importance of education, especially amongst the youth of this and future generations. Education is such a powerful tool and it can be the determining factor in many social movements. When populations start to make significant changes in lifestyles, the youth must be educated as to why these changes are being made and they must have the opportunity to either follow in their parents footsteps or make their own educated decisions.
Namaste! Good day, from Kathmandu.
At dinner, Dr. Chhetri (Nalini ji, our Nepali professor from ASU and self-declared trip-mom) asked what shocked me. I think it was the second time she asked.
I drew a blank.
Which shocked me! Something, surely something must have shocked me. Am I doing something wrong?
I take in as much as I can. Beeping motorcycles, smoky air, dust in my eyes all draw my attention.
Terraces of green | woken by a blood red sun | rain to wash the soul
My first morning in Nepal I woke to a blood red sun peaking over one of the countless mountains that make up the foggy horizon. I arose right in time as if the sun was calling me to take part in this daily ritual that on a normal day never seems worth the cost of extra sleep. But days in Nepal were different; they were never normal days, and it’s for this reason that I decided to write a Haiku for each day of the trip (the one above was written on my first morning in Nepal). The days were full of moments that took your breath away, made you think and humbled you in ways you could never imagine. Looking back on this moment it feels like it’s been an eternity, not just a couple months. However I sit here now, back on US soil trying to digest everything my senses have absorbed from this study abroad experience. And it’s tough. Three weeks in Nepal and four weeks in India (a trip I planned after the Global studies program) may not seem like that much time, but it was to me. This trip challenged me in many ways: it forced me to adopt a different perspective, it challenged me to find comfort in complexity and it tested my positive attitude time and time again.
Almost every day since arriving back in the U.S., I have longed for a plate of dal bhat and a side of momos. I yearn to greet everyone with “Namaste” rather than “hello” and wear my billowy harem pants to work every day. I did not really think that reverse-culture shock was a thing until I came home and started missing Nepal like crazy. I miss walking down the non-existent sidewalks, passing by the rainbow buildings. I miss being surrounded by centuries of history and ancient legends. Most of all, I miss the people – their dedication to culture and resilient hearts that have been frightened by natural disaster cannot be forgotten.