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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons


Hello People,

By people I really mean my parents which I’m pretty sure are the only two that read my YAK posts anyway. I’m writing now from a Hostel around the area of the most famous stupa of Nepal called Boudha. This stupa is one of the most important pilgrimage site for Buddhism. Many Buddhists from all over the world can be seen walking circles around the temple as a form of prayer. We just arrived yesterday, March 18th, after having spent the last month living with our Newari Homestay Families in Patan. I had a very enjoyable last day experience as I was able to take part in the celebration of my Nepali Dad’s 47th birthday celebrations. It was an amazing party that lasted the whole day. There was lots of food, new family members, dancing, karaoke, and so much more. I had an amazing time meeting these new family members ranging from grandparents, to aunts, to second and third cousins. However this experience was kind of bitter sweet because as I was enjoying the festivities I knew that the next morning I would be setting out with my backpack on to another adventure. Luckily though, I had already organized my things and was able to enjoy time with my family till late without having to worry about any packing or laundry.
Now that we are in Boudha the process Dragon’s calls Mid-Course is underway. This was explained to me as a time where we will press the pause button and reflect on everything that has happened. This will include a lot of writing which I’m not too excited for, but I have come to realize that this is a critical point in which the entire group will be able to process thoroughly everything that has happened up until now. Another part that has changed with this new part of the course is the people in the area we are staying. Patan, being further south is subject to a more Indian influence. This is specifically seen in the mix of Hinduism and Buddhism that they practice. While Boudha, being a pilgrimage site has a more Tibetan influence and practices a more authentic form of Buddhism. Because of this we have been able to see and meet a lot of Tibetans living in Nepal. Just yesterday afternoon we were received at the new hotel with a talk from a Tibetan Language teacher who left Tibet when she was 7 and the struggles she faced with her family and personal life. After this talk we proceeded to go dine at a Tibetan restaurant for dinner under a picture of the Dalai-Lama. All these new experience continue to feed my hunger to continue to learn more about Nepal and its role in Asia.
Lastly, hey mom and dad. Now that I have left Patan, one of the things the instructors collected were our temporary Nepali cellphones. This means that from now on we will have to find a new way to communicate. I was maybe thinking smoke signals since it doesn’t use internet. But in all seriousness I will try and figure out what can be done to keep in touch. I don’t want you panicking when everything is fine. So for now just keep in mind what Gabriel told you: No news is good news, until I figure out a way to be in touch.

Peace and love from Nepal,
– Tomas