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    [post_date] => 2013-12-06 09:33:42
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-12-06 16:33:42
    [post_content] => Dear Himalaya Semester Students & Families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families:

December 5th, 2013
Qatar Airways #651
Depart: Kathmandu (KTM) 11:45pm
Arrive: Doha, Qatar (DOH) 2:45am (Dec 6th)

December 6th, 2013
Qatar Airways #701
Depart: Doha, Qatar (DOH) 8:05am
Arrive: New York (JFK) 2:15pm

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Starting on Friday, 12/6, should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 760-709-0848.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Boulder Admin
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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Return Group Flight Information

Dragons Admin,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Dear Himalaya Semester Students & Families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for […]

Posted On

12/6/13

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_date] => 2013-12-05 09:43:28
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    [post_content] => Namaste!

Team Patan is headed home! After our final daal bhat in the program house, we had a last tika ceremony and headed to the airport for a final goodbye to Nepal. They are excited to see you all! Thanks for joining us on this journey!

Sending love from Nepal!

Amrit, Katie & Germaine
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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Team Patan Headed Home!

Amrit, Katie & Germaine ,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Namaste! Team Patan is headed home! After our final daal bhat in the program house, we had a last tika ceremony and headed to the airport for a final goodbye to Nepal. They are excited to see you all! Thanks for joining us on this journey! Sending love from Nepal! Amrit, Katie & Germaine

Posted On

12/5/13

Author

Amrit, Katie & Germaine

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    [post_date] => 2013-12-04 15:54:57
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    [post_content] => Namaste!

We have returned to Patan after our beautiful trek to the base camp of Mardi Himal in the Annapurna Conservation Area, with stunning views of Machhapuchhare (Fishtail) and the Annapurnas and stunning walks through Gurung villages and rice fields. We concluded our trek in the village of Dhampus, where we spent time together, enjoyed chiyaa in the sunshine and prepared for the journey home. This afternoon we returned to what now feels like a second home to celebrate together before embarking on the journey home. Thank you for joining us on this incredible journey!

Amrit, Katie & Germaine
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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Our Return to Patan

Amrit, Katie & Germaine,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Namaste! We have returned to Patan after our beautiful trek to the base camp of Mardi Himal in the Annapurna Conservation Area, with stunning views of Machhapuchhare (Fishtail) and the Annapurnas and stunning walks through Gurung villages and rice fields. We concluded our trek in the village of Dhampus, where we spent time together, enjoyed […]

Posted On

12/4/13

Author

Amrit, Katie & Germaine

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-11-25 10:13:19
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-25 17:13:19
    [post_content] => 
Namaste,
We arrived in village just as the sun was setting over the mountains, pinks and reds creating beautiful light above the hilltop villages. A spider rested in its web, dark in contrast to the sky. Baby goats dashed across the path and buffalo casually looked our way. As I walked down the path to the village's main house, I immediately felt welcomed in and drawn to the peaceful, calm nature of the place. I could see our families waiting patiently, smiles glowing. Alyssa and I were greeted by our aama who immediately grabbed our hands and pulled us down the steps to her house. We met the rest of our family and then settled into our cozy room. I looked to Alyssa and said: "We are going to love it here." Immediatley our aama's smile lit up the space and warmed my heart. She was overjoyed that we were hungry and proceeded to feed us a significant amount of dahl bhat. The hot buffalo milk was one of the best things I've ever had. Fresh from the buffalo, it was sweet and nourishing. Our aama came into our room and sat down with us after dinner. She took my hands in hers and held them, laughing at the contrast in color. I could immediately sense that she was a special, kind-hearted person. Not only that but quite a character as well who has no problem making people laugh. Her calloused hands were a reminder of all of the hard work that she does, working in the fields and harvesting rice.
My time in village has been especially inspiring because of my relationship with my aama. Even if our only way of communicating is through gestures and facial expressions, there is a deep understanding between us. She can always tell if Alyssa and I are hungry and will proceed to bring us oranges and bananas right away. One morning I walked into the small hut where she was cooking saal roti, a round slightly sweet rice bread. She saw that I had my camera and immediatley wanted to take lots of pictures with me. She loved the pictures so much that Alyssa and I decided to make a photo album for her.
Living in village has taught me how important it is to live simply and work hard. Going slowly and taking one thing at a time, taking time to rest when needed. Everyone in village works out of kindness, preparing amazing fresh lunches and warm satisfying breakfasts. Even though people work very hard, they don't forget to stop and have fun. Our aama never fails to make us laugh. Chasing a mouse around the kitchen and making funny noises while calling the chickens in are but a few of the moments that have made us double over with laughter. No matter what, there is always a sense of light and peace in village. Our family doesn't hesitate to hand us a broom or pull us over to husk corn. I have always felt a part of the daily life. By immersing myself in the village life, I have come to understand better the power of love and kindness. Sometimes our aama just comes up to us and gives us a big group hug or  grabs our hands in hers. These gestures are always transparent and full of love and compassion. She has taught me how important it is to reach out to people and to live life without judgement, always being true and selfless. I will always remember her smile and the toughness of her hard-worked hands. I will remember the strength in her embrace and her unique sense of humour.
I feel so grateful to have spent time with so many special people. Their kindness and light will continue to guide me. It has been truly magical to live and work with such a caring family who has been so gracious and open in sharing their culture with us. They have taught me a lot about how to live each day simply and with an open heart.
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Best Notes From The Field, Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester, Homestay

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Always Kind and Forever Open

Teagan Wu,Best Notes From The Field, Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester, Homestay

Description

Namaste, We arrived in village just as the sun was setting over the mountains, pinks and reds creating beautiful light above the hilltop villages. A spider rested in its web, dark in contrast to the sky. Baby goats dashed across the path and buffalo casually looked our way. As I walked down the path to […]

Posted On

11/25/13

Author

Teagan Wu

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-11-25 10:09:01
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-25 17:09:01
    [post_content] => I knew the city like the back of my hand; its alleyways, mandirs, and bahals.. where to find this and that. Patan was homely and beautiful, but I couldn't stop thinking about Nepal's himal. As the five weeks came to an end, we all were.

The time passed incredibly quickly — suddenly I was bidding farewell to my homestay family and they wished me well for our trek. Leaving the urban routine of Patan meant progression.

Our two weeks in the Rolwaling Valley were some of the most exciting of my life. I climbed to heights I've never reached before and slept at campsites nestled into some of the most exquisite landscapes I've ever seen. I reveled at my shortness of breath with each step uphill, as well as the glimmering Himalayan snow and biting cold. I learned I quite enjoy trekking.

Then we were off for our Buddhist meditation retreat. Our retreat center was in Pharping, a village just outside Kathmandu. We recuperated there, practicing shamatha meditation and learning about the fundamentals of Buddhism from our temporary guru: Khenpo Gyaltsen. The retreat resulted in a newfound love for Tibetan Buddhist chanting — how the voice dips and dances — and the comforting wisdom of emptiness.

After reconvening in Patan for three days, we came here. After a short flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a windy drive to a small town called Waling, and a walk uphill, we arrived in Ale Gau. Despite the night's darkness, it wasn't difficult to see the smiles on the villager's faces. Naresh and I greeted our Aama and immediately felt at home.

The village is quaint. Unfailingly, we wake up to a chilly, dense morning fog in the valley. It lifts around noon, then it's sunny and warm, and the days progress effortlessly. Life is simple and relaxed here, but the villagers' work ethic is inspiring. Ale Gau is largely self-sustaining and the agricultural prowess of its people never ceases to amaze me. We've assisted with harvesting from their terrace farms, grown with rice and millet. Baby goats frolic here and there; chicks follow their mothers, chirping delightfully. I've tried milking a water buffalo, which is not as easy as it would appear. But the dudh is rich and delicious after a hugely satisfying plate of daal bhat.

We leave for trek tomorrow morning, and I can't wait to say hello to the Annapurna Conservation Area. We have already reached the final component of the course, and I plan to make the most out of it.
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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Impermanence

Håkon Bard,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

I knew the city like the back of my hand; its alleyways, mandirs, and bahals.. where to find this and that. Patan was homely and beautiful, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Nepal’s himal. As the five weeks came to an end, we all were. The time passed incredibly quickly — suddenly I was bidding […]

Posted On

11/25/13

Author

Håkon Bard

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    [post_content] => Living in Ale Gau has been a great experience. The locals wake up before the sun every day and cook the best food I have eaten in Nepal. They work in the terraced fields both morning and afternoon to harvest the food that we later eat. In village I have felt a greater connection to my food. Each morning I see the milk for our tea milked fresh from the buffalo's teet.
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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Village

Joe Purtell,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Living in Ale Gau has been a great experience. The locals wake up before the sun every day and cook the best food I have eaten in Nepal. They work in the terraced fields both morning and afternoon to harvest the food that we later eat. In village I have felt a greater connection to […]

Posted On

11/25/13

Author

Joe Purtell

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-25 09:23:47
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    [post_content] => Namaste from Ale Gau!

These past two weeks we have spent tucked in the village of Ale Gau, a half hour walk from the nearest road head. Our pace has slowed to that of daily village life, with early morning chiyaa with fresh bisi ko dudh (buffalo milk), fresh foods from the villages own gardens, helping with daily chores around the house before beginning our service learning project. Our primary focus here in village has been focusing on learning service, by working side by side with the local community helping to build a trail to the village, as well as helping homestay families with harvesting rice, millet and soy beans. In addition, we have had discussions on what service learning means, addressing both its challenges and its values.

Tonight we celebrate with a final gratitude party where we will have the opportunity to serve our homestay families chiyaa and makai (popped corn), a small way to give back, before heading out tomorrow morning to our trek start point. We begin our 8-day trek to the Mardi Himal Base camp at 4500 meters from the village of Kande and will not internet or phone access until December 3rd. We look forward to sharing pictures and stories of our journey with you all!

Amrit, Katie & Germaine
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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Namaste From Ale Gau

Amrit, Katie & Germaine,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Namaste from Ale Gau! These past two weeks we have spent tucked in the village of Ale Gau, a half hour walk from the nearest road head. Our pace has slowed to that of daily village life, with early morning chiyaa with fresh bisi ko dudh (buffalo milk), fresh foods from the villages own gardens, […]

Posted On

11/25/13

Author

Amrit, Katie & Germaine

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-25 09:23:41
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-25 16:23:41
    [post_content] => After a 45 minute plane ride, a 3 hour windy road, and a 30 minute walk, we arrived in Ale Gaun. I guess I didn’t have any expectations except for that I would live in a rural setting surrounded by farm land, which seemed like very relaxing environment. I did not expect to witness a killing of a chicken and everything that goes with it. A couple of days ago, my dai asked me if I wanted to kill a chicken, and at first I wasn’t sure if it was a miscommunication or a joke, but all of a sudden, my stoic aamaa pulls out a rooster from its pen (shrieking in the process) and smoothy positioning it in her grip as to cease its movement. In this position, the chicken looked like it knew that it would be killed and had accepted its fate. As all of this commotion was happening I said no and that I would watch instead. I regretted that decision once my ba pulled out his knife and started rolling it on the chicken’s neck until it finally came off; however, the chicken’s body continued to move and squirm in his hand for the next minute afterwards. Yet this was not what I was most disgusted by but when my dai took the chicken and its head and stuffed it into a bucket filled with hot water so that the feathers would come off more easily. At one point I had to hold the de-plucked chicken for so that my dai could barbeque it. After that, it was a blur of both my dais gutting the chicken and cutting it into pieces both for us to eat later and for the pigs. Once I had gathered my wits, I found out why they had killed chicken, and it almost made me laugh and feel guilty at the same time. They said that it had been a bad chicken (bad in the head) because it cucakooed at the wrong time (at 1 am instead of 4 or 5 am). I have always preferred to eat chicken, and knew what the consequence to that was, but I had never participated in making my own food like that before. I guess in some ways, the chicken had a better life in this village than it would have in the states especially if it was a part of the fast food industry. That night for dinner, we were served our usual tasty daal bhat with the addition of our kucara massu ( chicken meat), and it was the first time that I finally understood and knew where all my food came from.

I hope your next meal is tasty!

Pheri Betaula!

Yasmine
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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From Farm to Fork (no really)

Yasmine Eichbaum,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

After a 45 minute plane ride, a 3 hour windy road, and a 30 minute walk, we arrived in Ale Gaun. I guess I didn’t have any expectations except for that I would live in a rural setting surrounded by farm land, which seemed like very relaxing environment. I did not expect to witness a […]

Posted On

11/25/13

Author

Yasmine Eichbaum

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-25 09:22:23
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-25 16:22:23
    [post_content] => With our rural village home stays coming to an end I sit back and ponder the last 2 and a half months of my life.  I have laughed, loved (without breaking any red rules), and cried.  Nepal, we had a good run, now I must leave and continue my life.  I will remember you fondly.

P.S.  I realized that I shouldn't become a professional gambler (thanks Dragons)

P.P.S.  Dragons please post this and don't censor the art that is my writing :) ( you can delete this last line before you post it)
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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The End of a Legacy

David Knott,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

With our rural village home stays coming to an end I sit back and ponder the last 2 and a half months of my life.  I have laughed, loved (without breaking any red rules), and cried.  Nepal, we had a good run, now I must leave and continue my life.  I will remember you fondly. […]

Posted On

11/25/13

Author

David Knott

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    [post_date] => 2013-11-13 08:51:34
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-11-13 15:51:34
    [post_content] => Namaste!

We’ve just returned from our six-day meditation retreat. We were fortunate to spend our retreat in a center in Pharping, a town located on the southern rim of Kathmandu valley. This particular area is a sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists, as it boasts a number of caves in which the man who brought Buddhism to Tibet, Padmasambava, was said to have spent much time meditating. An auspicious location for our retreat!

We arrived in Pharping early on Wednesday morning and met for the first time with Khenpo Gyaltsen, a Buddhist monk and the man who would be our teacher for the next six days. Thus began the pattern of our days in retreat:

Every morning, we woke early to the sounds of monks chanting and began the day at 7am with a half hour of meditation, led by Khenpo Gyaltsen. Our sessions were broken into two smaller 15-minute chunks of time to make it easier for our minds to focus. Following this, we had a half an hour of talk about different aspects of meditation. Afterwards we ate breakfast and spent the rest of the morning in dharma talks, with a break for tea in the middle. During these talks, Khenpo Gyaltsen taught us about many different aspects of Buddhism, covering a basic introduction to the Buddha’s teachings. The title of khenpo is bestowed upon monks who have reached a level of education in Buddhist studies equivalent to a PhD. Though his training, which began at age 9, was formidable, the khenpo himself was not: he gave all of his talks with his characteristic sense of humor and big laugh. As he was most comfortable giving these teachings in Tibetan, he always had Chloe, his translator, at his side helping him to communicate his teachings and stories.

After our morning of dharma talks, we ate lunch and had a couple of hours to rest in the afternoon. This time was filled with reading, talking, napping, and taking walks through the surrounding fields. After break, we came back together as a group for a discussion on what we had learned that day or on questions that we had. We had another short afternoon meditation session and then watched a movie on various topics relating to Buddhism. Following the movie, we ate dinner then had the rest of the night free to rest.

One highlight of the retreat was the day that we went with the khenpo to explore the caves in Pharping. We were able to sit and meditate for a moment in one of them- a space no bigger than the inside of a car with our whole group packed in! We received tikka and lit a butter lamp before heading up to one of the hills that overlooks the valley. Here hundreds of prayer flags are hung up by practitioners from around the globe, with the idea that every time the wind blows, it spreads those prayers out into the world. Our group had some prayer flags blessed and wrote the names of our friends and family members on them before we hung them up to add our prayers to those already floating in the wind.

Tomorrow we head to western Nepal to spend the next two weeks in Amrit’s village, Ale Gaun. We’ll be staying with different members of Amrit’s family, experiencing life in rural Nepal and all that it has to offer. We will be practicing Nepali, eating lots of daal bhat, and helping to build trails and harvest rice alongside our homestay families. After this, we will spend a week or so trekking in the Mardi Himal region. During this time we will be in limited phone and internet contact, but we will keep you posted by yak as often as we can.

Until then,

Germaine, Katie, and Amrit
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Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

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Meditation Retreat

Instructor Team,Himalaya Patan Fall 2013 Semester

Description

Namaste! We’ve just returned from our six-day meditation retreat. We were fortunate to spend our retreat in a center in Pharping, a town located on the southern rim of Kathmandu valley. This particular area is a sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists, as it boasts a number of caves in which the man who brought Buddhism […]

Posted On

11/13/13

Author

Instructor Team

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