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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

A reflective journal entry written during our second to last day in Chokati:

As i strolled through the village on my morning walk to language class, i felt something i would have never expected upon first entering the rural village of Chokati, an overwhelming sense of peace. The once foreign and overwhelming space had quickly turned itself into a very special home. Yes, the language barrier was still difficult, and no, the squat toilet had not become my favorite place, but the simple lifestyle and endless tiny displays of love had managed to make the uncomfortable, comfortable.

 

I am currently sitting with my amma on the front porch. She is eating and i am writing. We stare at the breath takingly beautiful mountain ridge, listening tot he sounds of goats chickens and of course children playing.

 

The babies of Chokati are absolutely one of my favorite parts of village life. From the moment we arrived, a thousand eager little hands saluted "Namaste!" to the gods within us. Their excitement was pouring out of them, so our team naturally went straight to playing. To anyone reading this - I must say that Nepali children are unlike any I have ever played with before. Not only are they willing to make a game of anything, but there is a very inspiring sense of community within the group. The kids take turns at everything, take care of each other and are quite simply so happy to be in the presence of one another. For the Nepali child, each day is an amazing adventure.  This simple lesson taught me so much. So thank you to the children of Chokarti, for reminding me of that beautiful sense of innocent joy that you each possess. Oh, and i must also admit that the baby chickens, water buffalo and goats bring almost as much happiness to an onlooker as the children do.

 

My family here is so special. There is no fighting or arguing. Each member of the house knows their job, so once all tasks are performed (and trust me- there's a lot of them in rural life), they are able to sit peacefully together around the fire and relax after a hard days work. We may not be able to communicate very well, but i am still so aware of the culture of kindness within my home.

 

One of my favorite moments of my stay thus far occured on my second night at home. After an awkward first encounter the day vefore, I decided to bring my ukelele to dinner to try to connect with my family in a way that did not involve me muttering in broken Nepali jibberish. The reaction i got was so much more than what i could have hoped for. We took turns playing tunes, teaching each other songs and just laughing. I love the way Nepali people laugh. It's like they are sharing a piece of temselves with you. They laugh when they receive presents, they laugh when the funny Americans play with their baby goats and they laugh quite simply to show you that they like you. It is the most welcoming and beautiful sound to a scared foreigner. Anyways, the ukelele remained a key factor in our communication throughout my stay. This was especially special because i had spent the last few months leading up to this trip writing about my desire to pursue theatre, defending my case with the idea that art is a universal language. Experiencing this first hand with my home stay family filled me with joy, and reminded me of home and of my future.

 

Yesterday as a whole was pretty magical as well. We summited a steep slope to find a beautiful mountain-top field, where we played frisbee, reflected on the many lessons we had learned, and admired the massive Himalayan mountains. Feeling small is without a doubt one of my favorite parts of trekking. I love staring at giant mountains and being reminded of how big the world around me is, and that i am a part of a community and story so much bigger than myself.

 

Last night we also celebrated my bhaini (little sisters) birthday. We gave her small gifts, covered her forehead in red tik-tika, and draped her neck in yellow flower chains. All the while, my beautiful and newly 14 year old little sister was focused on making sure all her guests had enough tea to drink.

 

I am sad to be leaving so son. I feel like i have just become familiar with this beautifully simple lifestyle, but i am also really looking forward to trekking. Overall, the village has reminded me of the simplicity of life, the importance of hard work, and has shared an innocent sense of happiness that has been distant for too  long. This week reminded me to take joy in the little things, a baby laughing, a cold waterfall bath, the power behind a smile... the list goes on and on. I admire the hard work performed here, but i mostly admire the overwhelming feeling of love and comfort within the villagers. Friends walk in uninvited, and warm greetings are passed at every interaction. The family centered lifestyle has certainly contributed to a bit of homesickness, but letting go of those anxieties and just enjoying laughter with the village children, my dragons family and Nepali periwa has made this a truly special week.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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A Culture of Kindness

Malena Pennycook,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

A reflective journal entry written during our second to last day in Chokati: As i strolled through the village on my morning walk to language class, i felt something i would have never expected upon first entering the rural village of Chokati, an overwhelming sense of peace. The once foreign and overwhelming space had quickly […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Malena Pennycook

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Hi everyone,

 

This is a quick note to let you all know that the group has arrived safely in Kathmandu.  It has been a long journey and everyone arrived late in the night, tired, but very much happy to be checking in to their lovely space in Bhaktapur.  

 

The next few days will be spent resting, getting to know the country, getting to know each other, catching up with the intense jet lag, and other initial orientation activities.  

 

Stay tuned for an update from the group very shortly. 

 

Namaste,

Japhy 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Students have arrived!

Japhy Dhungana,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hi everyone,   This is a quick note to let you all know that the group has arrived safely in Kathmandu.  It has been a long journey and everyone arrived late in the night, tired, but very much happy to be checking in to their lovely space in Bhaktapur.     The next few days […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Japhy Dhungana

WP_Post Object
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    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

We have returned back to Kathmandu from our village stay in Chaukati and a short trek to the Tingsang pass and students have already begun their Kathmandu home stays.  From village homestays with basic amenities to hiking up to at 10,000ft pass, students were challenged and also rewarded with new friendships and stunning Himalayan views.  We thought you all would enjoy seeing some photos from our recent time in the mountains! 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Village stay and trek

Instructors,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

We have returned back to Kathmandu from our village stay in Chaukati and a short trek to the Tingsang pass and students have already begun their Kathmandu home stays.  From village homestays with basic amenities to hiking up to at 10,000ft pass, students were challenged and also rewarded with new friendships and stunning Himalayan views.  […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Instructors

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 16605
    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Everyone arrived safely late last night in great spirits after a long journey.  We are staying at Bhaktapur Guest House, a spacious, beautiful and secluded spot just outside Kathmandu where we will stay for another 5 nights as we continue our orientation and explore the ancient Newari city of Bhaktapur.  

 

Students are all handling their jet lag admirably and are now heading to bed after a long day of orientation activities as well as a walk to a nearby Hindu temple.  Seen here is the group with their pictoral "mission statement".  Tomorrow we will start with an early morning hike to a Shiva temple, continue with orientation and our first Nepali language class with our teachers Rajesh Dai and Nisha Didi.  More to follow soon!  

 

Namaste! 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Student arrival

Instructors,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Everyone arrived safely late last night in great spirits after a long journey.  We are staying at Bhaktapur Guest House, a spacious, beautiful and secluded spot just outside Kathmandu where we will stay for another 5 nights as we continue our orientation and explore the ancient Newari city of Bhaktapur.     Students are all […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Instructors

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 16633
    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Namaste everyone!

 

Today was our first day truly experiencing the ancient city of Bhaktapur by doing a scavenger hunt (made by our lovely instructors) within the city. We walked from the Bhaktapur Guest House to the bridge connecting to the city, and were left with money, a paper with our items to find, and our fellow group members.

 

On the way to the bridge, we walked into the middle of a Newari festival for coming of age. There was live music, rituals, and several animal sacrifices. We were a bit taken aback by the animal sacrifices (I mean, we don't really see those at home) but it was a powerful cultural activity to witness and we got a little used to it as time went by.

 

The city was nothing like anything we had experienced before. The ancient buildings and architecture were well perserved and striking. However, the city was quite hectic, with motorcycles and cars honking and zooming past, along with many people, music, and animals along the streets.

 

After getting several food items on our list, we were walking along a street and a wedding proccession went by. A kid stopped to talk to us and asked us where we were from. After responding "America!" the boy smiled and said "Oh! Capital Washington DC!" we laughed, and Will attempted to ask in Nepali the kids name. He started with "timro" and and the Nepali kid finished his sentence for him with "naam ke ho!" It was pretty funny, and obvious this kid was used to foreigners practicing their mediocre Nepali on him.

 

Generally, people were very friendly and willing to help us, even if they spoke little English. Walking by, a smile and a "Namaste" often was well recieved, and we got many smiles and greetings back. Children were pretty fascinated by us, asking us to play with them or throwing rocks at Will and asking for chocolate (or a 5 Rupee note).

 

We ate lunch at a small restaurant away from the chaos called Peaceful Garden. Unfortunately, they did not have electricity for the time being, so our options were limited. We split chow mein and asked some of our scavenger hunt questions.

 

Although a bit chaotic, we all got pretty used to the city and close encounters with fast motor vehicles. The little shops were beautiful, but we spent most of our time walking quickly around. Tomorrow we will have more time to explore and take pictures.

 

Anyway, we got a lot done and also got along real well. The city takes a little time to get used to, but it was definitely a fun and worthwhile experience!

 

Namaste!

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Washington D.C. in Bhaktapur?

Andi, Sarah, Max, Slick Willy J,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Namaste everyone!   Today was our first day truly experiencing the ancient city of Bhaktapur by doing a scavenger hunt (made by our lovely instructors) within the city. We walked from the Bhaktapur Guest House to the bridge connecting to the city, and were left with money, a paper with our items to find, and […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Andi, Sarah, Max, Slick Willy J

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 16634
    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Often times we don’t find adventure, adventure finds us. Our adventure began when we left the gates of the Bhaktapur Guest House and headed towards the gated medieval city of Bhaktapur. Before even entering we experienced a traditional Newari coming of age ceremony. The sounds of drums and chanting echoed through the narrow alleyways of the city. We witnessed the sacrificing of a water buffalo as a payment to the Gods for the young boys being welcomed into adulthood. With our scavenger hunt list in hand we embarked on our search for various facts about Nepali and Bhaktapur culture.

 

We talked to shop keepers and were led around the city by a young boy eager to show us a temple on our list. After finishing our hunt with multiple hours and thousands of rupees left over, we enjoyed our time wandering the streets and dining in a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Fire Fast Food with Sheesha was delicious only topped by the atmospheric American pop music blasting in the background. Once finished we headed back confident on our impending victory to the Bhaktapur Guest House. As groups started returning from their own hunts we discovered that we were not in fact in the lead, but in reality in last place. The Nepali sentences at the top of the page were not as we first assumed a translation of the English tasks, but really another set of items to collect. Despite our loss we highly enjoyed our time and were able to enjoy a stress free walk around Bhaktapur. Although we were not used to the chaos within the city, we successfully dodged motorcycles and fell in love with the people and architecture. 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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We Won 3rd Place

Cassie, Grady, Hanna, Katie,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Often times we don’t find adventure, adventure finds us. Our adventure began when we left the gates of the Bhaktapur Guest House and headed towards the gated medieval city of Bhaktapur. Before even entering we experienced a traditional Newari coming of age ceremony. The sounds of drums and chanting echoed through the narrow alleyways of […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Cassie, Grady, Hanna, Katie

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 16635
    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Our first venture into the medieval city of Bhaktapur was surprising, challenging, and eventful. As we descended from our comfortable Nepali guest house, we were met with the sound of drums, the smell of ceremonial incense, and the sight of a traditional coming-of-age celebration. Young girls in brightly colored saris adorned with gold and silver awaited a symbolic marriage ceremony as young boys prepared for the responsibilities of manhood. As a part of the ritual, animals were sacrificed to ensure favorable futures for all involved.

 

In order to experience the ancient city to its fullest extent, we were given a scavenger hunt designed to encourage us to interact with Bhaktapur’s fascinating inhabitants. Almost immediately, a young Nepali art student greeted us with boisterous curiosity and led us to his Thanka studio. He excitedly explained how the intricately painted mandalas were crafted in the same style that the Dalai Lama created generations ago. Soon after, we sought the aid of a charismatic Newari man who was able to answer many of our questions and was very persistent in helping us complete our hunt. After his daughter gave us a beautiful example of a rooster call, our stomachs lead us to a guest house restaurant where we got our first experience of “Nepal Time”. On our way back to the city’s gate, we learned that our bartering skills still need some work after we paid a tourist’s price for a small clay money pot. Though overwhelming at times, the experience provided an opportunity to practice our Nepali and get excited about the adventure ahead.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Bhaktapur Scavenger Hunt

Esme, Malena, Nick, and Renee,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Our first venture into the medieval city of Bhaktapur was surprising, challenging, and eventful. As we descended from our comfortable Nepali guest house, we were met with the sound of drums, the smell of ceremonial incense, and the sight of a traditional coming-of-age celebration. Young girls in brightly colored saris adorned with gold and silver […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Esme, Malena, Nick, and Renee

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 16647
    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Orientation has gone well here in Bhaktapur and we are all starting to feel settled in Nepal and are enjoying getting to know each other.  Besides our orientation activities here at the guest house, we’ve had a scavenger hunt, hikes to Hindu temples, a tour of Bhaktapur, and a volleyball game with students at a nearby school. 

 

We’ve made some changes to our itinerary and will be heading out of the Kathmandu Valley until March 1.  On the morning of Feb 18th (tomorrow) we will drive to Budepa and then hike to our rural village stay in Chaukati where we will stay with rural families for 5 days and learn about traditional farming practices and village life in a remote and stunning setting with the Thami community. 

 

From Chaukati we will embark on a 5 day trek to Kalinchowk.  At over 12,000ft, Kalinchowk offers stunning views of the Himalayas and is a holy mountain itself, a pilgrimage place for shamans, many of whom walk for several days arriving on the full moon to perform all night pujas.  From Kalinchowk we will return here to Bhaktapur Guest House for one night on Feb 28th before heading into Kathmandu to meet our homestay families there and settle into our routine of classes, language study and independent study projects until our monastery stay at Kopan which begins on March 29th.  

 

From February 18th until March 1 we will not have access to the internet but will be in regular contact with the office by phone.   We will share our adventures here as soon as we are able!

 

Adrian, Sweta and Claire

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Our travel plans Feb 18-28

Instructors,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Orientation has gone well here in Bhaktapur and we are all starting to feel settled in Nepal and are enjoying getting to know each other.  Besides our orientation activities here at the guest house, we’ve had a scavenger hunt, hikes to Hindu temples, a tour of Bhaktapur, and a volleyball game with students at a […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Instructors

WP_Post Object
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    [ID] => 16541
    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Hows it going?

 

Just thought I would put up a quick post before we head over!  My name is Will and I am from Louisville, KY.  I am inbetween High School and college right now and I am headed to University of Denver next fall. I enjoy pretty much any outdoor activity; Backpacking, Climbing, Snowboarding, and Mountain Biking mainly.  In the fall, I participated in another semester program, NOLS and currently work in an outdoor store in Louisville.

The Buddhist temple, as well as the trekking section, look pretty amazing!

Looking forward to meeting everyone,

 

Slick Willy J 

 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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This is going to be awesome

Will Ratterman,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hows it going?   Just thought I would put up a quick post before we head over!  My name is Will and I am from Louisville, KY.  I am inbetween High School and college right now and I am headed to University of Denver next fall. I enjoy pretty much any outdoor activity; Backpacking, Climbing, Snowboarding, […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Will Ratterman

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Dear family and friends,

 

We have recently received an update from the Himalaya team via SAT phone.  They are currently settled into their rural home-stays in Chaukati, a small Thami village located in the foothills of the Himalayas.

 

Students are all thriving in their rural home-stays, honing their Nepali language skills, getting to know their new families and sharing loads of laughter, engaging in critical dialogues and lessons on global development, service learning, cultural anthropology and comparative religion.  

 

Their days are rich and filled with adventure.  Each morning, the students all gather for a morning Nepali language class.  Then they join their families for a hearty meal of daal-bhaat, (rice, lentils, greens, and a vegetable curry).  The afternoons are spent either participating in a community-share project with the local school, in a group lesson, a guest speaker, learning village crafts, or with their families.  After an afternoon snack, there is plenty of time to wander off on a short hike and get to know the folks of Chaukati.  Evenings are spent with the families, sharing stories and meals and making sense of the exchanges that are at times awkward, at times funny, but always engaging!

 

Here in Boulder, we're in contact with the Instructor team, who will keep us updated as they wrap up their village stay and head out on their first trek to Kalinchowk.  They do not have access to internet, so stay posted for more tales of adventure when they return to Kathmandu in a few days.

 

For now, here are a few photos to give you an idea of where Team Himalaya is spending their days.

 

Namaste,

 

Japhy Dhungana

Program Director: Himalaya Semester

Risk Management Team

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Update from Chaukati Village Home-Stay

Japhy Dhungana,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Dear family and friends,   We have recently received an update from the Himalaya team via SAT phone.  They are currently settled into their rural home-stays in Chaukati, a small Thami village located in the foothills of the Himalayas.   Students are all thriving in their rural home-stays, honing their Nepali language skills, getting to […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Japhy Dhungana

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