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Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.~Maya Angelou

During our midcourse, we stayed in the Tibetan Buddhist suburb of Kathmandu where we took time to reflect, relax and appreciate each other. We posed three questions to our students and their answers are shared anonymously here.

1. One thing I have learned so far...

To allow myself to accept what is, relax and be self reliant.

The ways of being alive and perceptions of success and happiness in the US place incredible limits on a person’s life.

That I love learning. So much.

The universe is continuously converging into every present moment.

No matter how intense or special an experience is, the most important bit is sharing it with other people.

How many ways there are to live a life and become encouraged to take control of my future and forge my own path, even if it looks different from those of most people where I am from.

How impermanent everything is.

The world and human nature and how little I know of it and how much it fascinates me.

People are more socially aware than I previously thought. You don’t need to have had extensive background in therapy to talk about deep topics.

We all have so much more in common just as human beings that I ever could have imagined.

 Life is too short to live as someone else’s idea.

2. Are there any ways your perspectives or thoughts have changed? How?

My mind has switched from a consumption mode to a mode of more genuine curiosity and a thirst to see more.

My thoughts on the definition of “Third World Country” have radically changed. Nepal, being a “third world country” is so much different than what I imagined.

Understanding that time is transient and infinite has made me want to appreciate and enjoy every present moment exactly how it is.

I am wholeheartedly responsible for my experience and the direction my life goes towards. Only through moulding my perspective can any meaningful change occur.

I think my outlook on life is significantly more positive.

I realized the concept of “development” is biased and makes assumptions about what progress means. How different would the world be if we were trying to progress towards being more human instead of somehow less?

My life is not something to be quantified and defined. My life is something to be lived only.

My perspectives on many things like success, where I’m headed and what I’m looking for. Learned the world is bigger than what I know. Learned to accept the coincidences of the world.

Being in a country whose religion and spirituality are so at the forefront has opened me up to them and peaked my curiosity about the role religion and spirituality will play in my life.

You need far less than you think, we each have a narrative we see the world through but it’s important to challenge that.

They’ve changed

deconstructed, rearranged

been shattered

beaten, battered

But what’s left behind really matters

my mind and my heart

break apart

more and more times

fragile, criss-crossed with lines

of piercing glass together again

so beautiful at the end

more delicate, full of love

And even when I’m apart, I’m at one,

3. Who is someone who has influenced your trip so far?

My homestay mother has influenced my experience so much;m although we could not communicate verbally as much as I would have liked, I realized how much louder actions speak than words ever could. Her kindness and caring shone through every interaction we had. So much brighter than she could have expressed with language

My ISP mentor.

My host brother has heavily impacted my experience in Nepal in a positive way. He has shown me what maturity really means.

My ISP mentor influenced my experience so much because I didn’t know how I could become so close with someone in a foreign country knowing only basic language skills.

Nathaniel-in one moment he makes an effort to be as silly as possible and in the next we have a conversation so beautiful I am moved to tears. He has redefined balancing serious and deeply seeking attitudes.

Jeff, nice.

My ISP mentor has influenced my experience thus far. His belief in me/my abilities has propelled me forward and given me belief in myself.

My sister for her always upbeat, humble and giving nature.

Lincoln has played a large role in pulling me in to ask the big questions, something I love to do but often don’t allow enough time to pursue.

The members of the Yoga Philosophy class have brought to life complex spiritual teachings and shown that just attempting to ask life’s big questions is already a remarkable way to begin answering them.

My 11 travel partners and 4 instructors have made this experiences as beautiful as it had been. Can’t imagine it with other people.

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The World is Bigger Than I Know

Students of Himalaya B,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.~Maya Angelou During our midcourse, we stayed in the Tibetan Buddhist suburb of Kathmandu where we took time to reflect, relax […]

Posted On

03/28/17

Author

Students of Himalaya B

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    [post_content] => Notes from our ISP on Yoga on chakras.
    [post_title] => Chakra Chart: Notes From My ISP Mentor
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Chakra Chart: Notes From My ISP Mentor

Amelia,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

Notes from our ISP on Yoga on chakras.

Posted On

03/19/17

Author

Amelia

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    [post_content] => if you asked me about nepal, i honestly wouldn't know how to begin to answer. words feel like a poor and inadequate medium. maybe a spontaneous dance or throwing paint powder everywhere like holi would come closer to it. recently, i've realized through conversations with my wonderful sangha members just how much language constructs (and limits) thought. for instance, jeff-dai told us that mayan language does not have the word "to be" in its lexicon. mayans "belong to" and "carry" things, but they don't have to "be" anything. how freeing that concept seems! it is difficult in english to formulate sentences without anything "being" something.

and so, i've decided to just write some thoughts i've had over the past month here as i have experienced them - randomly and helter-skelter, like nepali traffic.

there is a closeness and connectedness to the city, so different from home, where everyone seems very alone, as if perpetually in their own cubicle, their own car on their daily commute. here, people sit right next to you on the bus instead of seeking a seat by themselves first. everyday, i pass by a shop that hasn't opened yet. first it was empty and they were sanding and then they were drilling and now smooth shelves line the walls and soon in another month it will be fully stocked, another tourist store on a street full of tourist stores, but i am glad to have been able to watch its beginning.

we so rarely think about the beginnings of things, the hands that watered the plants on our plates when they were still in the ground, the ancient grandmothers who gave birth again and again to humanity, whose names we will never know but whose faces or voices or expressive gestures are woven in us, like strands of hair fallen and knitted into baby blankets.

the affection of people who were so recently strangers to me amazes me. my host grandmother, who has passed one thousand full moons and has long white hair, who lets me try to help in the kitchen (definitely for my own inept benefit and not her own), to whom i have more often than not felt like a nuisance, asked me last night when i would be coming back to nepal. i have rarely felt so touched.

i have felt all the usual emotions that people feel since being here, but also an all-pervading sense of joy without a particular beginning that i can't really explain. it's not because life is somehow materially different, although in some ways, it is. it's not because travel can make you happy; the idea that anything can make you happy seems more and more to me like a sort of consumerism. i think it's from feeling-realizing how amazing it is to be alive, that life is an event unto itself.

usually, we experience our bodies (and life as general) as gross, profane physical matter. but they are also the stuff of stars.

and perhaps that is the work. not to find an audience with god at some faraway mystical temple - indeed not to find anything at all - but rather to remember that life is a miracle, as fully and often as you can. maybe that is the divine we're all looking for.

it's like the universe plays an incessant symphony which we become so used to existing that we hardly hear at all, and the universe doesn't mind. it isn't performing for us at all, it's just moving and somehow we experience it as music. and all of a sudden in a random moment, we wake up and realize we are listening eternally to the most beautiful thing we have ever heard.

and how can we express this? this remembering? if we jump and sing and yell and spin and spin and spin like whirling dervishes will that explain it all, express every last bit?

i am not sure, but i do know that we can try.
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Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

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an uncollection of thoughts

Tori W.,Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

if you asked me about nepal, i honestly wouldn’t know how to begin to answer. words feel like a poor and inadequate medium. maybe a spontaneous dance or throwing paint powder everywhere like holi would come closer to it. recently, i’ve realized through conversations with my wonderful sangha members just how much language constructs (and […]

Posted On

03/18/17

Author

Tori W.

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-18 08:29:03
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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing-Helen Keller

Hello friends and family of Himalaya B,

As our time in our Patan homestays comes to an end it’s time to say goodbye to the wonderful families that have taken us in and finish up our ISPs. Next week we will leave the cities of Kathmandu and Patan and begin to head out and explore more of Nepal. This is exciting and also means that we will be more out of touch during the next six weeks of the course. What does this look like? You may have been in touch with your student through their local phone but students will NOT be taking these phones with them once we leave the Patan homestays. The students will rarely if ever have access to email once we leave the Kathmandu valley. Here is our itinerary for the rest of our course:

March 20, 21: Midcourse in Bouda-We move to another suburb of Kathmandu settled by Tibetan refugees to reflect on the first half of our course and set intentions for the second half.

March 22-27: Retreat at Namobuddha-We move to a monestary outside of Kathmandu. Here we will study Buddhist teachings, practice meditation and share our daily meals with the monks.

March 28: We will return to Kathmandu for one day to get our trekking gear and have a group sleepover at the program house. This will likely be the last time students have access to email until we return to the Kathmandu valley at the end of the program.

March 29-April 7: Village homestay at Chokati in the Dholaka District. We will practice our Nepali and help the families with their daily chores. In addition we will help rebuilding a school wall that collapsed in the 2015 earthquake.

April 8-April 24: We will walk out of Chokati and begin our trek into the Rolwaling Valley. We will hike up this valley to a glacial lake.

April 25-30: We will travel back to the Kathmandu valley for four days of reflection and celebration before the students fly home. Students will have at least one day during this time where they will have access to email.

*Communications Note* Students will not have access to email during our monastery retreat. Once we leave the Kathmandu valley on March 29 students will have NO access to email or other forms of communication until our return on April 25th.

The instructors will continue to be in communication with the office and will do our best to post semi-regular updates and hopefully a few pictures of the group. When we return to Kathmandu at the end of April we will be able to share more student writing and pictures with you.

Thank you,

Instructor Team

 

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Itinerary and Communication Update

Instructor Team,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing-Helen Keller Hello friends and family of Himalaya B, As our time in our Patan homestays comes to an end it’s time to say goodbye to the wonderful families that have taken us in and finish up our ISPs. Next week we will leave the cities of Kathmandu […]

Posted On

03/18/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-18 08:13:01
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Sundays mean one thing to me: Student-led Expeditions. Students-led expeditions are excursions organized by groups to different parts of Kathmandu valley. Some of my favorite memories thus far have come from these excursions for the simple reason that we usually have no idea what to expect. The unpredictability of the outings, however, is what makes them so fun and interesting.

 This past Sunday, March 5th,we did a day hike in Shivapuri National park. What we expected to be a 2 hour hike up, the hill took us about 4 hours to do. Our miscalculation in time led us to not be able to eat lunch. About halfway up we stopped and discussed on whether we should go down and eat lunch or fight our way to the top. We chose to keep on, and I'm glad we did because the view from the top of the hill was unparallel to anything  I'd seen before. We were able to witness Kathmandu valley in all its glory. After some meditation and talking we made our way down the hill, to some much needed dinner.

        The hike opened my eyes: If I'm mesmerized by the view of a simple hill, what can I expect to witness/feel on our 18 day trek? I really can't wait to find out.

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SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

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Experiences

Alfredo Perez,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

Sundays mean one thing to me: Student-led Expeditions. Students-led expeditions are excursions organized by groups to different parts of Kathmandu valley. Some of my favorite memories thus far have come from these excursions for the simple reason that we usually have no idea what to expect. The unpredictability of the outings, however, is what makes […]

Posted On

03/18/17

Author

Alfredo Perez

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    [post_title] => A Drawing Inspired by the Art and Architecture of Patan
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SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

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A Drawing Inspired by the Art and Architecture of Patan

Amelia Margolis,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

Posted On

03/14/17

Author

Amelia Margolis

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-13 00:27:59
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    [post_content] => Searching for comfort in a completely different environment. Children riding on the front of motorcycles. Cows wandering the busy streets of Patan. Squatting over tiny holes in the ground. Eating new and different foods. Overcoming the discomforts of the low poop scale numbers. Eating Dal Bat for every meal. Integrating into your home stay families lives. Motorcycles brushing your shoulders in the streets. School children gawking at the foreigner. Wiping your plate every time you eat. Purifying every glass of water you drink. Haggling for the best prices. Breaking the language barrier. Saying "Namaste" to strangers that turned to friends. Making connections. Becoming regulars at a local coffee shop. Calling your home stay house "home". Learning to cook with your home stay mom. Waking up at 5 to visit multiple temples with your dad. Learning new things. Discovering hidden treasures in the depths of yourself. Dreading the goodbyes.  Finding Peace in the unknown. A new comfortable.

 

 
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SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

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A New Comfortable

Madi King,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

Searching for comfort in a completely different environment. Children riding on the front of motorcycles. Cows wandering the busy streets of Patan. Squatting over tiny holes in the ground. Eating new and different foods. Overcoming the discomforts of the low poop scale numbers. Eating Dal Bat for every meal. Integrating into your home stay families […]

Posted On

03/13/17

Author

Madi King

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-13 00:24:44
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    [post_content] => Holi is a Hindu festival of colors that celebrates the coming of spring and a mythical triumph of good over evil. Our group spent the morning celebrating Holi by throwing colored powder and water on each other. In the afternoon, they came to the Program House to make momos (Tibetan dumplings) and watch a movie.
    [post_title] => Holi: festival of colors!
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Holi: festival of colors!

Instructor Team,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

Holi is a Hindu festival of colors that celebrates the coming of spring and a mythical triumph of good over evil. Our group spent the morning celebrating Holi by throwing colored powder and water on each other. In the afternoon, they came to the Program House to make momos (Tibetan dumplings) and watch a movie.

Posted On

03/13/17

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_content] => So, we’ve been in Nepal for almost a month, and I’m definitely adjusting to a new normal. The squat toilets are still a pain in my ass, literally, and it’s taken some adjusting to navigate my way around Patan. Hearing that what you’re buying is 500 rupees sound like so much but it’s really only $5.00 in the US. It’s a new normal to haggle my way away from the more expensive tourist price I’m charged because I don’t speak fluent Nepali. Unfortunately, it’s not a new normal for me to be away from home for a long time, but I’m finding it even harder to be on the other side of the world for 3 months than to be in Montana for 18 months. After adjusting to my new normal at home after leaving Montana for just 6 weeks, I wasn’t ready to leave so soon. However, now I’m in Nepal for 2 more months and I have to make the best of it. Yesterday I heard that most people are depressed because they are living in the past, they are anxious because they are living in the future, and content because they are living in the present. My new normal will be living contently in both Nepal and the present. To everyone at home, I love and miss you and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you in 2 months. Namaste...
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SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

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A New Normal

Sam Wortman,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

So, we’ve been in Nepal for almost a month, and I’m definitely adjusting to a new normal. The squat toilets are still a pain in my ass, literally, and it’s taken some adjusting to navigate my way around Patan. Hearing that what you’re buying is 500 rupees sound like so much but it’s really only […]

Posted On

03/10/17

Author

Sam Wortman

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    [post_date] => 2017-03-09 21:23:31
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    [post_content] => To get to the studio of the Pauhba painter, you have to climb up two ladders. It is not a house built for tall people, Oliva warns me, as we climb up to the small room at the top of the multi-story building. It is here that Olivia spends many hours each days studying Paubha painting, a Newari Buddhist tradition of painting gods and goddesses that dates back to the 7th century. Oliva decided to study Paubha painting because she enjoyed fine arts and painting at home and wanted to learn a new type. She was interested by its use of Buddhist ideology and enjoys doing the intricate designs that make the painting type so challenging to learn. Some students may be daunted by doing such tedious work but Oliva enjoys it!

 

A typical day sees Olivia working at least a few hours on her painting. She also talks with her mentor about the gods and goddesses she sees in the paintings and his own art. Sometimes her mentor takes her to his other workshop where she can spend time with his other students. Olivia says that the time passes fast when she is painting, she will sit down and the next time she looks at her watch it is 3 hours later.

 

Olivia says she will definitely keep doing this painting when she comes home. Her mentor has given her so much confidence; he says that she is the best student he has ever had. She believes that she was destined to come to Nepal to learn this art.
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View post

Independent Study Projects-Paubha Painting

Instructors,SPRING: HIMALAYAN STUDIES B

Description

To get to the studio of the Pauhba painter, you have to climb up two ladders. It is not a house built for tall people, Oliva warns me, as we climb up to the small room at the top of the multi-story building. It is here that Olivia spends many hours each days studying Paubha […]

Posted On

03/9/17

Author

Instructors

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