First Impressions of Nepal

It is nearly impossible to describe how wonderful my first week in Nepal has been…

At JFK airport, before departing for Doha, Qatar, en route to Kathmandu, Ben and I met a Havard graduate human rights lawyer named Connor, who had previously spent a few months in Kathmandu. He described Kathamndu as a city containing some sort of “magic.” Connor’s use of the word “magic” intrigued me and I became curious to discover what Kathmandu’s “magic” really was. Now, having spent a week in Kathmandu, I can say that the “magic” is real.

Nepal contains so much natural beauty as well as the friendliest and most hospitable people. Every day on my walk to the Seto Gompa Monastery, where I am taking classes in Buddhist studies and the Nepali language, I have sensed a strong community. People are far more connected with each other in Kathmandu, compared to any other city I have visited in the West. As I have learned from my Buddhist Khenpo Guru, the word “connected” means something slightly different in the East than in the West. In the West, we often use the word “connected” to refer to someone you are friends with on social media or someone you know. In the East, specifically Nepal, the word “connected” means that people are in habitual communication with each other, seeking deeper interpersonal relationships. This connectedness is reflected by the strong presence of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions in Kathmandu. The streets are decorated with Himalayan prayer flags, and people walk around reciting prayers and playing music. You can find a Hindu temple on the corner of almost every street! This has been something truly magnificent to take part in. I find that in the West, religion is often limited to Sunday mass, specific times of the day, or annual holidays. In Hinduism, there are festivals almost every week- I have already been to two! Here in Nepal, it is easy to understand how religion is a living tradition rather than a written tradition.

Here is a photo of the 5am Yoga squad in Boudha, Kathmandu. I never imagined myself waking up at 4:30am to go to Yoga, but I really enjoyed it!

It still feels surreal that I am in Kathmandu. It has been my dream ever since I was a little boy to travel to Nepal and one day climb Mount Everest. I have already fulfilled one of those dreams thanks to many people in my life that have supported me. The other dream, Mount Everest, I am not so sure I will ever attempt. Although, at the climbing gym I have made friends with some Sherpas, who have done Everest multiple times…

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