Two nights ago we arrived in Dhulikhel where we stayed in bungaloes overlooking the hills and the valleys. We still could not see the snow-capped mountains. On our deck we were star gazing and I swear I could not tell where the sky met the land. All I saw was darkness with random lights spread out across the distance. These lights were either stars or lights in a village or home. It was hard to distinguish. At 4:30 in the morning we were awoken my a knock at our door saying, “The mountains are out.” I hurried out of bed to witness these Himalayas. Sure enough way off into the distance we could see “the mountains.” They did sort of look like clouds because they peaked out from behind the hills and showed off their snow. They are really contrasted against the hills because they hills are full of life. There are trees and plants and homes and villages and gardens and roads. The mountains are made of rock and hold snow at their peak. We have yet to see Mount Everest though.
You can’t see the mountains during the day because of the clouds and the sun’s position. That is why we were woken up before sunrise and we stayed up until the sun did rise. It was beautiful. I don’t think I have ever watched a sun actually rise, especially above the Himalayan mountains. We get excited if at random points of the day we catch a glimpse of the mountains. We hiked yesterday to the top of one of the hills to the Shiva temple. We saw a Brahman guru. There was a tower at the top of the hill that we also climbed. From there you can imagine was an even better view of the valley and we did catch a glimpse of the mountains, and they weren’t clouds! It was extraordinary. I have never wished for the power to fly so badly before. I would fly through the valleys all day. I truly keep asking if this is real life. The hike yesterday was one of my favorite activities thus far. I was proud everyone accomplished this hike. It WAS rough. I ran up the hill at one point and our trek guide raced me. He totally kicked my butt, but I was still proud to run! I had so much energy, but I swear I am NOT on crack. However, today Escoto asked me once more, “Can I pleeease have what you’re on?” He doesn’t understand it’s nothing tangible..
My only fear prior to this trip was that I was traveling with 10 other girls. If you know me you probably know I do not like being surrounded by a lot of people, let alone girls. This has turned out to totally not be a problem. I’ve been told by other students who have done similar class trips that you become a family with the people you are traveling with. I can attest to that. We have had so much fun. Even if we weren’t getting physical exercise from the trillion steps we walk up and the hiking and the heat, I would be getting the exercise in my core from laughing. It almost never ends!
We have been overstimulated by Buddha. This morning we climbed 600 steps up a hill to see a statue of Buddha. Other than this statue he is everywhere. His eyes will randomly be on a wall or on top of a tower. His mini statues and his head are sold in every other vendor’s station. We have seen several temples, too. Today we visited the Swayambhunath Temple, aka the Monkey Temple! Yeah I fed monkeys today. I watched them swim. I watched them fight for food. I watched them hug and care for their young. I saw them stare into my face like “What are you looking at?” I even saw them mate..
I am in love with milk coffee. I am gonna figure out how I can make it at home. Maybe with a French press? They boil the milk to make the coffee and I don’t know what else they do but it is GOOD. There is no water involved. Or at least I don’t think there is..I look forward to breakfast every morning. Although I have been sweet deprived. So the other day I asked Loxman, do you eat chocolate here? He said yes and then bought everyone chocolate. I ate a Kit Kat and some chocolate chewy caramel thing.
I’ve totally written a novel now and haven’t even gotten to talk about the clinics and hospitals we’ve visited. This is the sad, reality check, eye-opening, this-shit-is-real life part that leaves me with a feeling I don’t particularly like. However, the fact that these different clinics and hospitals and shelters are up and running are terrific and a giant step in the right direction. Then I compare to what we have in America and I don’t like that feeling. Today I questioned my future and considering dropping everything and moving to a nation such as this, then I realized that would be stupid. The thought only lasted 15 seconds but I made sense of it and why I would never do that. I have the opportunity, all the opportunities, to become the most productive member of society. We all do, and by we I mean you and I. So then I ask myself what I can do that will produce the most beneficial results. I could donate money, but how much? I’m broke college kid..I could donate time, but I have got a future in mind I’d like to get started soon..so what else can I do? I keep asking myself that question over and over. I know some options, I don’t know the answer. It’s hard to accept that we can’t save the world. I knew this before, but I’ve never seen anything like this with my own eyes.
This post is balanced between the terrific time I am having and the emotional experiences as well. My experience is not this balanced though. I am having the best time of my life and the things I see that make me sad are really for the positive as well. It’s motivation. It’s knowing we can do something. It’s still all taking part in a beautiful country! I am so fricken happy and doped up on my own energy.