Sarah Marchand- Namaste

In Nepal, you use the word “namaste” as a hello and as a goodbye. That is kind of how I feel about this whole trip. I logged in hours ago to post my final comments but instead got completely lost in the posts of my classmates which I had failed to read during the trip. The posts were so vivid, funny and insightful. They took me right back to the trip, I laughed out loud at some parts and felt teary eyed at others. It’s safe to say this trip was life changing for all of us.

We got to visit arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world and in the process truly bonded with our travel companions, professors and hosts. I felt so incredibly close to the people I traveled with, we had the time of our lives and learned a lot. For me, this trip cemented my dream of one day working in a health field with children. In Pokhara we visited the psychiatric ward of a well known teaching hospital. While many of my classmates were very interested in this field, I found myself craning my neck to try to catch a glimpse of the pediatric ward. We later visited an orphanage (more like a group/foster home) and once again I found myself intrigued by the well being of the children. As we made the six hour ride back to Kathmandu, I stared out the window at the beautiful countryside and daydreamed about returning to Nepal as some type of medical volunteer after college.

Aside from pointing me in the right direction career wise, this trip has helped me grow as a person. Today I was rushing to make it to a summer class that I’ve already missed the first week of (I walked into the wrong classroom… a drug and alcohol recovery class oops) and was feeling myself getting worked up about the situation. But then I thought of “Nepalese time” and put everything back into perspective. I feel like I now understand that there is so much more out there that drives people and makes them happy. We go through our days rushing and stressing about crossing off all of the points on our to-do lists while somewhere else in the world there are people who actually take time to enjoy themselves and those they love instead of always trying to get ahead. I went out to breakfast with my parents the day in Watch Hill after I returned home and couldn’t help but staring at those around me, thinking of what privileged lives they live on one hand, but how on the other hand they are missing out on so much more. In Nepal, happiness means so much more than what we understand it to be.

I hope and believe that this trip has opened up many doors for me. This summer I vowed to eat out less and shop less (we’ll see) so that I can save up for my next big trip. I want to see more of the world and at some point I NEED to go back to Nepal. Maybe I’ll even do some traveling with some of the girls!  So Namaste it is, not goodbye or hello, but like one of my classmates commented earlier, more of a see you again.

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