Well, I was going to re-read my old blog posts about the month I spent in Nepal, but I can’t access them. I won’t write about why, since that’s not the point of this post, but you can read about it on my main blog.
In 2012, I had the opportunity to spend my winter break in Nepal with my then-boyfriend and his family. Though barely paying my way through college each semester, I didn’t want to let the opportunity pass, so I scrounged together all the money I could. (Thank goodness for my summer job at the library!) I managed to gather enough money for my ticket and souvenirs, as his family kindly took care of food and travel once there. So, from late December to mid-January, I lived with them in Kathmandu.
Up until then, my only experiences abroad were the two years my family lived in Canada when I was a kid, and the semester I spent in Japan. I’m a nervous traveler to this day, but I was even more anxious back then, so I was infinitely glad my boyfriend was there to help, as he had plenty of international travel experience. I plan to write posts about our flights there and back, as those are stories in and of themselves, so keep an eye out for them.
We made it to Nepal, which was my first experience outside of a first-world country. My boyfriend’s dad called it a “second-and-a-half-world country”, as it was developing. Most of the cities roads that I traveled on during my stay there were dirt roads, and between construction and poverty, I quickly learned to not care about the rocks littering the place or the trash smell that existed everywhere. His family also lived towards the edge of Kathmandu, so these things were more prominent than further into the city, I believe. I also got used to the scheduled access to electricity and was glad his family had a generator.
All in all, I didn’t do terribly many things in Nepal. I spent a number of hours over the weeks I was there walking through our part of town and shopping for souvenirs, both for myself and for my family as belated Christmas presents. I bought my dad a little Ganesh figurine, and I received a kukri (a kind of knife) from my boyfriend. Yes, I’m the girl who wants knives over shoes.
Over my stay, I bought some bracelets, the first of which I gave to my sister. I also purchased two coffee mugs, though I don’t know where those have gotten off to. (I wish I could find them because one of my goals is to collect coffee mugs from all the places I visit.)
On my first day in Kathmandu, my boyfriend’s mom took me to get a custom khurta (traditional outfit) made for me. I still have it, but it doesn’t fit too well anymore. Maybe the jump rope I got for Christmas this year will help with that.
His parents took us around the city a couple of times. We saw a marketplace that sold more beads than I could have imagined existed, let alone existed in one place. I perused a bookstore and bought a book of pictures of Nepal for my grandmother. I also scheduled an appointment at the same place for the following day so I could get henna done. It took three hours and was completely worth it. (She wrote my boyfriend’s name in the heart on the palm of my hand, but I’ve blurred it out in the picture below.)
One day, we all went on a long hike. We drove to get to the start, but I can’t remember where it was or how long it took to drive there. An hour, maybe? The hike lasted hours and was an exhausting but beautiful trek up and down hills, with gorgeous views of fields, houses, and, in the distance, the city. After our hike, we bought a traditional sweet called jeri, (or perhaps it was the less-fancy version called jilfi, both of which you can read about here). They were ridiculously sweet and syrupy, but for as long as I could stand to eat it, I enjoyed it.
Another day, my boyfriend, his mom, and I took a walk to a Hindu temple. We had seen shrines around town, but this was a bigger location. We looked at the gates, but we didn’t enter through them.
On Christmas day, four of us had massages scheduled. One of their neighbors did them professionally out of her house, so, in two shifts, we walked a couple minutes and had massages in between opening presents. It was my first real massage, and, whether foolishly or not, I got a deep-tissue massage. It was heaven, but at the same time it hurt so much. No regrets, though!
I can’t recall anything else we did then, and I have no more pictures to jog my memory, except to say that it was hot in the sun and chilly in the shade at that time of year. So, here endeth the tale. I’d like to get back to Nepal and see more of the country. Perhaps if I ever visit India, I can make a stop there.