Nepal in Photos

Nepal in Photos, MINUS the Himalayas – those shots deserve their own post!

Most of my time in Kathmandu, I lived with the Pandeys, a Nepali host family I connected with via a British friend of a German friend. My Nepali family resides in a big brown house just outside the city, close to the famous Swoyambhu (Monkey Temple!).

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Prayer wheels at Swoyambhu.

I loved my time with the Pandeys. I really feel like I have a family in Nepal after living with them for just a month.

In line with Nepali tradition, my Aama (mother) gave me a garland of marigolds and fed me three spoonfuls of curd as I departed their home on my last day.

In line with Nepali tradition, my Aama (mother) gave me a garland of marigolds and fed me three spoonfuls of curd as I departed their home on my last day.

My host brothers and me. And why yes I AM wearing traditional Nepali clothes! My very neon Christmas gift from the Pandeys.

My host brothers (aged 16 and 12) and me. And why yes I AM wearing traditional Nepali clothes! My very neon Christmas gift from the Pandeys.

My activities at the Pandeys’ involved eating an unbelievable amount of home-cooked Nepali goodness, helping my bhaiharu (brothers) with their English, hand-washing my clothes, chatting about Nepal and America, laughing about table manners and idioms and cultural opposites, drinking countless cups of masala milk tea, and making daily excursions to explore different areas of Kathmandu Valley and beyond.

Laundry day. Aama and I would spend a few hours on the roof, she efficiently laundering the clothes of her four-person family, and I t-e-d-i-o-u-s-l-y scrubbing my few totally wrecked backpacking outfits.

Laundry day. Aama and I would spend a few hours on the roof, she efficiently laundering the clothes of her four-person family, and I t-e-d-i-o-u-s-l-y scrubbing my few totally wrecked backpacking outfits.

I am so grateful that I opted to stay with a host family in Nepal instead of in a hostel, because I feel I was able to learn so much more about Nepali culture, and also enjoy a familiar atmosphere when I came “home” every evening or after my longer excursions around the country. For the first time since I began traveling, my days became somewhat predictable. I knew what to expect in the evenings; I knew where I would sleep every night; I knew what the food was like and didn’t have to worry about making it myself. I got to know the family dynamic and the flow of the days in their home. Though the structure that existed in my new home was at times a challenge after deciding my own time for months, it was also welcomed, as it allowed me to feel “at home” and a bit settled for the first time since August.

I found plenty of ways to occupy myself around KTM Valley. I visited numerous Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas, monasteries and abbeys, the botanical gardens, a Buddhist full moon festival, a classical Nepali concert, and several famous medieval city squares boasting beautiful and ancient spiritual structures and statues. I learned how to eat all my meals with my right hand, how to jump on and off a moving bus (or tempo or van), how to say a few key Nepali phrases, and how to haggle for jewelry and yak wool shawls like a pro (just walk away…just walk away). I reveled in being in such a dynamic setting once again, surrounded by warm-hearted people and extreme cultural and religious diversity, keeping every moment interesting as I worked to navigate my way through this totally new and foreign part of the world.

And now, too many photos!

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