I arrived two days ago and tomorrow is the first meeting with the entire entourage of Kulturstudier, including all the new students that are currently dropping in at different times to the small but charming airport of Kathmandu. I took a flight from Nairobi, Kenya, this Wednesday night, after almost 3 intense months of backpacking around the African continent in between my two semesters with Kulturstudier. What an adventure it’s been so far!
I finished the course of “global environmental studies” in Ghana in November, with a new group of friends and a package of knowledge that wouldn’t have been possible without the combination of an enormous culture shock and challenging field studies. But enough about that, would you like to know what Nepal is like?
I’ve been to this magical little country before, around 4 years ago I stepped of the plane from Australia to go on a volunteer adventure that would keep me within Nepal’s border for 3 months.
It’s nice when you come back to a place that you already know, I confidently walked up to the visa desk and wasn’t worried about entering or the intensity that I knew was waiting outside of the airport doors. It was almost a comfort-zone to me. Luckily, I had a friend picking me up outside so before I knew it we were on the highway heading for the centre of town. Talking about the past years, the earthquake and the current political state we rolled past motorcycles, sari’s and temples with paintings of big eyes and colourful praying flags.
I was brought to my friend’s new house and greeted by his wonderful family. We ate dahl (Nepali food consisting of rice, beans and spinach) and laughed about our travel stories and memories. I was tired from the flight, so then followed an early night. The morning after I woke up, had chai, walked up to the rooftop to do morning yoga amongst the clouds of a city that is just waking up and then I headed in for Thamel, the central area for entertainment in Kathmandu.
I walked the old streets trying to remember the way to my favourite cafes and restaurants… the buzz, the smells, the same music, it made me smile and wobble my head.
In the afternoon, I met up with Monica, who’d also arrived a few days before the course was about to start.
We went to the “Phat Khat” to eat some momo’s (Nepali kind of dumplings with anything you wish to fill them with) and get to know one another. Monica was a student from Norway with a past of surfing and a life in Brazil, she’d studied with Kulturstudier two times before (just like me), in Nicaragua and Argentina. Imagine my surprise when she spoke Portuguese!
As I’m writing this it’s Saturday, it’s very sunny kind of spring in the air and I’m meeting up with Monica again to buy some falafel from OR2K and eat it in the peaceful park of “Garden of Dreams” in Thamel. Me and Rekha (my Nepali friend who I live with) are going into town asap.
Tomorrow I’m going to pick up my other friend Malin (who I studied with in Ghana) who’s flying in from snowy Sweden. She’ll arrive in the morning, then we’ll get her settled in the house where we’ll be staying for the two introduction weeks in the capital.
After that around 4PM we’ll walk to Thamel and the hotel were all the students are staying for the first official meeting.