Today it’s Monday, meaning the first week of studies has finished. What a mind-blowing week it has been! We are 18 students with very different backgrounds but with two important things in common, a love for travelling and a sense for humor, this of course includes our loving study leaders, Elida and Samrat.
Last Sunday was our first meeting, it was a quick one since most of us were jetlagged and already blown away with the simple sudden change of being in this vibrant city. Elida and Samrat created a calm and kind atmosphere in the group from day one, so the dynamic between us all became friendly and joyful surprisingly fast (I seriously feel like we’re a group of friends travelling together).
We dived into the studies on Monday morning at Sarasvati campus. The campus itself is a full on cultural experience, some corridors are dark and cold, benches hard and the classrooms have charcoal boards for lecturers to write their knowledge. We are lucky enough to get on of the modern classrooms with cushions on our seats.
Anyways, as we arrived we participated in a ceremony involving a statue of the goddess of creation, Sarasvati, together with the principle of the school.
Then Samrat (one of our study-leaders) held our introduction to peace and conflict, it caught my attention from the first sentence he spoke! I was so glad to already feel that I’d chosen the right program.
In the evening, we had our Welcome dinner at a very nice restaurant, the buffet was incredible! Nepali food is really something special… they use a lot of coriander, chili and ginger which makes everything taste so much better (this is of course personal, the amount of spices used can shock a lot of Scandinavian tongues as well).
We played a game of writing a poem together that night, funny enough it ended up being a lot of notes about peace and love!
The week continued with interesting lectures and conversations with all the new faces. Some of us enrolled ourselves to a daily practice at the Pranayama yoga studio, went climbing with our new classmate Kristian, read our articles, visited stupas, had good discussions in the engaging lectures and before we knew it was time for a visit at the Norwegian embassy.
The visit to the Norwegian embassy was very inspiring! We got a presentation of Nepal from the Norwegian diplomat Caroline who, besides from patiently explaining the current situation of the country, also happened to be a great source of inspiration to follow your heart and instinct to live a fulfilling life. To us (me and Malin) she is a very humble and helpful person eager to connect students with interesting people. After the presentation, we mingled and ate waffles with the whole embassy, I’ve never mingled with so many diplomats before (including the ambassador!).
As the week moved towards the weekend me and Malin felt a bit tired… so we decided to take it easy for our days off. Nearly the whole rest of the group had a long and fun Friday night exploring Thamel’s nightlife, while we slept like babies before 10.
On Saturday, we did a small road-trip around Kathmandu, visiting our local friend’s farm, a huge veggie market and an aid organization called BAS that I previously worked with.
On Sunday, we met up with Caroline from the Norwegian embassy and had a healthy organic lunch at Gaia restaurant in Thamel. We had conversations that stretched from Thamel to the cosmos…
After that we met up with almost all the other students and walked 300 steps up one of the hills around the city, so we could watch the sun set from the ancient monkey temple.
Our Sunday finished with a spontaneous dinner at Phat Khat (momos for everyone) were we met a young man who did henna tattoos on nearly all of us. Then we quite spontaneously ended up at a karaoke bar, I don’t believe we need to say more.
This week we’re looking forward to a visit at the UN women department in Kathmandu and another one to the aid organization BAS, amongst other interesting visits. On Friday Henriette, another Norwegian student, will bring us to “Mountain people” connecting us with children in Kathmandu in their after-school program.
Finally… on Saturday morning, we’ll all be on a bus heading towards Pokhara for our 8 week stay in the mountains.