Kathmandu, I'll Soon Be Seeing You

Kathmandu, I'll Soon Be Seeing You

My Experince As A GPE with Clinic Nepal

I can't do this. If I stand in this line any longer, I am either going to throw up or pass out. Although I feel like I have been standing in the line since the age of the dinosaurs, maybe only twenty minutes have passed before I am at the front of the line checking into myplane ride. I have flown plenty of times before, by myself, and yet I have never been so nervous as I am right now. None of the other trips were as important as this one.

On July fourth, most people are shooting off fireworks to celebrate, but I am waiting for my delayed plane to shoot me off into the sky. Thirteen hours till I land in Doha's airport and another full day till I land in Kathmandu, Nepal. Despite only being there for two weeks, at this moment, I feel like I am going to be gone for forever. My mind blanks, and even though it is 2016 (2073 in Nepal), I think that all communication to my existence in America is severed. I speak no Nepali, and I have never left the country. I look like I'm twelve and too young to be traveling alone. And at the moment,I feel that way too. Just breath.

I applied for the Global Peace Exchange chapter at BSC whenI was having a mid-mid life crisis during first semester; I had an interview in the Spring and a few weeks later, I was informed that I was chosen to be a part of GPE and would be heading to Nepal in the summer. GPE partners with Clinic Nepal, a non-profit organization, to help teach English,leadership, health, and environmentalsustainably and work on improving the different projects that Clinic Nepal has built. I love volunteering and this is an amazing opportunity. I am blessed to have this experience... if I can get over my nerves first. As I stand in the impossible line waiting for my visa, my journey has begun.

Of course Nepal is geographically another country, but I am not prepared for the culture shock that ensures; stray dogs litter the roads, sleeping away the blazing hot day while people calmly walk into chaotic traffic to cross the street. Traffic laws exist, but are ignored justlike the serving size of your favorite snack. Horns are constantly honking as a reminder that drivers are sharing the road. Did I mention that it’s hot? Because I am simply sitting in Hari and Sirjana's house in Kathmandu, yet I am sweating like I am a runner in the Marathon des Sables in the Saharan desert. This reminds me of home, I think as the hot, humid weather pays homage to Dothan, AL. Just like home. But without air conditioning. Little did I know that Nepal could actually get hotter.

The people of Nepal are really polite and nice, a reminisce of southern hospitality. Visitors are welcomed with Nepali tea and bouquets of flowers (that will later be confiscated by customs). When Anna and Annika, some German volunteers, and I were traveling to Daldale, someone on the bus always checked in with us to make sure that we understood what was going on. We always had clean, cold water to take to our rooms. Along with the other teens and kids staying at the hostel, we explored Daldale, local temples, and the birthplace of Buddha. Nepalese people were patient to explain their customs and language to us when we had questions or did not understand what was being said. Many times. I have never felt so welcomed in my life. Albeit, there is that one guy who insisted on selling me a pashmina no matter how many times I told him no. Don't let that guy ruin the country for you.

Almost as beautiful as the people are the mountains that are ever-present in the scenery. The drive to Daldale consisted of winding roads with gorgeous views of immense mountains and falling waterfalls. The climb to the waterfalls would have been hot, swarming in mosquitos, lurking with stealthy predators, but to feel the water cascade into one's hand would have been worth it. Sitting on the balcony of the hostel in the mornings, the clouds surrounded the mountains in mystery; its true height would not be revealed until later that day. In Meghauli, a ride down the river and walk in the Chitwan National Park revealed a jungle teeming with life; deer, monkeys, and exotic birds rushed around us as they scattered from the foreigners passing through their home. While riding on the back of an elephant, we got even closer to the animals and came face to face with rhinos.

Another rivaling beauty isthe countless temples built in dedication to their gods. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, is like the Epcot of Buddhism. Buddhist temples sponsored by different countries give breaks to those on their pilgrimageand are beautiful works of artfor the tourist. I mean no disrespect to Leonardo da Vinci, but Mona Lisa has nothing on the Great Lotus Temple designed by Germany. Vibrant colors fill paintings depicting the birth of Buddha and his path to enlightenment. Small carvings of animals line the inside where pictures aren't allowed. No pattern on the wall repeats. Every painting is a new one, allowing the viewer to pay tribute Buddha. In another temple, a giant Buddha rest in the center, guarded by two medium sized Buddhas, and a thousand Buddhas the size of one's hand circle the ceiling. I favor the regal Shri Lanka temple with it's cream color and shaded pond where we rested.

I got a fair amount of sight-seeing done in Nepal; however, I came to work and to learn about Clinic Nepal. I helped some with English homework and planted some of the four thousand fruit trees the Frenchvolunteers were working hard to complete. In Meghauli, Sydney, Anna, and Annikaworked alongside the French students to renovate a kindergarten. GPE volunteers from FSU mainly worked with the scout troop to teach leadership and hygiene. On our first day in Meghauli, we toured the water plantthat was providing the municipality with clean water straight to the tap after finding arsenic from the water produced by the hand pumps. Clinic Nepal is revered in Meghauli. And I revere Nepal and its people, Clinic Nepal, and the Bhandary family and friends. Clinic Nepal is working hard to provide for a people so deserving of more. Families opened their doors, willingly and lovingly, to host strangers that are almost completely ignorant of their ways. Sometimes, it seemed like I was surrounded by chaos; buildings were still damaged from the earthquake, landslides delayed our departures, and pollution muddled the air. And people thrived. Kids played futbol in the fields and jumped in the rain. Teenage girls huddled around the TV to watch their romantic drama shows. The adults watched over us if we were their own.

It's said that people come for the scenic views, and they return for the beautiful people. It's true. I hope I get to return to Nepal and continue to help expand this inspiring non-profit with the hardworking and genuine family that started it all.

Cover Image Credit: Cheyenne Trujillo

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Recently, I ended a relationship with someone that held a big deal in my life for the past few years. This heartbreak was a wake up call for me. I realized that I should not let this affect other aspects of my life. I tried different remedies to focus on myself rather than on him, which eventually worked. So here are the top three things you can do to get over a break up:

1. Remove him on every single resource

Since social media plays such a great role in today’s society, it is so easy to be reminded of your former partner. For this reason, removing him on every single platform is important. If you also see him in person, avoid him and create distance.

2. Treat yourself

Like I said previously, the main focus should be on yourself. Go outside and do what makes you happy. For example, go to the nail salon, get a massage, or go shopping. Even better, go surround yourself with people that support you, like your friends or family. You deserve to treat and respect yourself.

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This step is the hardest and will definitely take some time. You will never get over him, you will miss him time to time, and you will have the memories but do not turn back. Accept your negative emotions and let it out. Then, remind yourself that you are worth more and you will eventually find someone that treats you better.

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10 Places That Will Make Russia Your Next Vacation Destination

Explore the famous landmarks that play a vital role in Russia's history.

Russia...the underrated and often forgotten tourist destination. Places such as Italy (home to the Roman empire), France (the site of the Eiffel Tower), and England (the famous Big Ben and red telephone booths) are where millions flock to on their summer holidays. So how does some new inspiration for a vacation sound?

Picture this: Moscow, the city of golden domes visible from every street, with brick Kremlin fortress standing for almost a thousand years. St. Petersburg, the northern Venice of the former capital, home to the festival of White Nights, with the sun setting at 1 AM.

1. St. Basil's Cathedral

Built in 1555, St. Basil's is Russia's most famous church and the face of the country. Located on the Red Square in Moscow, its architecture and color scheme is unrivaled, as it was designed to resemble a flaming torch spiraling up to the sky. What makes it so unique is that it is actually nine churches in one, each chapel leading to another in a series of winding staircases and narrow hallways.

2. The Moscow Kremlin

Built at the end of the 1400s, the Moscow Kremlin serves as a fortress, surrounding five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Walls with their towers, the central one serving as a clock tower that faces the Red Square. It also serves as the official residence of Russia's president.

3. The Cathedral Square

The square of five cathedrals, the oldest one dating back to 1326, is located inside the Moscow Kremlin. The Cathedral Square has served as the site of coronations and funeral processions of all the Russian tsars of Moscow in history. Today, the inauguration ceremony of Russia's presidents take place in this famous place.

4. Moscow City


Looking for a break from a long day of touring? Head over to the modern business district of Moscow City. Home to offices, financial districts, and malls, it is home to the second tallest building in Europe and the unique spiraling Imperia Tower pictured above. The mall is the perfect place to try authentic Georgian cuisine, do some shopping and relax.

4. Palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich

Built in 1667 and located outside of Moscow in Kolomonskoye, the palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich consists of 26 buildings attached through a maze of winding corridors. Without a doubt, the inside will leave you breathless.

5. The Kremlin in Izmailovo

Built in 2007, the Izamilovo Kremlin serves as a wooden complex consisting of a church and a cultural complex, modeled after fairytale descriptions of old Russia. Here you can have a laugh in museums dedicated to bread, folk art and even vodka, and watch multiple weddings take place here in one day.

6. Peterhof

Located outside of St. Petersburg, Peterhof sits on the Gulf of Finland. Laid out on Peter the Great's Orders, it is a complex of palaces, fountains, and gardens known as "The Russian Versailles". The grounds were the king's family's summer residence as to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city during that time of year. From its endless fountains to its perfect location on the gulf, Peterhof never fails to amaze visitors.

7. The State Hermitage Museum

Located inside St. Petersburg's Winter Palace complex, the State Hermitage Museum is a museum of endless hallways consisting of everything from one of Da Vinci's paintings, historical artifacts to an Orthodox chapel as well. Bring your walking shoes and be prepared to spend several hours walking through its breathtaking beauty.

8. The Splitting of the Drawbridges

One of the most famous features of St. Petersburg is the series of the opening of the several drawbridges, the first one beginning at 1 AM. Why so late, you ask? Up north, the sun sets very late in the summer, so therefore passengers begin their boat tours at midnight and take a cruise through the city to watch the different colored bridges open up before their eyes.

9. The Catherine Palace

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Although 10 places could hardly capture the timeless and unique beauty of Russia, it gives tourists a new destination to add to their bucket list. The largest country in the world has much for its own people to explore as well.

Cover Image Credit: Personal Photo

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