Kathmandu, I'll Soon Be Seeing You

Kathmandu, I'll Soon Be Seeing You

My Experince As A GPE with Clinic Nepal
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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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5 Places To Stay Near Ohio University

Graduation is approaching, book your hotels now!
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As graduation approaches, many will be traveling to Athens, Ohio to see their favorite Bobcat receive their diploma. There are plenty of options for the celebration following the ceremony, from mom-and-pop diners to the famous bar stretch. Find the perfect place to relax and refresh using this guide!

Here are the five best places to stay in Athens, Ohio:

As graduation approaches, many will be traveling to Athens, Ohio to see their favorite Bobcat receive their diploma. There are plenty of options for the celebration following the ceremony, from mom-and-pop diners to the famous bar stretch.Here are the five best places to stay in Athens, Ohio:

1. Hampton Inn

12 minutes away from the university, the Hampton Inn has free breakfast and a pool.

2. Ohio University Inn and Conference Center

The OU Inn is located on campus and offers pet-friendly rooms. There are two restaurants inside.

3. Baymont Inn & Suites

A great value, Baymont is an AAA-approved hotel with free breakfast and pool and is only 7 minutes away from downtown Athens. Cribs are available upon request.

4. Holiday Inn Express

The Holiday Inn offers a pool, fitness room, free breakfast, and is 9 minutes away from OU.

5. Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott

11 minutes away from the university, Fairfield Inn has an exercise room, pool, outdoor patio, and free breakfast. Seniors over 62 years and older can save up to 15% on their stay.

Regardless of where you spend your downtime, Athens, Ohio is a great place to be. Enjoy celebrating with your favorite Bobcat!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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11 Places My Fiancé And I Can't Wait To Visit

We decided to make a list of places to visit that'll satisfy both of our cravings for travel.​
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I have always loved the idea of traveling. I’ve been to Peru, Germany, and Austria. I haven’t been to many places in the U.S. My fiancé, on the other hand, has traveled to various states in the U.S., but has never traveled outside the country. We decided to make a list of places to visit that'll satisfy both of our cravings for travel.

I grew up in Naples, Florida and I’ve only traveled a few times in my life. I always loved long drives and trips to places I’d never seen before. About two years ago, I was given the opportunity to travel to Austria and Germany with FGCU professors and students. It was the best experience of my life. That trip only fueled my ambition even more to travel. Once Tyler and I met, we found that we both had the same attitude about traveling. We have made a few road trips to places in and around Florida, but we’re really hoping to travel further over the next few years.

The U.S.

1. Manhattan, New York

I know, I know, it’s a bit of a cliché, but I was born here. I believe everyone should visit New York at least once in their life. There’s a certain energy in New York that is unlike any other.

2. Long Beach, California

Along with our love of travel, we also have an interest in paranormal and eerie ghost stories. The Queen Mary is a haunted hotel ship that is located in Long Beach that has a reputation for being particularly paranormally active. Why wouldn’t we want to experience some scary stuff in our hotel room, right?

3. Essex, Vermont

This beautiful northeast city is home to The Essex, Vermont Culinary Resort. A cozy little lodge full of fresh air, beautiful room, and breathtaking scenery. Did I mention we’re also obsessed with staying in hotels?

4. Seattle, Washington

We hope to live here one day, so visiting the rainy city would probably be a good idea. Dale Chihuly, a world-renowned blown-glass artist, has an unimaginable talent that he showcases at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. The museum is full of his artwork that can also be found at Artis Naples. A great little piece of home to take with me.

5. Salem, Massachusetts

Another spooky addition to the list, Salem is known for the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century. It’s also full of beautiful landscapes and gorgeous changing leaves in the fall.

6. Portland, Oregon

Rumored to be one of the friendliest cities in the world, Portland is an art-filled gem with hole-in-the-wall restaurants, coffeehouses, and microbreweries. Needless to say, it’s a traveling must.

Europe

7. Leipzig, Germany


A smaller version of Berlin, this quaint city has the perfect combination of history and modernity. The nightlife is sophisticated and perfect if you’re looking for a quiet outing.

8. Gothenburg, Sweden

Full of art and history museums, Gothenburg is a beautiful Swedish state that can be a great alternative to the tourist-heavy Stockholm.

9. London, England

This is another cliché, but it’s London. Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in England, London contains Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the River Thames. Beautiful places to visit while on vacation, or "on holiday" as they would say.

10. Bruges, Belgium

This adorable medieval town in Belgium contains gorgeous religious structures that have stood the test of time. Though it's small, it is full of European history!

11. Salzburg, Austria

The hills are alive! Salzburg, Austria is full of history, starting with the Hohensalzburg Castle (pictured above). This 11th-century fortress sits on a large hill that overlooks the snow-capped Alps and the entire town. This is a worthy vacation spot that will leave anyone mesmerized.

Take some time to make your own list. Travel to the first place that pops into your head. Why not? Every new discovery contributes to a chapter in your life. Be ambitious!

Cover Image Credit: Carla Viera

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