Monday, November 7, 2016

Oh, Nepal.

I've always wanted to go on another solo adventure. Three years after Sri Lanka, it's time.

It was a perfect timing. Post grad, before work and masters. I thought it's good to go get lost and find myself again before entering another phase of life. Afterall I'm curious to know and to feel what've changed in me in three years time too. teehee

This time round, hello Nepal!

My family and I helped out in this fundraising event for Nepal earthquake in August, and that's how I got linked to Sangye Choeling Monastery in Nepal. 
I want to do something, hence the thought of volunteering as a language teacher. Though it was quite a last minute plan, but it seems that everything else are ready and it's just me and my indecisiveness plugging the way. You know, about jumping into an unknown swamp after sinking in ma comfort bed for so long.

I'm glad I chose the swamp.

This is Sangye Choeling Monastery. The well-managed monastery sits slightly on the hill, it's peaceful up there, away from dust and noises. 

The everyday routine here is about the same. Every morning I wake up in the chanting mantra of the monks. It's really calming and beautiful to me. Their blessings to the world echoed around the monastery from 5.30am onwards. 

At 6am I'll follow the Lama for kora, a Tibetan buddhist practice in which people circle around sacred place while praying. In our case, it's the whole Swayambhu hill area. 

 Good morning Nepal.

I enjoy going morning kora (and had never missed any! :p)
I think I catch better clues about the true colour of Nepal and its people lifestyle every early morning. The morning vendors start working, the Nepalese army start jogging, bunch of monkeys hanging around, and many other locals doing kora as well. 

Nepal is a special place

The country is poor. Poorly maintained infrastructure, and is dark most of hours due to frequent electrical blackouts. One year plus after the disastrous earthquake and many places still remain choked with rubble, cracks on the buildings, ruins by the road.

It's dusty. The locals even call it a 'dust bowl'. Dust, dust, everywhere.

But, Nepal is so rich. Culturally and naturally. It's a potpourri of many different diverse ethnicity. Though being a homegrown Malaysian diversity is not something new to me, Nepal still surprises me with its complex mix of cultures, traditions, casts and languages.

And Nepal is so clean. Or I should say, pure with the strictly followed spiritual practices.
Religion is of paramount importance in Nepal. I've talked to the locals and witnessed this with my own eyes. It's reflected in their daily routine and also culture; that if I were to recap my journey in Nepal, the most regular scenes I have in mind would be the images of people crowding the spiritual places on a daily basis, citing prayers anywhere even by the road (a lot of them), big and small god statues everywhere, and also the elderly learning to read a mantra book.


It's funny how I like this country despite constantly getting itchy nose and sticky hair due to the dust. Hahaha! I think that's what special about this place. 
It goes beyond physical liking to appreciate the country's beauty. It's more towards feeling the very rhythm/ ohm (serious i think ohm is the word to describe XD) the country has to offer. 
It's the kind of country that brings your mind calmness despite its less pleasant physical impression. Truly one of a kind.

Ahh these kids.

I got questioned how's it like to teach monks. Ahaha. 
I have 31 students in total, and they are just like normal kids, or maybe slightly more disciplined. 
I have that one and two funny kids who are always cracking jokes in class, that few really shy ones who try to avoid every single eye contact, that one who always need to borrow friend's note to copy. All kinds. 

They can understand English hence we communicate in simple English. And many funny hand gestures and face expressions. XD

 I enjoyed every class with them. Enjoyed designing learning schemes, enjoyed making extra notes. Just the thought that what they learn today will benefit their teachings in the future excites me.

These kids have different backgrounds, some are orphans, some are from very poor family.
The only thing I wish I could change would be to spend more time with them. Their schedule is packed with different languages and Buddhist knowledge classes; and when they are free from learning, you'll see them playing football soooo happily.
A tiny regret would be not being able to spend months here until they truly master Chinese speaking. But I guess it's a good start. An unanticipated but good one.

'ni chi bao le ma?'
'wo chi bao le, lao shi. Dalbat hen hao chi.'

Really different settings this time, but the kids' appreciation and improvement. Worth all the effort.


 I really like the idea of immersing myself in a new place's living. Live, ing. 体,验。


This adventure had brought me an experience I never thought I'll ever made my way into.
 Being around the greatest Lamas, learning about Buddhism, living back to basics. 
Not forgetting one of the best parts about travelling- listening interesting stories of different people around the world.
Again, reminded me that dreams are indeed there to be realized, abuden waste space in mind only hahahaha.

This journey had made me reflect a lotttt. I have new question in mind, which I have not found any answer to even now that I'm back. Heh. It's good tho. Good to feed my old soul again. Good to know myself even better now.

'The better you know yourself, the better your relationship with the rest of the world.'

I always believe in this.

How lucky I am. Forever grateful to be able to experience life in different places.

Oh Nepal, thank you. 


And to the wonderful people I met in Nepal;
Dichen, Lama Jopa, Lama Sherap, Lama Tender, Lama Wangdi, Sangye Lao Shi, Ani Tshering.
Thank you for making me feel warm in the cold weather. :')



So what have changed in these three years?

 Heheh. Nothing much, but good ones.