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Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Traveling and Homeschooling in Nepal: Familiarity in the Unknown

By
Arriving in Kathmandu—InCultureParent.com (c) Chandra Easton

We arrived in Kathmandu in the afternoon, our bags stuck back in Delhi where we had a quick layover on our way north from Bangkok. When we exited the Kathmandu airport, I was caught off guard by feelings of familiarity, not because I had been here before, but because the air, light and sights all reminded me of when I lived in Dharamsala, North India, 17 years ago.  Like Kathmandu, Dharamsala lies at the foot of the Himalayan mountain range at around 4,700 feet elevation, thus the familiar quality of air and light. Just as I was thinking this, Tara turned to me and said, “Mom, I feel like I’ve been here before.”

 

 

After settling into our studio at the charming Ti-se Guesthouse in the Tibetan quarter called Boudha, surrounding the Boudhnath Stupa, we went out for an evening walk around the majestic stupa, one of the largest and holiest in Kathmandu.

 

The setting sun gave way to the light of butter lamps surrounding and within the walls of the great stupa.

 

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As we entered the main path around the stupa we were carried on a wave of people circumambulating and reciting, “Om mani padme hum,” a mantra for Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, which literally means “Om, jewel in the heart of the lotus,” signifying our true nature within the heart of our being. Some were reciting mantras, others chatting and laughing—all finishing their day with this common ritual walk around the axis of their community. Just like the Swedagon Stupa in Yangon, Burma, young and old congregate at this sacred center, visit with friends and make offerings as well as prayers for health, compassion and enlightenment. All three of us—Tara, Tejas and I—were instantly charmed and awestruck.

 

 

Hungry after our long journey and our three circumambulations around the stupa, we climbed the stairs to a charming rooftop restaurant overlooking the stupa and had our first Nepali meal: noodle soup with vegetables. We then went back to the hotel to crash in our travel clothes, hoping that our luggage would arrive the next day.

 

The following days were spent reuniting with old friends who had been studying at the Buddhist university in Kathmandu and getting tips on where to find the best fresh fruit, yogurt, butter and other sundries. After day three, our luggage arrived along with our friends Meg, James and their two daughters.

 

 

The next day we all hopped onto a short flight to Pokhara to meet up with our expat friends Stacy, Damon, and their two daughters for our next adventure.

 

 

Here’s a look back at all the posts in our global homeschool adventure:

Thailand Solo with Two Kids: Where Homesickness Sets In
Homeschooling in Myanmar: Visiting Bagan
Traveling to Myanmar with Kids
Adventures in Homeschooling in India
The Benefits of Ayurvedic Cleansing
Homeschooling on the Road
Around the World in One Semester

© 2013, Chandra Easton. All rights reserved.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Chandra studied Buddhist philosophy, meditation and Tibetan language in 1996 at the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives in Dharamsala, India, founded by H.H. Dalai Lama. She later received her degree from UCSB's Religious Studies Department where she translated Tibetan Buddhist texts with Buddhist scholar, B. Alan Wallace. Chandra has been teaching Buddhist meditation & philosophy for twelve years. She is authorized by B. Alan Wallace to teach Buddhist theory and practice and Lama Tsultrim Allione to teach Prajna Paramita, Feeding Your Demons, and Chod. She is currently on the Tara Mandala Bay Area coordinating committee, through which she teaches and organizes events in the Bay Area. Chandra has also been teaching yoga since 2001 after training with Sarah Powers. In 2003, she began to study with Shadow Yoga founders, Zhander Remete and Emma Balnaves. In the Spring of 2012, she completed a three-year teacher’s course with Zhander and Emma and is now authorized to teach Shadow Yoga. Chandra & Scott run Shadow Yoga programs in Berkeley and San Francisco. Learn more about her schedule at shunyatayoga.com. Chandra lives in Berkeley, California, with Scott and their two children.

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2 Comments
  1. CommentsInCultureParent | Trekking with Kids in the Himalayas while Homeschooling   |  Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 10:56 am

    […] our two weeks in the mountains, we returned to Kathmandu to await the arrival of my mom and stepfather. We were all excited to see them, and I was […]

  2. CommentsInCultureParent | Exploring Italy with Kids   |  Sunday, 19 January 2014 at 4:09 pm

    […] four months in Asia, we were ready for our next stop: Italy. Even though we found great pizza and ice cream at our […]









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