Foothills of Greatness

Today, we finally chose a picture to send into the Purdue Alumnus magazine (https://www.purduealumni.org/alumnus/), hoping to show off our world travels.  This is what I submitted to them and the President’s Council this morning, which inspired me to share it here, and a few more pictures of our Sarangkot experience.

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My friend, Susan, and I are so happy to send you this picture we took last month at Sarangkot, Pokhara, Nepal.  Susan and I met in 1989, both playing saxophone in the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band.  We have remained great friends over time and distance ever since.  After graduating from Purdue in 1993, Susan spent more than 2 years in Nepal with the Peace Corps.  This year, she planned an amazing trip to see the country again, visit friends and host families, and experience a homecoming of sorts.  Since 2010, I have been living in Shenyang, China, so when I heard about Susan’s trip, I invited myself along.  We met in Kathmandu and later visited Pokhara, where this picture was taken.  We awoke at 4am that morning to make the trip to Sarangkot and watch the sun rise over the Annapurna range.  It was our distinct pleasure to show Purdue Pride in the foothills of greatness.  ***

Namaste

Namaste.  The word has a number of meanings and uses.  Hello.  Welcome.  I bow to you.  After a week in Nepal, to me, namaste meant a smile.  That week was a reminder of true meanings.  Friendship means a bond over time and space.  Peacefulness is that feeling in your soul you can’t quite describe.  We used words like amazing so often.  We searched for other adjectives to describe what we saw, how we felt, what the moment meant to us.  Magnificent.  Glorious. Extraordinary.  Spectacular.  Formidable.  Breathtaking.  Wow, and the Chinese version, woaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!  And for a few special moments, there were no words.
Before moving to China, my friend, Susan, and I joked that we would meet in Kathmandu.  She had lived there 18 years ago during her Peace Corps time and had been wanting a trip back.  Little did we realize that it would happen.  She planned an amazing trip based on her knowledge and experience, and the rest of the group benefited so very well.   Susan, Larry, Kristy and I share about 3000 pictures between us, and a week of incredible memories.
Nepal is a country of colors.  Prayer flags and knitting shops, scarves and crafted handbags, buildings and signs.  Everything was colorful and it brightened my eyes.  The sky was no exception as we experienced the post-monsoon dryness of October and a glorious blue sky with clouds of every shape and size.  We marveled at the shades of green on the hillsides and terraced farms.  We loved the traditional clothing, from married Nepali women wearing their best red sari, to Tibetan refugees in their finest chuba, to house clothes that would put my prettiest skirt to shame.  It was art on every street, in every window, in my every glance.
It would be difficult for me to write about it all in one blog post, so perhaps you’ll see a few about this trip.  For now, enjoy some of my memories in the colors, smiles and amazing days in Nepal.