Sunday, September 28, 2014

Twenty-Two in Kathmandu

So, as some of you may know, I celebrated my 22nd birthday in Nepal last week. It was my first birthday celebrated outside the U.S., so I was not quite sure what to expect. The morning was a mixed bag: I saw parts of the mountains, which was nice, but I also found out that Caitlin would be leaving Nepal due to the severity of her illness. My classes were well-behaved…because the other teachers hit them before class. I got home and rewarded myself with a book, half a Snickers bar, and a shower (soon to be a luxury as winter approaches). 

My family surprised me with a cake, upon which someone had spelled “Alanna” correctly. They can’t do it in America, but for some reason, in Nepal, where Roman script is not even the main alphabet, they spelled my name right. We also had pasta (shells, my second favorite shape next to bowties) in honor of my Italian tastes—although it still tasted like a curry. They also sang for me, with my bai accompanying on electric keyboard. 

Fast forward to this weekend: I came into Kathmandu to meet up with the other girls—Ellen, Emily, and Lisa all came in from Gorkha, while Caitlin and Elsie were already there. They had me pick out a restaurant for lunch. I selected one with a view overlooking Patan’s Durbar Square. At the end of the meal, Lisa asked me to call Elsie to find out where she was, and when I looked back at the table, there was a chocolate cake, candles and all. Since time is so fluid in Nepal, they apologized for forgetting my birthday. I didn’t mind; I would have forgotten it too if not for my host family. It was just such a wonderful surprise to celebrate with five of the six of us. 

Eventually Elsie called back, after some misadventures in the city. Ellen happened to spot her from the roof as we were talking—she had been right across the street from us, which was a great coincidence. We went down to meet her and her boyfriend, who graciously took a final shot of the “Super 6.” All in all, there was a definite hint of bittersweetness, but I could not ask for a more thoughtful and wonderful group of girls to help make my Nepali birthday special. 
My cake from my host family.

My surprise cake from the other ETAs.

Patan's Durbar Square

It's hard to see, but in the lower right section of this photo, there's a man in an orange shirt (the same color as the flower above). It ended up being Elsie's boyfriend, which is how we were able to take the next picture...

Our last photo of the six of us for a while.

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