How Visitors make me feel at Home
When I was leaving two years ago for Nepal to study at RYI, many people at home were surprised about my choice. Sure, many heard of Nepal as a place where you can do trekking and have some adventures, but studying? That was not really a classic activity associated with Nepal, and especially since it hasn’t been long after the earthquake, people were quite skeptical. However, some of my friends were also excited to know somebody “out there” that they could eventually come and visit. “Yeah right”, I thought to myself. As if they would actually do that. Of course I was surprised then that just after studying at RYI for 2 months, one of my friends spontaneously decided to come to visit me and use the opportunity to do some trekking. That was the first visit and at the beginning I found it a bit strange to have people from my “old life” join me in my “new life” for a period of time. But since then, I have gotten quite used to having at least one visitor from Germany per semester. Most recently, my best friend since highschool and her boyfriend made Nepal their final stop of their Asia journey and wanted to be a part of my everyday life here in Kathmandu. It is always exciting to show old friends around in a new life, show them the cafés I go to every day, the streets that I roam in, my apartment, my school and of course the new friends I have made and they have only known from stories. Only when I am “in charge” of showing people around that have never been here do I realize how much of a home Boudha (and Kathmandu in general) has become for me. I still feel overwhelmed by the differences between Nepal and my home country sometimes, but when I see how others are surprised by this place I realize that the last two years did make me a lot more comfortable and casual here in Boudha. It truly is my home now – when I walk in the streets I see many familiar faces, I know where to get the things I need, how much to pay for all kinds of things, why certain things are the way they are and others not. That’s why I am always happy to have guests – first and foremost of course because I am happy to see my friends and family from home, but it also always assures me that I am much less of a stranger than I sometimes feel.
~ Maitri from Germany