Namaste to the US of A

By Jenna McCarthy

On Friday, we slept in for the first time in 2 weeks. 

At 10 AM, most of the group departed for Tenzin Sherpa's extended family's house in Nepal. It was about 30-45 minutes from where we were staying in Kathmandu. The students were able to eat a homecooked meal and meet Tenzin's relatives. Part of the meal consisted of momos, and they were so good that people were eating them with plastic forks out of ziploc bags at the airport! 

After Tenzin's, the group headed to Thamel which is a popular shopping area. Cole Kuczek got very into the haggling, and we both ended up with way too many knick-knacks. It was easy to justify buying a bunch of souvenirs and other things that we don't actually really need because 1) everything was so cheap compared to the U.S. and 2) we wanted to spend the rest of our rupees. Anyway, Cole now has prayer flags "out the wazoo," and I heard that if you go to his suite, knock on his door, and say the magic phrase "Thank you Dawa," he'll give you one...only one way to find out! 

After shopping, we recouped at the hotel and departed at 4 PM for our 7 PM flight back to Dubai. At the Kathmandu International Airport, we said goodbye to the guides, and they gave us red khata scarves, and I can't decide if it was just yesterday or a long time ago that they first greeted us with marigold necklaces.

After our flight to Dubai, we had a four-hour layover before our flight to JFK. The flight from Dubai to JFK was 14 hours. I watched the Lizzo documentary, slept for 4 hours, watched Eat, Pray, Love, read a chapter of my book (Marianne Janack if you are reading this, it was Making It Up), watched Dear Evan Hansen, and ate 2 meals, a slice of pizza, and other snacks somewhere in between all of that (I found the secret snack bucket where the flight attendants hang out, and they let me take some). I also followed along The Joker, which the person in front of me was watching at some point. Then, the flight was over. It doesn't sound it, but it actually went by pretty fast. 

At JFK, we waited in line for an hour to get through customs. Then, we collected our bags, bought Dunkin Donuts, and loaded our stuff and ourselves onto the bus! It was another 4-hour bus ride home. I fought hard to stay awake but lost that battle and crashed for the last hour of the ride.

As I write this, I am tucked in my bed in CNY, and it feels good to be home. At the same time, I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Nepal with Hamilton. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I know that it was something that none of us will ever forget. Thank you to everyone who made this memorable trip happen. 

Jenna McCarthy 

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