Today’s August 1st, a shocking realization for me when I checked the date on my computer screen. The beginning of August signals the end of my favorite season – summer. Summer means warm weather, water sports, barbeques, and my birthday. Every year around April, I start getting antsy for summer to begin, and around August I start dreading its end.
This summer I thought I might have a different experience. At the end of the school year, I hardly gave summer a thought. I was too excited for fall and my semester in Nepal to begin. Usually I have grand hopes and plans for summer – road trips, parties, and other various shenanigans – but this year I knew I would be in Ithaca taking physics, working, and preparing for Nepal, so I didn’t think I’d have much time for summer fun. I didn’t mind though; who needs summer when you’ll be in Nepal in the fall?
As anyone who’s stayed in Ithaca for the summer knows, I couldn’t have been more wrong. For the past couple months I’ve been in Ithaca, I’ve had non-stop fun. My parents must have been worried when I didn’t call, but it was only because I’ve been too busy traipsing around the gorges, attempting to do yoga without laughing, trying every stand at the farmer’s market, becoming a regular at Ruloff’s Taco Tuesday, and eating copious amounts of ice cream. Except for filling out paperwork for Cornell Abroad and getting immunizations (Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis… really?) I haven’t even had time to prepare for next semester.
While I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect summer, it’s now time to look to the future. In less than a month, I’ll be boarding a plane to Los Angeles, then to Thailand, and finally Kathmandu. I know what will happen when I land – I’ll be greeted by someone from Tribhuvan University and then driven to the dorm – but I have no idea what to expect after that. Just as people talk about summer in Ithaca as one of their favorite experiences, people returning from Nepal have told me that the semester with the Cornell-Nepal Study Program is “life-changing.” Though I had been warned, I still didn’t realize the extent of Ithaca summer fun. So despite returning students from Nepal telling me about their time there, I doubt I fully understand how meaningful it will be.
In this blog, I plan to discuss my thoughts, feelings, and experiences in Nepal to hopefully make clear to myself (and whoever else reads this…Hi grandma!) what I’m learning from my participation in the program. I may discover new things about Nepal, the world, and myself, but I can’t know until I go! So while I’m sad that summer is ending, I’m ready to start my adventure in Nepal. Only 26 more days till I land in Kathmandu!