Namaste. I say this multiple times per week at the end of yoga classes that I both teach and attend.

The light within in me sees and honors the light within you.

I easily recite this. I have given some reflection here and there to it’s meaning and it jived with me, made me feel very spiritual and enlightened to say it. I even bought a Namaste sticker and have it on my pink clipboard that I carry around work to show everyone how busy, but also, at peace, I am. However, I finally begin to understand Namaste as an actual verb, in Nepal.

27986716215_a4c2044752_o In both India and Nepal, you are greeted with a “Namaste.” It’s also used to say “thank-you” and “good-bye.” In both places, the people strive to treat you this way. They are extremely kind, helpful and friendly.

Our experience with Namaste in Kathmandu was punctuated by our stay at The Family Peace House, which we found through AirBnB. We stayed with Hemraj and his family and were welcomed to their extreme hospitality and kindness. Dylan was able to play with Hemraj’s children, we were welcomed at the dinner table and served tea every morning. This truly gave us a more intimate experience of Kathmandu and allowed us to learn more closely about the culture, get tips on sight seeing and sit and talk with our host, his family and fellow Family Peace House guest, Angelo. When our travel plans became frantic because we realized we could not board our plane back to India without a new visa, Hemraj and others at the Family Peace House quickly swooped in to help with recommendations, allowing us to borrow their personal laptop and easily allowing us to stay extra days when we decided to extend our time in Nepal. The Family Peace house arranged transportation for us when we visited Durbar Square and booked our Mountain Flight. I cannot recommend them enough, when visiting Kathmandu. Thank-you, Hemraj and The Family Peace House for showing my family so much kindness and taking time to teach Dylan all about the rubik’s cube and introducing him to futsal.

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Throughout our trip, we also made a few visits to Fireflies Hostel, up the street from The Family Peace House. Fireflies Hostel is excellent for younger travelers. It has a bohemian, artsy vibe and delicious food at the community space on the top floor. We stopped by for dinner, beers and excellent conversation with fellow travelers. We met people from Spain, Italy, South Africa, Australia, etc. We met Bishal, one of the owners who shared his absolutely amazing life story with us and helped me gain a whole new perspective on gratitude and happiness. I loved our time at Fireflies and the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world.

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I was a total creeper tourist as we walked through the city and took pictures constantly of not only the sights, but the people. There was something so captivating about the art around Kathmandu and the smiles of the Nepali. I felt like they smiled constantly and were always extremely friendly. I hope that comes through in some of these pictures. These were some of my favorite shots:

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I know I must return to Kathmandu. This trip was the beginning of a journey that will bring me back one day to the Himalayas, the temples, the momo and the light which has honored me and taught me more how to honor others.