Mount Everest, Sherpa, the Yeti (aka Abominable Snowman) – Nepal is a mystical place and amazingly few people can point it out on a globe. When asked….Many are quick to say they’ve read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and they think it has something to do with Tibet.
I am continually amazed at the number of people who give me a perplexed look when I tell them I am adopting from Nepal… Most people have heard of Mount Everest…many don’t know it is in Nepal.
Nepal is a tiny country situated in the Himalayas between Tibet and India. It is a very spiritual place and it is the only official Hindu state in the world. It is a land where people practice Hinduism and Buddhism.
This past weekend I attended an engagement party for a friend who is getting married for her first time (love those first timers in their 40s!). We were all asked to bring a bottle of wine and write on a card why it had special meaning. As I read the cards I was reminded how many world travelers I was surrounded by. In fact, I was talking about the adoption with a friend who owns a global adventure travel company (www.globaladrenaline.com), and plans trips to Nepal. She asked me if I would plan a trip to Nepal before the adoption.
It is a question I am continually asked and one that I contemplate often since I began the process of adopting from Nepal. I truly can’t wait to go to Nepal. It’s really exciting to hear that some of the referrals for children (“matches”) available for adoption are beginning to trickle in and I can’t help but wonder if this will be the year.
But I am reluctant to go to Nepal before the adoption, nervous to make an emotional connection to a place before I receive my “match”. I hope to one day visit Nepal with my future daughter so she can learn more about her culture and make it our second home. As part of the adoption process I was asked to sign a simple one page document promising that I will keep my ties to Nepal.
I am optimistic that 2010 will be the year of great adventure. In fact the New York Times, cited Nepal as one of its top 31 places to go in 2010 (January 10, 2010).
In the meantime, I am learning as much about the country as possible, visiting Nepali restaurants like the Taste of the Himalayas in St. Charles, IL (http://tasteofhimalayas.com/) and attempting to learn the very complex language of Nepali.
Namaste is what the Nepalese say when they greet each other. They press their palms together in prayer position and slightly bow their head. Its official meaning is “I salute the god within you” or “I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.”
While you won’t catch me climbing Sagarmatha (Mount Everest), after the adoption, I plan to remain tied to Nepal, trek some of the world’s most beautiful hillsides, visit the Buddhist Temples, drink Nepalese tea and learn as much about the culture as possible. And, just maybe I will get a glance of that great Yeti.