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Coming to a close...

I woke up today to the realization that I have but one week left in Nepal.

Looking back at my time, it feels like it has been a personal test more than anything else. Could I redouble my efforts in the face of unexpected adversity? Prior to my interest in photography and journalism, I am not sure that the answer would have been yes. And yet, here I am, one month and one week in later Nepal, my first trip outside of the United States, finishing up stories and looking for souvenirs to take back to friends and family.

Nepal feels far less foreign that it once did. I now know my way around its capital, Kathmandu, and am comfortable walking with motorbikes whizzing by, haggling with shop owners and making my way around cows on the sidewalk.

At times, Nepal has felt like such a wonderful place, and at others (they have been few) I wanted nothing more than to be back in Los Angeles. On the whole, the people of Nepal have been so kind and giving to me. The scenery, especially in the villages, has been some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Being American, though, and carrying US Dollars, I never feel quite at home…always a tourist waiting to be taken advantage of. Whether is has been being quoted a price triple that of what locals pay or being asked how I can help to get someone to America, I am aware that I am just visiting.

Has my stay in Nepal changed the way that I view the world? Of course, being here makes me appreciate the things that I had been taking for granted at home and inspires me to help deal with the problems that a country with such a wealth of resources, diversity and talent should not be having.

I was most intrigued by the view that the people of Nepal have of America. I am aware of America’s attraction as the land of opportunity, though I assumed that our recent foreign policy decisions would sour the image of America to many. It is difficult not to have an idealized view and want to go to a country where a former Member of Parliament can work in a department store and send back more money then he ever made in Nepal.

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