Nepal #4: Baby Monks and Baby Monkeys

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We woke up this morning at 5am and hung around in the room packing our things until breakfast at 8am. DeDe made us pancakes again, and we sat and read while hanging out with Bens. The Bruins game was on, but I didn’t want to hog the WI-FI, so I just sat there refreshing the feed every 2 seconds (don’t worry the boys took home the win). After breakfast we went back and packed up our things because it was time to go move in with our host family, leaving DeDe was hard. We got in the car with Phatiama and began the journey to our new home. The ride was scary, as per usual, and at one point we had a good ol’ Mexican standoff with another car. Neither Mr. Sujan nor the other guy would budge, all while I had an amazing view of a small, but steep, cliff that we could fall down. Eventually Mr. Sujan boss-ladied his way around the other car and we all avoided playing out a live-action version of Yahtzee.

We arrived at our host family’s house, where Phatima spread a rumour that we would have to wash our hands in the basement (It’s not true, they have a sink). We met our host father, who showed us our room and took us over to the Monastery where we would be working for the next two weeks. We met the head Monk, Sarah read earlier that the Monks will try to offer you everything they have but since they don’t have much you’re not supposed to take it, we immediately experienced this as the head Monk tried to give us orange juice and candy. When we said we were from Canada the head monk got excited exclaiming “Toronto! The Dalai Lama visited there”. I don’t know why that made me so happy.

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We went back home quickly before going out to explore the area we now found ourselves in. Adventuring around went smoothly until Sarah almost got mucked by a car, which is to be expected at this point because Sarah and Nepal provide the deadly combination of crazy driving and an overly-confident street crosser. There were so many monkeys in the area, I have now decided that I do NOT like monkeys, something in their eyes just tells me they have evil intentions. I have a weird fear that they are going to swing down and YOINK my hair right off my head (then I could fit in with the monks). We found the cutest café, where I got a latte and Sarah got a tea… she’s so economical. After a quick coffee nap, it was time to head over to our first session at the monastery.

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We arrived slightly early and spoke to a man who grew up in a similar monastery. He told us about a volunteer English teacher he had when he was a baby monk, and how he still remembered his face, all of the sudden what we were doing felt a lot more significant.

Upon entering the classroom, we came to the shocking realization that we were very unprepared for this task, but with some quick maneuvering by Sarah we began scoping out what level of English they knew and ran over some vocabulary. The baby monks were the sweetest kids, and they were so excited to be learning English. I know you’re wondering, yes, I do already have a favourite.

We took them out to the courtyard to play duck-duck-goose. The monks grasped the duck part, but just couldn’t seem to understand the goose. Instead who they chose would receive a slightly more aggressive “duck” and the monk would begin running. We came to the realization that it was because they had no idea what a goose was!! At 4:50 we heard a gong chime and all of the little monks went running upstairs, thanking us on their way. My heart grew eighteen sizes when two of the baby monks tried to get me and Sarah to come up with them. We both left the monastery with the sore cheeks from smiling so much.

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We got back and watched the sunset from our beautiful bedroom view. Dinner ended up being super late (it was at 8pm, but our Nepal bedtime is 7pm so that felt strange). We choked when they asked us if we were vegetarians and said that we weren’t, I even went the extra mile of clarifying “yea, we eat meat”. I don’t know how after passing 13 goat heads in shop windows the day before I could confidently state that I ate meat. The dinner was delicious, and Sarah made me eat the mystery meat (it was goat I know it), but I was so hungry that I didn’t even mind. We retired at a slightly later 8:30pm, with greasy hair and smelly feet, because we were both too tired to shower.

-Sam