Siddha Nagar

I live with a Tibetan family in an apartment in Siddha Nagar, a neighborhood over small a ridge north of Boudhanath. This is the view from our roof.

We are on the edge of the Kathmandu sprawl. The green areas are rice fields, just coming to a head. Dotted among these are some large houses, apartment buildings, rows of one room stores with metal gates (sometimes used as houses), and rows of houses are made of this and that. In the distance, behind the closer mountains, one can sometimes see a very large, snow covered mountain (indicated by the red "x"), though it is usually shrouded in clouds.

There are always children running and playing in the streets, people working in their shops and walking by, smiling as I walk by. I stop and talk to the children. Many of them speak some English. They are from other parts of Nepal, Tibet, India, all over the region. I wish I could speak to their parents.

I am studying Tibetan, but I am not that good at languages. It is frustratingly slow and difficult. After eight hours straight, I cannot even say "nga" correctly or remember that "pa-yata" actually sounds like "tra". I am working as hard as I can and just barely keeping my head above water. Good thing I have a year. I feel like at this rate, I might be able to say "Good Morning" by then.

But today is Saturday, a free day. The sun is out, the sky is blue, I got my laundry done, and life is looking up. The children do not have school on Saturday (a six day school week) and they are out en masse flying kites. To get around the tangle of power lines, telephones and TV cables, many of them fly them from the roofs of buildings. A boy three buildings down, on a shorter building, flies a kite directly over my head. I could almost touch it.

I am too busy studying to fly a kite myself, but I enjoy them flying around me nonetheless. How can one be stressed in the midst of kites flying around? Kites are like our souls that we lift up to the heavens in joy, above the tangle and the troubles of this world, where it is enough to ride on a breeze and breath the fresh air. The children fly kites for me, and I learn Tibetan for them, and the world is made better for it all.

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