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Haley Patricia - California, United States

“I came to Nepal alone and basically without a plan other than pvn nepal and team. As soon as I arrived, the pieces began to fall into place. The pvnnepal staff and the other volunteers were incredibly welcoming and my transition into Nepali life felt almost effortless. Before starting my placement at hasantar, I was worried about the stigma- they seem to have a very set opinion about foreigners. PVN NEPAL is special because it helps you find a way to integrate into Nepalese culture and become friends with Nepalese people. On my first day of my placement, one of the teachers told me that I looked like a doll because of my long eyelashes and curly hair. So, she gave me the nickname “Gudiiya” which means doll in Nepali. She spoke very little English but just enough for us to communicate. She shared her food with me the day we met; bought me newari treats after lunch. She started a joke that she wanted me to meet her son. Before I knew it, all the other teachers started referring to her as my mother-in-law. I think this is typical newari humor, and also I found it pretty funny. Even though we knew each other for a short time, I began to feel like she was like my nepali mother. My “mother-in-law” ended up inviting me to her house to learn how to make bara and momo, a traditional newari dish. Her daughter spoke better English so it was easier to communicate while cooking. It was so lovely being able to spend time with the two Nepalese ladies and learning how to cook in their home. Plus, the food was incredible!

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