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Partying With The Nuns

Posted on Sunday, July 5, 2009 in Wanderlust & Wonder


If anyone had asked me years ago where I would like to be for my 29th birthday, I really wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea. Turns out that spending my birthday with a bunch of Buddhist nuns was an absolutely perfect way to ring in another year of life.

The next day after returning to Pharping from our trip to Chitwan was my birthday. Classes were supposed to have resumed by this point in time but the new books that the principal had ordered had yet to arrive so the girls and a few of their teachers were just hanging out down in some of the classrooms when I arrived.

As I walked in through the squeaky lower gate, many of the girls came out of the classrooms and stood on the balconies looking down at me. And then they all serenaded me with “Happy Birthday”. It was a magical moment.


And as I walked up the steps to greet them, the nuns, one by one approached me giggling and handed me lovely homemade cards. Some of the older girls had even drawn some Thangka images. The younger girls drew colorful portraits of me and wrote adorable little messages inside them.

We wish you all the best for your coming future ad every steps will successful in your life.


Have a long life and a nice day. Smile like sun all the time. I wish your every dream is come true.

And some of them even got a little bit more creative and composed a poem:

King love queen
Queen love child
Child love milk
But I love you

I was so touched. Altogether there were more than forty cards. It was a huge stack of sweet words and beautiful little drawings.

A couple of the younger girls even presented me with a lovely grass crown and pronounced me “Queen of the Jungle”.


Since they were not in structured classes for the day, I took some of the girls from the older classes and taught them some basic salsa dance steps. It was so much fun.


They were so eager to practice and get the steps down. One would think that young Buddhist nuns would be somewhat reluctant or reserved, but there was none of that.


They laughed and obliged with glee when I showed them how to sway their hips in time with the beat. We didn’t actually have music so I just counted out the beat to my favorite Celia Cruz song and that seemed to do the trick.


Later on at lunchtime, the entire group of nuns sang “Happy Birthday” to me once more and presented me with a pancake with three little candles stuck in it. It was an amazing birthday that I will cherish for a long time.


Bring on the comments

  1. AmyH says:

    What a cool birthday celebration Helen! 40 cards, songs, a crown, dancing, poems. Anyone would be honored. I am glad you were so celebrated!

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