I am an American national, born and raised in a small Wisconsin town. In the spring of 2013 I was living and working in Shanghai. My son Jake, who is now 20 years old, was living with a host family in a small village in Nepal near the Annapurna trekking circuit. Nepal, and particularly its capital city of Katmandu, expanded its presence into American consciousness with Bob Seeger’s 1975 hit song, “Katmandu.”
“Katmandu” Lyrics Excerpt:
But now I'm leaving and I can't be late
And to myself be true.
That's why I'm going to Katmandu.
Up to the mountain's where I'm going to.
And if I ever get out of here,
That's what I'm gonna do.
The singer was going to Nepal to be true to himself. I think Jake’s motivation deep down may have been something similar to the singer’s. He, his two older sisters – Sarah and Anna - his mother and I spent three years living in Katmandu during the mid-nineties when I was the director of training for the U.S. Peace Corps program in Nepal. He was just seven months old when we first arrived. Over the years, whenever we have been together as a family, nostalgic memories and stories of the Nepal experience inevitably arise. Even though Jake didn’t remember much**, he grew up knowing that Nepal was an integral part of our family’s and his individual history. I think that somewhere in his future view, he always pictured himself making a sojourn back in search of his roots.
- Patrick Burns, cultural trainer and coach, photo credit to Jake Burns
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