The Buddha Sat Right Here: A Family Odyssey Through India and Nepal

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Suppose you made your dream come true, but with an element of nightmare thrown in. Dena Moes, a midwife with many years of experience, decided to put her career on hold and take an eight-month family trip from their California home to India. Husband Adam and their two daughters were good sports, ready for adventure, though the months no doubt exceeded their expectations.

In her memoir-confessional-travelogue, Moes records one unique experience after another, including a two-week spell in Bodh Gaya to visit the bodhi tree where the Buddha found enlightenment. The tree, set in the Maha Bodhi Park, inspired teenage Bella’s appraisal that the spot was “like Buddhist Disneyland.”

The family held up remarkably well, complaining little about the camping arrangements, hikes into unfamiliar territory, lengthy train trips, small hotels, and hostels singularly unlike their western counterparts. The family shared crowded city streets with cows and all manner of conveyances and inevitably discovered the challenge of eating exotic food with sometimes unwelcome results. Throughout, personal differences arose but never quite came to a boil–even when Adam defiantly took a swim in the “filthy, ice-cold Ganges.”

Dena journaled brilliantly, drawing in history and the natural wonders so that even those who have held little curiosity about India or neighboring Nepal will be caught up with the excitement, maybe even envious of it! The girls were real troopers, making new friends and only occasionally resorting to cell phones to counter homesickness. Bella’s succinct “diary” entries supply a sparkling bonus.


Reviewed By:

Author Dena Moes
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher She Writes Press
Publish Date 2019-04-02
ISBN 9781631525612
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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