Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Money is Foreign

So we're back now! After 30+ hours of straight travel, hardly any sleep and delicious ( ;) ) airplane food and airport coffee we have landed! I'm excited to be home and to see everyone and be able to check my email without the government turning the electricity off or Uma staring at me the entire five minutes but I will say I miss Nepal already. I realize this blog is most likely not as cool anymore because I'm kickin' it in Cincinnati and just talking about Nepal from here but just act like it still has street cred, okay? :)

I've decided I would really love to keep up this blog here and there, maybe throw in some stories that I didn't share because I have plenty I didn't blog about, but it won't be a daily thing. (Unless I'm completely in mourning for Nepal like I am presently) (Sam's boyfriend said it best at the airport, "Wow so it's like you two are breaking up now after Nepal?" Unfortunately, that's how it felt.) Anyway, I would also like to keep this blog updated as I keep in touch with all the friends from Nepal and especially with Danny. Sam and I went with Laxmi and her daughter and Danny to school on Tuesday morning before we left to finalize account numbers and things with the school and to see Danny there. That morning is a whole blog in itself that I can post later but let me tell you, there was no better way to end our trip. We were able to say bye to some of our Nepali friends and see all the kids at the daycare, and most of all see Danny in his school uniform with a huge grin on his face because he was finally going to school with kids his age. Danny's aunt and Laxmi and all the adults who know him, and who don't speak English very well, just kept saying, "Danny.. in school, very very happy." I can't explain the feelings we had seeing him playing and knowing that in just two days of school, he is already learning so much. It was similar to the feeling I had when is Aunt kissed us and called us Jesus (kind of funny but surprisingly I was honored more than anything) or how I felt when Laxmi cried three times the day we left because she didn't want us to forget about her and everyone and Nepal. Now that I'm rambling... I want to update this blog mostly because I want to continue to be updated with everything in Nepal. I'll keep posting about Danny and especially as the school year starts and our brains start rolling with ideas for fundraising for Danny. Although $200 (most likely is a little less than that for the next years) between Sam and I, even though we're college students, is definitely doable. However, I know some of you have already expressed interest in helping with Danny's schooling and I would really love to have everyone help. So please stay tuned for updates on him and hopefully pictures on here!

Thanks for reading and staying in touch, I hope to see everyone and share in the weeks to come. For you viewing pleasure here is a small and incomplete list of the "social hiccups" (according to Josh, another volunteer) I'm experiencing due to reverse culture shock coming home. I realize most of this won't make sense to everyone reading it but you might some of it amusing:

-I don't understand why I have to pay in dollars and not rupees and why everything is expensive.
-I was uncomfortable sitting in a chair at dinner last night, instead of on the floor.
-I'm so sad to know that when I say Namaste to everyone here, I will get weird looks, instead of smiles.
-It's weird not to wake up this early and not here the kids in the living room doing their prayers and stretches.
-It's odd to see people wearing shoes inside.
-Most of all, I don't understand why I have a cell phone and I've even forgotten a little about how to use it.

There are plenty more I could put but that's enough. Hope everyone is doing well!

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's Like A Whole Sensory Experience

So it's Monday night... meaning we leave tomorrow afternoon. I'm not sure how I feel right now. I mean, I know I'm full since we just ate some of our last daalbhaat. And I'm hot because it's rather warm in the house, especially after running around with the kids. And I'm tired from our adventures in Pokhara over the weekend but sadness hasn't totally sunk in yet.

However, that's not what my blog is for, it's to talk about all the awesome things about being here and to not forget about everything I've learned these past six weeks. When I think about it, the things I'll miss the most, besides the people and the children, are the sights and smells and tastes of being here. I will forever hear the children getting up in the morning for their daily stretches and prayers. I will not forget the smells of garbage on the street, or the corn being cooked right next to it, or the vegetable market or the kids on Fridays. (Wash day is Saturday ;) More than anything, I'll miss the people I've met here and the friends we've made. I can't wait to come back and visit with everyone.

Someone in the airport told me that Nepal is a place that changes lives. Although she was a little loopy and I didn't know her that well, I believed her. Now I don't like having expectations because chances are they won't be accurate but if there is one expectation I'm happy I had, it's that one. It took almost all of my time here but I've finally realized that this place has changed my life and I'll never forget it.

Although this will be my last blog typed from Kathmandu on Uma's computer (while she watches like a hawk), I'll do my best to update on here about Danny and everything that's happening. Thanks so much for reading and staying in touch!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Team Ohhhhhhhh Yeah

Hey there, I know it's not of much importance to everyone else but I think I discovered the flavor of my favorite ice cream here.. Elaichi (cardamon) Pista (pistachio) , it's really delicious. Today Sam, Lisa and I left around 6:45 to catch the bus so we could go to Pokhara, a nice lakeside town with great spots for trekking. We rode the bus for about a few hours, and made some Arizona friends who we would later be rafting with. We got off the bus with our backpacks, getting soaked in the rain. We waited for others to arrive and later went rafting for a few hours! It was freezing cold water and yes I fell off once, but it was awesome! After a lunch break, we rafted a little while longer and stopped to catch a local bus to Pokhara. We made a friend on the roof...

Anyway, we're quite tired tonight but are waking up early tomorrow for some trekking and site watching. I'll fill you in on the details later.

In other news, as long as there was no bandh today... Danny started school! Wooooooooo!

It's sort of surreal to know that in less than a week, I'll be back home in the U.S., no longer able to barter for taxis, food or gifts, can't use my rupees for anything and will most likely have to show up to things on time. As much as I love being around family and friends at home, I honestly don't want to leave Nepal. I'm going to try and savor the last few days I have here.

P.S. We're going to a meditation center tomorrow for 150 rupees (yes that's $2) :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Soul

So yesterday.... we weren't able to finalize things yet with an orphanage for Danny but for the time being, Sam and I have put him in school for this year. We paid for his schooling/uniform/etc. this year and he starts on Friday!!!!!!! Yesterday made my trip and seeing how happy Danny is, makes me realize that spending $200 a year for him is completely worth it. I know this is short and I have a lot more to explain but I just wanted to share with everyone because this was my favorite day here. Also, when we brought Danny home and told his aunt that he'll be going to school everyday and we brought a giant bag (30 kilos) of rice for them, she kissed us. And I teared up a little. This may sound weird but I was nervous earlier on the trip because despite all the sad things we've seen here and experienced, it doesn't make me cry it just makes me want to do something. For some reason this made me think that I possibly had no soul. (That's mostly a joke) but anyway... I've decided I do have a soul! Ha ha.

Hope all is well with everyone. THis might be one of my last blogs here... hope you've enjoyed. Thanks for all the support!

Monday, August 3, 2009


A very quick update for you.... We've been in a hurry around here to get some things done and pass off our knowledge to the new volunteers before we leave so this tiny blog is an excerpt from an email to my mom.

If you remember about the boy I mentioned in an earlier blog, Danny...

The past few days Sam and I have been working hard, talking to different people and getting help from Uma on trying to place Danny (the oldest boy at the daycare) into a school. His parents left him and he lives with his great aunt and she does not have any money, barely enough to even feed him or herself. (Some of the only times he eats are at the daycare) Anyway, we've been trying to get the ball rolling and we're hoping that before we leave we've either got him enrolled in school (and we'll fund the first year, planning to fundraise for the rest of his school years) or if we're lucky we can get him into a very nice orphanage which will provide him with everything and then give his aunt the opportunity to work and feed herself as well. I know that sounds crazy probably to you but we've gotten so close to Danny and getting him an education has become Sam and I's mission here.

I will of course write more later but just wanted to update everyone!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


After volunteering today....... actually I didn't go to volunteering today. Before you get upset, realize that I was sick and it wouldn't have been possible to go because my stomach was not agreeing with me. So instead I stayed back and hung out in the bathroom. I know you guys don't want to read about this but if you want a real Nepal blog, this would be much more graphic and talked about much more often. I told a friend, after they asked what the most difficult thing about being here was and I decided that a collective answer would be, getting sick. Whether you try hard or not (like Sam downing vitamins daily) you will get sick here if you spend enough time in Nepal. Most people have stomach problems, it's just a given. It's not that bad unless it lasts for days or weeks on end and you're really tired because you're so dehydrated. However, if you have Uma for a host mom, she'll force you to chug 1L worth of dehydration salt that "tastes" like orange. It's only taken to make you feel better but let me tell you, it tastes TERRIBLE!

Anyway, after all of that, Sam and I continued helping our kids here with their studies. However, at this point, I'm even sick of studying and I'm not even being tested, I can't imagine how these kids feel. Actually I can imagine, it took me almost twice as long just to get Pangum and Sangmu to tell me what subject they have tomorrow. (It's confusing because they were given a schedule last week but the schedule doesn't really matter here because in Nepal you can tend to have bandh (strikes) about three times a week, just another happening here) After studying with them we decided to go to the corner store for a treat. Uma had gone out for a meeting, so we took the kids to the corner store and bought them Kurkure, these delicious spicy cheeto like things. Sam and I had an ice cream sandwich and got one for Nubina as well. It was yummy.

After that, we asked Nubina to show us how to cook and I took notes, chopped veggies, took pictures and observed as she cooked for the children downstairs and as she and Uma collaborated upstairs for our dinner and dessert; fried rice and rice pudding. Would you like some rice pudding with your rice? :) We thought it this was amusing because we have rice every day, twice a day and today, three times! Ha. I took notes and tried to get down as much as I could about the cooking but just like most things here in Nepal, there's no measuring, nothing is exact and you just roll with it. We enjoyed the rice pudding warm with all the children upstairs in the family room. It's a great feeling when all of us are together in the family room before the children go to bed, they usually dance or do goofy things and call us fat cat and it's just fun to be around.

That's mostly all for today, but I thought I'd add some possible blog titles for the future:
-Goodnight Mummy (we hear this everynight, usually from the kids and in unison)
-Your Name is Fat Cat
-This is What?
-Part-Time Boyfriend

Goodnight! I've got to go run and grab my drying clothes from the roof before the nightly monsoon starts :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


One tiny blog for you (warning, this blog is not deep, at all)..

Today after volunteering at the daycare and helping the kids study for their exams, Nubina showed us how everyone here "plucks" their eyebrows. It's called threading, you take a thin string in your hands and wrap around two fingers and hold the other end with the other hand. The string is twisted slightly and you move the string back and forth across hair and it RIPS it out! She showed us on our arms first and then told us she would do it on our eyebrows. It was somewhat painful and the children were laughing as I was wincing in pain. It was fun though and much more efficient then plucking your eyebrows with a tweezer, one at a time. I took pictures of it and a small video that I want to share when I get home. It was really funny actually. Nubina also attemped teaching us to french braid, something neither of us know how to do. I wasn't going to put this but Nubina threaded my eyebrows and Sam's upper lip, that's right I said upper lip. Ha. Sam would like to let you know that her upper lip is quite smooth now, very kissable.

Later Nubina took me right down the street to the beauty parlor where they "threaded" her eyebrows. It cost only ten rupees, that's like 15-20 cents in dollars. I don't know how much waxing is at home, but that's a steal. We also talked to the woman at the shop about doing mehendi (henna) for us sometime this week. We just have to pick a good day and a good design.

Some other tidbits...
-Our other volunteer friends we made here have left :( but we were just told, three more are arriving soon!
-The other day Sam and I enjoyed ice cream on a stoop on Kalamati (the main street in Kathmandu) and had a duel/staring contest with a man beating his drum. It was fun. Don't worry, we won and I took a picture.
-Today I taught Laxmi (a woman at the daycare) English. She said thank you at least five times.
- Next week is the cow festival, Janai Purnima, stay tuned for more on that.
-Sujan, the youngest boy here at the orphange, just farted in front of us and got really embarassed. :)
- I almost got bit by a dog the other day because of Sam. She told me, "She would save me," as she ran away. That was the other day, I don't hate her anymore.
-A small kid at the daycare pooped on the floor today, just another day in the life of a volunteer. Fortunately, one of the ladies working at the daycare, courageously swooped in and picked up the little present with a piece of ripped up book from the floor.

P.S. If you couldn't tell we're feeling quite goofy right now (we haven't eaten dinner yet), a perfect time for blogging.