Thursday, March 31, 2011

just a few photos for your day!






i could easily spend a fortune here in kathmandu.

the shops are incredible and full of all the stuff i love - fabric, bracelets, rings, beads, etc.

i just wanted to share a few photos of my life right now. tomorrow i plan to leave for chitwan nat. park for a week or two, then i'll be back in this crazy, wonderful capital city!

still lots to figure out, but i'm working through my options.

off to eat breakfast now!

xoxo

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

future job # 3


rickshaw driver in thamel, nepal

one of the greatest experiences one can have in kathmandu! i still cannot believe my little friend let me have a turn on this. as i was driving away, mo yelled out, "grace make sure you don't wreck it!" and not three seconds later, i hit the brick wall outside of the hotel. yup. grace and all her coordination! the rickshaw was fine, but i was too embarrassed to ride much farther. it so doesn't ride like a bike! when i truly do run flat out of money, you will see me, like this, on the streets of thamel pestering all the crazy tourists!

peace.

{photo from kathmandu, nepal}

happy birthday bob


happy happy 23rd birthday abby!

i'm really sad you are sitting in the snow in charlottesville and not here enjoying spring with me on a rooftop in thamel right now.

i cannot believe you're only 23, married, have a stable job, and incredible ambition. i tell people about you all the time. i guess it's just my way of expressing how much i miss you - i talk about you to anyone and everyone. i somehow always manage to work you into a conversation!

without a doubt, you have influenced me more than most anyone i know. i could not ask for a better role model, sister, or friend. i remember when i was little, i thought there is no way i was ever going to live up to her. i still think that. i won't ever live up to you, but at least i have a great example/ a great person to look up to!

more than just musically {although, yes, j. newsom has pulled me through some rough times in nepal} you've inspired me. you were always my rival in art class and i always wanted to think as creatively as you. your head was always full of interesting stories, ideas, and goals. i was always intimidated by you. i thought you were just too cool. i still do.

whenever i pull out a photo of you, everyone here always says {this happened just last night at mr. and mrs. shrestha's house!} "is she a model or movie actress?" you're such a babe. and gigi is one lucky man.

i'm writing all this just to say how much i love and miss you! i wish more than anything i could celebrate in person with you today.

go enjoy every minute of this day and remember you are a remarkable person! also remember you are ridiculously and wonderfully loved.

xoxo

{photo of bob and i on the new year's partee this year}

Saturday, March 26, 2011

photos of me on the shoot




for those of you who still might be confused by what role i played in this. these pics show just a few of the things i did along the way.

it is raining in kathmandu right now. : (

{all photos by nirdesh tuladhar.}

behind the scenes, nepal documentary



















i rarely had the time to shoot much with my own camera while we were on location, but here are a few photos to show you what i was up to my first two weeks in nepal.

+ + + + + + + ++ + + + +

when i think of all that went down on my first few weeks here in nepal, i'm truly blown away.

the whole experience was enlightening, inspiring, and life-changing.

on our first day of filming, i knew i loved this line of work. as a pa, i was in charge of typically pa sort of stuff - loading film, setting up tripods, making lists of what we shot, putting lavaliers on the people we interviewed, etc.

not only did i learn new film techniques and care each day, but i was simultaneously learning about nepal, about women here and their lives, and a lot about family planning {in particular iucds [that little copper t-shaped device we like to call iuds in the states]}

the days were long, hot, and tiring, rarely did we get the chance to go to the bathroom or sit down, {other than lunch} but we all felt so accomplished at the end of each day. we ended up shooting far more than necessary, but we wanted to make sure we had everything covered.

the hardest part was finding our main "characters." on day three {i think it was} we found her and she was perfect! her name was anju {a mother of four} and she was not only great on film but she also had a great story to tell. in addition to anju, we have so many wonderful and some not so wonderful interviews with doctors, nurses, providers, and women all around different villages and towns. we spent most of our time in nala, banepa, and pharphing {towns/ villages all about an hour or two outside of kathmandu}.

i thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet all the different women and hearing each of their stories. i was amazed at their willingness to talk. most of the people we interviewed were incredibly open to our questions and acted very naturally in front of a big camera and a team of people listening to their conversation.

what i most appreciated was our "team" of very talented individuals. we had an amazing, young, and beautiful translator, bandana, from psi nepal, in addition to nirdesh and dinesh also from psi nepal, and two very patient drivers. mandy {you can find one of her most recent posts [and my two photos!] on psi's healthy lives blog here} from psi's washington branch is largely responsible for pulling all this together. this little baby was largely her idea! and then there was mo. mo is a role model and i am still honored to have had the chance to work so closely with her.

overall, i am most thankful for all this because i was left inspired get back to school {finally}. i am not going to lie, the way this trip started off, i was fully convinced i would never feel the pressing need to go back to school - i could just get an education in the world! but talking with everyone about their school days, what they learned, the opportunities that opened up for them there, it hit me - i am finally excited to get back into a classroom and study the things that capture my mind! {come august i will have been out of school for a total of 15 months. that's a really long time.} i am excited to getting more involved in art, photography, photojournalism, documentary work, french, health, nutrition, anatomy, public health, international studies, women's issues. . . just to name a few. part of the problem has always been i want to study too many things and i often just get too confused. i know that unc will have way too many opportunities for me, but i hope that this year has at least given me more of an idea of what i want to do there {even though it still might be impossible to do everything}.

+ + + + + + + ++ + + + +

you can be certain i will be sharing the final product once they finish pulling it all together in washington, nyc, and boston! i'm so anxious to see the end result and i really hope to be a part of something like this again soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

future job # 2


professional bungy jumper

don't know if you really can do this for a living, but i'm curious to find out. . . mom, dad aren't you proud? always what you had in mind for me, i know. all that hard work you put into raising me and educating me {even when i was by far the most impossible kid who ever lived} and all i want to do is throw myself off of bridges.

{photo from the kawarau bridge, nz}

Thursday, March 24, 2011

future job # 1


street musician.

yes, i finally got my hands on an accordion.

no, i still have no musical talent, but i do have the motivation.

please ignore the crazy hair and face.

{photo from queenstown, nz}

thinkn


this time abroad has given me lots of time to think.

think about what i what i want to study in school in the fall, think about what i like and love in life, and most of all think about what i want to do with my life.

so, from here on out, i'll be posting a handful of possible future jobs . . .

enjoy!

p.s. think was always one of dad's favorite words. at least his favorite word that wasn't crude, that is. . . i remember being really young and walking in his office and seeing in bright orange white board marker five letters - THINK. that was all. all he had on the entire white board. it is a good word.

{and no, i'm not even going to try to connect this post with the awkward monkey family photo. it just makes me laugh. check out how earnest the momma's face is here! i love when animals show human emotions}

Sunday, March 20, 2011

one more thing

i miss her.

i got this email a few days back and my day was just that much brighter.

- - - - - -

"What is this, Horseville? Because I am surrounded by neigh-sayers! Wordplay."
-- Mr. Tracy Jordan

That's all. And I miss you. And we are going to Durham/Chapel Hill/Raleigh this weekend for a whirlwind trip. Whee! Love your pictures of Nepal and your post sponsored by "Wolves," by Phosphorescent (isn't that a great song?). My hair looks wonky today. But at least it's Friday!

What's the weirdest thing you've seen in Nepal?

MILF Island forever!

xoxo
Abby

- - - - - -

p.s. why am i the only one in my family who hasn't perfected the art of hilarious/random emails? they're all masters.

books


what i have in my bag now:
+ travels with charley
+ the bible
+ lonely planet nepal
+ reaching out
+ the kite runner {replaced by a nepali phrasebook}
+ the digital photography handbook

in the last post, i also mentioned some of the books i was reading through, but here is an overview. i love kathmandu because there are heaps of used and new bookstores and i have already traded in my kite runner copy for a small nepali phrasebook. i'm almost done with reaching out and the digital photography handbook {something i got for cheap in nz} and i know those will be leaving my possession shortly as well. i've just been reading and passing down books as i go!

lonesome traveller





when mom asked me the other day what it was i missed the most i told her two things - family and friends {of course!} and not having the space or time to unpack for a while.

after this crazy wonderful journey {i still wake up some days and just have to laugh. i'm doing what i've always dreamt of - living abroad, on my own, fully living and loving each day.} i know travel. i know all about the ups {all of nz} and downs {chinese customs}. i know how to bargain, how to make friends, and how to stay healthy {for the most part - i was sick for a good while here the other week, but all better now}. most of all, i know living out of a backpack!

but that said, i still have lots to learn. i love this lifestyle more than i can put into words and i am forever grateful for this opportunity.

last week, my sick week, i experienced loneliness for the first time of this trip. it only lasted a day or two, but i felt very alone, sick, and tired. since mo and mandy left me i had a really difficult time meeting people and finding enough to do around kathmandu. during this time, i spent a good bit of each day in my room hoping and praying i wouldn't be sick forever.

in this time, i finished the kite runner {i have to admit, i wasn't a big fan until the last two hundred or so pages. it was really hard to read, but those pages changed a lot} and started reaching out. nouwen's first three chapters are on loneliness. i read it at just the right time in life. thanks to the book, i took this period of loneliness and tried to look at it as a time of solitude. i found this passage particularly true, and i am guilty.

. . . "too often we will do everything possible to avoid the confrontation with the experience of being alone, and sometimes we are able to create the most ingenious devices to prevent ourselves from being reminded of this condition. our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoidance of pain, not only our physical pain but our emotional and mental pain as well. we not only bury our dead as if they were still alive, but we also bury our pains as if they were not really there. we have become so used to this state of anesthesia, that we panic when there is nothing or nobody left to distract us. when we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no television to watch or no record to play, and when we are left all alone by ourselves we are brought so close to the revelation of our basic human aloneness and are so afraid of experiencing an all-pervasive sense of loneliness that we will do anything to get busy again and continue the game which makes us believe that everything is fine after all" . . .

since i read those chapters, i found new inspiration from this solitude and to be honest, i haven't felt lonely again. i also have been well enough to make new friends each day, so that's good too.

i still don't know what i am doing here in kathmandu, but i am still working through my options! there are so many opportunities, but it is difficult knowing who you can trust {i have heard some unbelievable stories about volunteer placements}.

more to come later!

{this song has been one of the theme songs for my trip, but unlike marianne faithful, grace will never stop all this travellin! . . . all photos from my life in hotels here in ktm!}

holi in nepal

video

holi was two days ago and i am still covered in paint. my hair is an interesting shade of red, my skin looks like i got a really bad fake tan, and my toes have a lovely green tint to them!

watch the short video {taken around 9:00 am} and see some of the fun. we didn't stop celebrating until my face was entirely covered with metallic silver paint and we had all been covered head-to- toe! it got more wild with each hour and by the end of the day in addition to being a colorful mess, we were bruised, tired, and happy.

i wish that holi was more than once a year. what a good excuse to make friends and celebrate color?

i feel priveldged to have had the chance to rock holi in this part of the world!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

where to begin?




why is it always so hard to start blogging once you have been away for a while?

i keep making lists of all that i want to share, but i keep getting overwhelmed.

{this will be brief, maybe a little boring, but . . . at least it is something, n'est-ce pas?}

in short, my new home is a crazy one.

this place is a strange, wonderful blend of everything - india, tibet, china, america, peru, etc. it is so difficult to describe.

i keep wishing i was a talented writer like abby or sarah so that i could more fully try to explain this place with words, but i cannot. it is much to crazy for words. . . . or even pictures for that matter! {any picture of these mountains, and these are MOUNTAINS people, comes out looking like nothing. . . it is all very tragic}

i just got back into kathmandu last night after lovely a three day/ two night trip to nagarkot and bhaktapur {tons of photos to come. . . i always promise them, i know!}. i appreciated the clean air and change of scenery so very much and it is always good to see another side to nepal apart from the sometimes maddening kathmandu/ thamel area!

sick stories, funny stories, and other nonsense to come.

listen to this song, loose yourself in it, visit iceland, be happy.

{all photos from one of my daily walks through thamel/ outside of thamel area}

Monday, March 14, 2011

foochie

dear foochie/ nate / katie,

happy, happy, happy 7th birthday!

i wish i would have been as cool as you at your age.

all the love!

missing you dearly,
g

p.s. when i get home, we will do something together to celebrate.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

daddy-o


juju,

happy {belated} birthday!

sorry this is two days late, i tried to post this on the 12th but kathmandu currently only has power late at night during this time of year. my computer time is precious to say the least!

i have a whole new appreciation for power 24/7 now.

anyways, dad, i hope you had a fun time celebrating the big 5-oh! i wish i could have been there to eat cheesecake and see you open all the gifts you'll never use.

i wish you were here right now. i think traveling through nepal with you would be ridiculous. i especially wish you were here to trek with me. these mountains are insane.

love you,
pig 1

Friday, March 11, 2011

kathmandu update





  • i have no doubt i will come home with a.) an extra suitcase full of fabric and beads, b.) a real monkey {monkeys and stray dogs are everywhere, in everything} c.) a nepalese child {they're all cute}
  • i still don't know what tomorrow holds. . . mandy is off to kenya tomorrow morning and i'll be all alone then. mo left the other night and now mandy is leaving me. i have a place until i get kicked out tomorrow at noon. after noon, i will have to find a place to stay {thinking the crazy cool but touristy thamel area for a while}. the rest of my plans here are still up in the air as well, but the good news is that there are lots of options {yoga/volunteering/trekking just to name a few. . . but i need to be wise with just how i spend the last of my savings!}
  • i have friends here now! most of them work for psi nepal, but still, i have friends!
  • the weather is gorgeous {cool in the mornings, mild to hot in the afternoons, and cool again at night} . . . but the pollution makes me sad {i choose pics that don't really show the pollution, but i'll have to post more later}.
  • i'm fully surprised that i haven't been more sick in nepal. i've done nothing right! i've eaten street food, radishes, carrots, and even a little lettuce, drank the milk/water/yogurt from the townspeople, and i've even brushed my teeth with the water! apparently food from nepal is notorious for getting foreigners really, really, sick {mandy has already experienced this}. other than an upset stomach, i'm doing just fine {for now}. . .
  • i've had a rough day {sarcasm}. slept in until 7:00, had tea and breakfast at the hotel buffet and read newsweek for almost two hours, tried to post pictures on fb {five photos alone takes about an hour, so i gave up quickly}, checked emails, went to the gym, to the sauna, took a shower, hand washed my laundry, and then mandy and i went to get massages at this lovely little place near the hotel. because the massage packages were so inexpensive, we both opted for an hour massage and an hour facial! it was pure bliss. i think i smiled through the whole two hours. i definitely have a future in giving/receiving massages. . . after the massages, it was a typical newari meal {chewy buffalo meat, fermented lentil pancakes, and everything in between. it might sound a little strange, but it is really good, i promise! a little less spicy than indian food, but still packed with flavor}
  • yesterday, our day off, turned out to be a little shopping day too. . . i didn't buy much and i had to keep reminding myself that i'm here for several more months, but i did come away with a rocking turquoise ring {it might just be a bit too big for my finger though}, a pair of long embroidered purple cotton shorts {they kinda resemble lederhosen!}, and get this. . . a yellowish, greenish fanny pack!thanks to mo, i've seen the beauty of the pack and i cannot wait to show nc hipsters what they're missing out on!
  • i've loved feeling connected to each place i've stayed {long term/or at least longer than a month}. in nz, i felt connected to the ground/the earth/the land thanks to wwoofing and the other farm jobs, and in nepal, i already feel like i'm getting connected with the women and women's issues here {primarily thanks to the docu. work and research}. . .
  • today was also the first day i've used conditioner and shaving cream this entire trip! i felt like a queen.
  • that's all for now, i need sleep and mandy does too . . . her flight is out at 7:00 tomorrow : (
{photo: 1.) mo and me at dinner in thamel, 2.) all the lovely prayer beads, 3.) view of ktm and valley from the monkey temple, 4.) ktm's durbar square, and 5.) the jamal neighborhood}

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

a room with a view


good morning friends!

it is 10:00 here and mandy and i are ready for our afternoon out on the town. today is one of the first days we have had off since we've been here and we're excited about seeing more quirky corners in ktm.

i just wanted to post this picture i took yesterday morning at 6:00 and let you all know that i'm still alive.

three things for your day:


2.) this song. i heard this almost everyday in nz and i still try to listen to it here . . . even when youtube is slow. it brings back lots of good memories, but makes me sad too.

3.) be on the lookout for a behind the scenes look at the film in the next couple of days!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

happy in nepal


it is hard to believe i've been in nepal for a full week now.

my apologies for not posting sooner, but life has been a little hectic since i left nz.

once i made it safely it to sydney, i spent a wonderful, whirlwind 24 hours in the heart of the city. by the next morning/ afternoon i was on my way to shanghai. after nine long hours on the sketchy nine hour china eastern flight, i made it to china.

i thought once i made it to china, all would be alright and i could get through to india without too much trouble.

. . . i was wrong. . .

apparently, you need to get transit visas for any country you have a layover in for more than 24 hours {even if you planned to spend all of it in the airport}. my flight plan was originally scheduled so that i'd have almost 25 hours in delhi and without a transit visa or renewed indian visa, the chinese government/china eastern airlines wouldn't allow me to board the plane in shanghai.

so i was faced with two options - be on china or india's bad side. i choose china. the thought of having bad relations with india was heartbreaking.

. . . so, there i was stuck in shanghai for two nights and almost three days! another china eastern flight to delhi didn't leave until two days later, therefore, i had no other options but stay in china.

i paid for an inexpensive {but overpriced} airport hotel and was so exhausted from all the traveling/arguing with the chinese airlines, i fell asleep almost instantly. at 5:00 am, i jumped out of bed and realized where i was and what all i still had to do. i felt sick to my stomach and entirely overwhelmed in the morning. that was the first time on this whole journey that i was homesick and tired of all the traveling.

at breakfast in the hotel {it was just me, a chinese family, and a group of monks} i met one really sweet girl who spoke good english and she helped get me out of the hotel and closer to the heart of the city. it took me all morning and into the mid-afternoon to finally get to the city center and find another budget hotel.

i finally found a way to get internet at the hotel, found s on skype, and asked her to immediately call kelsey to call home! she did and she saved the day! my lovely parents were wonderful and around midnight their time, they helped me call airlines and reschedule my delhi - kathmandu leg of the journey.

once all that was sorted out, i finally had a chance to go and explore the city {and take some photos!} china was cold, lonely, and scary at times, but now looking back, i'm glad i got to experience life there for a couple of days!

the next day, i got to the airport several hours too early, and thought everything was going to be just fine. . .

. . . i was wrong a second time. . .

once i finally got checked in, i was on my way through customs when i met some trouble. . . the airlines informed me i'd have no problems staying in china for the 48 hours necessary to wait for the next flight out. apparently, they lied and i did run across some major issues.

the woman at customs had to call the "inspector" and the inspector plus his possy led me down this long, dark hallway into this white-walled room with only a desk inside. i was asked to sit and then i was questioned. . . no joke, straight out of a movie.

i didn't know if i should play it cool, cry, or make a run for it. in the end, i did a little of both. okay, maybe not the running part, but i was incredibly overwhelmed and scared!

eventually, after a long time and several conversations in rather broken english, i was asked to pay an expensive fine and sign a stack of papers, all in chinese. even though the officers tried their best to explain what the documents contained, i still doubt i will be allowed into china for sometime {maybe ever again!}. after all this madness, i had just ten minutes to find my gate and board the long-awaited flight to india.

i can barely remember the flight out of china, i was just so relieved to be out of the country, and once i made it to india, i felt like i was at home. i was greeted by all the sweet indian men with a happy face and a "morning madam." i wanted to hug them all.

it was around 2:00 am once i made it to delhi and my flight out to ktm was around 9:00. the only other trouble i experienced once in kathmandu was once agian with my visa {but this time it was b/c i didn't have enough cash on me - thanks china!}. thankfully, my new nepali friend was there to help me out though and he lent me money until i could pay him back! even after i paid him, he offered to help get me to the hotel and even rode with me in the taxi.

after all the madness, i've had a relatively easy time adjusting to life here!

the hotel is seriously posh and it has been such a relief staying with the rest of the film crew.

even though i don't have much to say now about the project, i know that i made the right decision coming early. i love this work and i'm incredibly thankful for this opportunity.

i don't think it is an overstatement saying that this experience has already changed my life.

more to come later my lovelies!

. . . but for now, enjoy the start of spring {all the trees are and flowers are in bloom here in nepal}.

{photo from swayambhunath, aka the monkey temple}