Saturday, April 30, 2011

books read a long the way. . .

we had lots of down time on the trail/ at the guest houses and during the time we were away, i managed to read through all three of these - tilled earth, travels with charley, and a time to kill {*not a normal john grishom reader, but when it's all you have with you. . . you'll read it}

i must admit, i haven't read as much on this trip as i thought i would, so i thoroughly enjoyed the quiet times we had just sitting, reading a book and drinking a tea after a long day's hike.

i'm thinking shantaram next. . .

any other good book recommendations dear friends?

i already miss those mountains. . .

got back to ktm this afternoon.

i'm still a good bit overwhelmed by all that just went down in those mountains. never before have i felt that small/that inspired.

legs are still sore, clothes still stink, and i've still got dreds!

{photo of sunrise + mountains + trees on the trail}

Sunday, April 17, 2011

about to . . .

go on a long, beautiful, and crazy trek in the himalayas y'all!

brad got in two days ago, we decided on our trek, and just got in to pokhara an hour ago. it is all moving very fast now. . . the trip from ktm to pkh was long, hot, and exactly what you expect from a long bus ride in nepal. {there is only one road out of ktm and it takes you to both chitwan and pokhara so i had already driven most of the trip just two days before}.

we packed last night - i left most everything back in ktm and i am afraid i am going to put the trekking community to shame. . . i don't have official trekking shoes/boots just my lovely salomons, i have a lowepro camera back instead of a real hiking pack, and i have glittens instead of real gloves.

after seeing friend's recent pictures and hearing stories, we hope we have warm enough gear. there is still snow on the mountains and ground and nights get uncomfortably chilly. we packed light but we at least packed our warmest layers.

we are also going sans guide or porter. . . so. . . two to three weeks with just our maps and gear is going to be incredible, challenging, and hopefully rewarding. i know if i survive {laughter. . .yes, friends and family, we're going to be fine} i'm coming back in the best shape of my life!

i cannot wait to see these mountains up close and to spend this amount of uninterrupted time in the nature!

annapurna circuit here we come! {please do check it out if you aren't familiar with treks in nepal}

it's going to be one incredible journey and i think i'm ready. . .

all my love from nepal!

{also you most likely won't see a post from me until may}



Thursday, April 14, 2011

a funny little video

one of my best and brightest students was also a hilarious little dude.

whenever he'd sit across from me he'd look over at me, catch my eyes and do this.

love him. i also think i miss my little class already {even if they were little terrors at times. . .}


happy new year {again!}

happy 2068 world!

today is new years day here in nepal. the nepali calendar is funky. 2068? really?

i've made it safe and sound back to kathmandu. i'm currently skyping with my lovely sarah and we're talking about the summer.

it is hard for me to think about what life will be like come summer. all i can think about is the here and now and i'm happy with living in the present. . . something i haven't always been good at in the past.

today on the forever long {but entirely gorgeous} bus ride from chitwan, i had my head out the window, listening to my ipod, and watching the lovely scenery pass, i was reminded of the little note my daddy gave me before leaving. . . all he wrote was:

- - - - - - - - -
wow! it is time to go finally. while you are away wake-up every morning:

- with a smile
- with energy
- with a zeal for life
- with god
- with thoughts of us back in nc
- with thankfulness that god created such a cool place called earth
- and finally carry this portait with you {* a lovely little sketch of dad's favorite girl, dublin}

love you sweetie,
- - - - - - - - -

in chitwan i did i wake up every morning with those things in mind. i am entirely thankful for my time in chitwan. each day brought a new adventure.

as incredible as ktm is, you can't stay here forever and chitwan gave me a whole new appreciation for nepal.

i am excited to see what's next. tomorrow will change a lot and i will officially have someone to travel with for a little while.

carlos, trevor, mel, and i did a massive music and photo exchange before i left today and this lovely little song will make me happy every time i hear it. . . and make me miss mel and chitwan and all the people. . .

oh. . . and one more thing, i did get to ride my elephant yesterday.

{i already miss this little dude in the photos. louis is bhim's youngest son and he was a constant source of laughs. just look at him with his bowl of pomegranate seeds or with my water bottle. he had a little obsession with my bottle. everytime he saw me he'd come running screaming "didi pani!!!" [sister water!]. these were all taken just moments after he woke up.}

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

elephants, bikes, and kids

i almost got to ride an elephant today. . .

the weather here is monsoon-like at the moment and the idea of sitting on an elephant for a few hours in the jungle in this weather = not the most ideal jungle safari.

the problem is that i'm leaving lovely chitwan tomorrow for kathmandu {local bus at 5:30 or tourist bus at 9:30? which one should i go for?} and i really want to ride an elephant. . .

i guess i'll just have to come back : )

these past few days have been crazy and full of incredible experiences. i wake up by 6:00 each morning, have my tea, then for the past few days the three other volunteers and i have been digging these massive holes for the bio-gas projects in the neighboring village {i'll have to share photos soon}, then in the afternoon i've been going to sauraha to teach english, then we go back in the hole to dig more in the late afternoon. by the time we get back at night, usually around 7:00, we're all beat and we can barely move. most nights i lead the group in a little restorative yoga and then we have our daal bhat and go to bed by 9:00 or 10:00! . . . and do it all again the next morning. . .

last night we all gave each other neck massages and watched this movie.

got to go now. . . others are waiting for the internet cable. i just wanted to give y'all a little update.

{photo of mel and trevor and all the crazy elephants}

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

one more little note

i am feeling better! i guess i just needed a little break from kathmandu i guess. . .

my throat isn't sore anymore, but it still looks and feels swollen at times. it is getting better though and i am not worried. you shouldn't be either {. . . mom & abby!}

. . . also, i'm thoroughly obsessed with rice fields. always have been, always will be.

{photo from the field right beside the house}

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

with love from chitwan

i'm entirely in love with this place.

once again, i only wish i was a more elegant writer and could share with you all just how happy i have been here these past few days.

i arrived in chitwan with bhim {the director of webnepal} and carlos {a volunteer from spain} on sunday {pronounced aitabaar in nepali . . . the days of the week have been my focus yesterday and today} and moved into bhim's house in the outskirts of sauraha. currently there are four volunteers living here {carlos from spain, trevor from canada, mel from france, and me} in addition to all of bhim's family and most of his extended family {i still don't know how we all fit in every night!}. on my second day, i was given a bike and all of us volunteers went to the school/ room where we are supposed to be teaching the kids english and conservation {there is just no organization and we never really know what we are supposed to be doing. . . but i love it. loads of freedom!}

having a bike, an old, lovely, rickety thing, has sorta changed my life. i adore the 20 to 25 minute ride to school each day. i love riding on the dirt and gravel roads, love the dust, love the hot sun, love being the only white person around, love passing over bamboo bridges, and love dodging the elephants on the road.. . . just to name a few things. . .

everday i see at least half a dozen or dozen elephants! that is when i feel the farthest away from home.

it's so crazy, wonderful, and empowering here.

my life couldn't get any better at the moment.

chitwan is seriously hot this time of year and i feel like i am right back in india. . . it is bearable, but still, you have to get up early and stay up late if you want to spend any time outside.

this morning, mel and i woke up at 6:00, took a barefoot walk {at sunrise} by the river, helped lakshmi peel the potatoes for the dal bhat, had our masala tea, did a little yoga class with the nieces, and then tried to check email. everyday i am at school from noon until 2:00 p.m.

after class today {it went really well this afternoon and i got excited because i felt like the kids really understood the assignment [for once!]} i went to town. in town i had more tea with the shop owners and talked with them about my home and how great a time i've had in nepal. plus i found the ring i have been searching for the whole time i've been in nepal! it was just too much money {even after i talked the man down to half price. oh bargaining! i am getting better at it for sure. . . it is just a way of life here and if you don't do it, you won't survive}

i am back at home now and am excited because i have internet access! hooray.

{i hope these images help you see why i love this place so very much. these were all taken yesterday on our bike ride back from town. 1.) trevor + mel down the path + the glorious magenta sunset 2.) me + mel + rice fields + sunset + laugher 3.) my sexy little bike that is a good bit too short for me 4.) me + mel + loving life faces again [mel is a real inspiration. chitwan has been her home for the past 6 months. she is carlos, trevor, and my nepali teacher and guide in addition to a lot of other things] & 5.) sunset + workers in the fields. . . it all reminds me a good bit of this very idyllic pic from the eat, pray, love movie}

Saturday, April 2, 2011

starting to feel like home to me

this short, bad quality video was taken today on the ride back from the hospital. it was a really long ride and i was a little bored, so i thought i'd show you the place that's really starting to feel like home for me. . . it isn't all that exciting of a video, and i would have talked, but it would have freaked the silent taxi driver out to have the funky american girl chatting it up in the back!

really sorry for the poor quality. . . yes, film is one of the things i want to study in college . . . i know. . . i have lots to learn.

the sickness

as it turns out i am more ill than i thought i was.

after talking with mom last night about my lingering earache and sore throat, she called the dr. back home. the fact that i cannot open my mouth or stick out my tounge worried the dr. and mom encouraged me to find a hosptial/er/clinic/ something here.

so. . . after a long breakfast {tried to eat eggs and toast, but the toast was out of the question} and a skype call to madre and my insurance company, i went to find the dr. recommended to me by the josefchuk family of all people! i must say when i went to my email i felt very loved. so many people have been praying for me and helping make contacts here.

i got a taxi to the other side of town, then wandered into the hospital. i was then directed to the er and asked to sit on a sticky blue bed. {1st visit to the er in a foreign country. . . just anotherexperience i've had recently}

after a solid 20 min. the nurse, a guy about my age who didn't speak english came in and started sticking things in my mouth and checking my blood pressure. he left suddenly and then the dr. came in. another young guy, but this time he spoke excellent english. the first thing we actually talked about was unc once he heard i was from north carolina. he was researching the best public health programs in the world, and unc was at the top. i encouraged him to visit and he said that one of these days he will.

after the small talk, he checked my ear and throat and looked a little scared once he saw my throat {plus i apparently still have tikka powder in my ear left from holi. . . two weeks ago. . .}. he was concerned too and didn't know what to prescribe, so he had to call "the specialist".

after another 45 min. of waiting {i just drew pics, thinking i could be in private and do this, but no. . . i'm in nepal! all the nurses came in to see what i was doing and started flipping through my journal without even asking} . . . then the specialist arrived {in jeans and a t-shirt. today was his day off and he had to come see the strange patient}.

why do i always get the weird illnesses? like shingles at age seven? when i get sick, it get sick with the weird stuff.

so apparently i have this strange case of tonsillitis still and it has only attacked one side of my body. he said if it gets any worse i'll have to get surgery. NOT COOL.

so everyone, please pray that my three meds will just knock this sucker out and i won't have to get something more done here!

he said i could go to chitwan tomorrow, but he wouldn't recommend it. . . i'm going anyway. . . i think a little break from the ktm air will do me a world of good right now.

i'm not saying this to brag, but i think i've always had a fairly high pain tolerance and if it was up to me, and not my mother, i would have been my typical stubborn self and not have gone this afternoon. i'm usually a big believer in giving sickness time. . . but this has gone on long enough without any improvement. . .

thank you mother. you always do know what is right.

if this gets worse, i could potentially loose my voice or not be able to breathe normally he said. also, NOT COOL.

i have confidence this will work out and i will get better. i'm just tired of pain and i want to be able to eat a real meal and enjoy it too!

nepal, you're wonderful, but man, you sure have been rough on me!

{enjoy the pics. . . these are the only three i took at the hospital. love the wide-eyed look of confusion in number two. also, i am very, very thankful the bill didn't wipe out all that i have left in my savings!}