Friday, September 4, 2009

Trailing no more ... for now

We are back at home in the States. It is good to be home. Grocery stores are still a little overwhelming and I stare at potable water coming from the tap in wonder but transitions are going fairly well ... so far.

Come by and visit. I can't promise you an exotic foreign locale ... but it will still be me.


Namaste Nepal

I write this from the study in our home in the US. I had grand plans about ending this blog with all the pictures I had hoped to post but didn't have time to but I think it is time to wrap this up and move on!

We had a wonderful tour. It was a great three years for our family and I will always look back at this chapter in our lives with great fondness.

I posted earlier about what my children said they would miss so now it is time for me to pony up. Here is my top ten list:

1) Our helpers. Not just for the wonderful work they did for us thereby freeing us up to enjoy and experience their country but for them as people. Mana Co-Mothered with me and loved on and cared for my children in a way for which I will be always grateful. During our tenure there were births, deaths, joys and hardships in their families and ours. It was my privilege to know them - truly.

2) Countless individuals. There are some very, very interesting people in the 'Du! I had friends from many different countries who were doing things either currently or in their former lives that were so unique to me. (e.g. my friend the wildlife biologist who spends half her year in an Indian forest tracking Tigers and other big cats in hopes that large companies won't encroach on their habitats etc. She is the first wildlife biologist I've ever met - smile.) We had many friends from the different communities we were a part of whom I will miss.

3) People in general. Driving anywhere was endlessly fascinating just watching the street scape unfold before you. There were people doing all kinds of things along the roads: bathing, getting their hair cut, brushing their teeth, selling their wares, carrying their children, chatting with neighbors and making their way through the crazy Kathmandu traffic.

4) Our church community. It was a fabulous community of people doing amazing things in the name of Christ. I smile when I think of our Scottish pastor's brogue.

5) The weather! Temperate. Loved it. Monsoon's not so great ... but it isn't so bad either.

6) While I am on the subject of Monsoon - I loved that my children learned to run outside and play in the rain. I also will never forget the colors of the Monsoon skies. Glorious.

7) The small town experience. While I am speaking of the expat bubble it really was amazing to me how you really knew someone everywhere you went. I know it would drive some people nuts but for me it was for a season and I enjoyed it.

8) I will miss how affordable life was on a western salary! Back to reality - sigh.

9) The Himalayas! When the monsoon rains were over and the sky cleared we had a couple of months of beautiful views of the mountains from the valley. They are indeed majestic and speak of their Creator.

10) Color. I'll miss the saris blowing in the wind on the back of motorcycles, the spice shops and powdered dye kiosks and crazy painted trucks.

The Nepalis taught me to question why I am in a hurry. Exactly what prize do I get for cramming more into a day? They taught me to be grateful for every relationship and every thing in my life. They showed me that waste is shameful in light of the poverty that most Nepalis live in. I am grateful to them.

With this I will end my blogging adventure. Thanks for those of you who "followed", commented and encouraged me!

Namaste Nepal!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Packers, Forklifts and Saying Goodbye

The packers swarmed like locusts on our house last week! They came, they saw and they conquered ... our house is empty save the embassy issued furniture and our suitcases. My children watched with fascination this morning as a forklift moved our containers into the waiting trucks. (They came at 5:30AM as trucks aren't allowed inside the ring road after a certain hour.) Our computer, however, was also packed up (someone get these people a laptop!) so I write you from the Embassy CLO office.

I'm not quite ready to end this blog! I didn't finish. I have more pictures! So, what to do?

When we unpack the computer I'll give myself a few weeks to "finish" and then say Namaste to "Trailing Spouse in Kathmandu". Did you know there are all kinds of services that will print your blog into a book? While the initial aim of this blog was to answer the many questions we were asked about life here with a family and give our own friends and family a way to stay connected, it definitely morphed into a creative outlet for me which I have needed and appreciated. I'd love to get it printed through one of these services and keep copies for the children to remember this chapter of their lives.

I can't write any final reflections from where I sit. CNN is on in the background and there is that low level hum of office noises that keep me from concentrating. (I really did work in an office at one point in my life - how did I do this?).

We still have shy of one week left to enjoy the 'Du and say our goodbyes unemcumbered by our own belongings. We all go on a "stuff" diet when we get back to the States.

Namaste ....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Official Fourth - Aloha!

Because we win the "Velveeta on Toast" award for being the most cheesy ... I had to post this. (It goes along with our Sari/Sherwani picture that I haven't posted).

Thank you President Obama for being born in Hawaii! It made for a much better theme for the official Fourth party than a few other states I could think of ... but won't mention (smile - think about the possibility of wearing Colonial garb and cringe a bit). The Ambassador held her official national day party and it was a great success complete with a Tiki Bar, Hawaiian music and food. Some people were following the coconut shrimp server around during the whole reception - hilarious.

I promise in ten years of marriage this is the only time we have ever worn matching clothes. Did you know you can order Hawaiian attire online? There are HUNDREDS of patterns. Amazing.

Today no "Namastes". Aloha baby.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Fourth!

The last two summers I was at home with the kids on the Fourth while Bill was back here in the 'Du. So this year - keepin' the family together - we celebrated here. The American Club put on a big event for any US citizens who happened to be in town. There were games, pony rides, cotton candy, a dunking booth and other requisite trappings of the holiday. It was most important to us though that the kids were present for the Marines' presentation of the colors and the Ambassador's reading of President Obama's address. No fireworks but we all had a great day!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Jodhaa Akbar

I know I am supposed to be getting ready for pack out, but Bollywood beckoned once again and I couldn't help myself.

May I mention that I truly did marry a wonderful man who will watch these things with me and even like them sometimes?!

Jodhaa Akbar just may be India's "Gone With The Wind". This film is the epic love story of a Muslim Mughal Emperor who marries a Rajput Hindu princess. Both Hrithik and Aishwarya are easy on the eyes, the costumes are UNBELIEVABLE and the literal cast of thousands dance sequences are amazing. There is a Sufi number that is really beautiful. Most of the score is lovely but there are these dramatic "DaNaaaaaa" moments when you know something bad is about to go down that are slightly amusing. There are a few battle scenes to stomach but I just made a point to avert my eyes before the elephant foot makes oatmeal of the soldier's head. Jodhaa Akbar is not completely historically accurate but that doesn't detract from the positive aspects of the film.

Get a big bowl of popcorn ready - this movie is three hours and forty five minutes long!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Must I Must Get Organized!

We are getting ready to Namaste Nepal and I can't believe it. Two more weeks until packout and then two more until wheels up.

I think I'm more anxious than I'll admit and there is still a lot to do in the next two weeks but really, as one friend reminded me - "Just hide the kids, pets and passports and they'll just pack everything else up". I know from experience that this is true but a little organization beforehand ultimately relieves some stress on the day of the move.

So this is my GRAND PLAN:

This week or next week:
1) Clean out closets and drawers for clothing giveaway.
2) Attack the "in" box in our office! (Where I pretend I am very organized and have four bins labeled ACT, R&D (read and dispose), FILE, SHRED. Two out of the four of those are always, always full.)
3) Cajole the hoodlums to part with more toys.

Two days prior to packers:
1) Pack our suitcases with whatever we can't live without in the next three weeks or so until the air freight arrives.
2) Collect all the things we can't live without for the next three months on the living room floor for air freight.

To any Foreign Service/Military Moms who are lurking ... I need you now! Advice people!

Now that doesn't sound so bad, does it? I feel better already.