old habits…

almost two years with few words.

well, with some weeks (or months) in front of me with little else to occupy my mind, i suppose this is a good a time as any to begin again.

i’m thinking that this might be another significant shift, and while the thought of just beginning a new blog crossed my mind, it did not stay. my past is as much a part of the present as the future is….hmmm, there might be something worth thinking about in that statement…

 

oprah sucks!

yes, i know, so mature of me….

seriously though, i tuned into her show for the first time on about a year and was so disappointed in her lack of understanding and perspective about the very serious issue of public education in the usa. with her new low of uninformed sensationalism she shows herself to be an official bandwagon jumper. not only is her lack of understanding of the issues in education is apparent,  she has also provided a national platform to present an oversimplistic solution to complex problems. what a huge disservice she has done for the children she wants to support. a big “yuck” to her!

isn’t she supposed to be retiring?  none to soon i think. perhaps she should try to be a teacher in an underfunded, demoralized public school…..she wouldn’t last long in the real world – that’s for sure!

and a “new” year begins

too damed intense for me right now. perhaps the juggling of 2 and a half jobs right now has something to do with it. whatever the cause, my energy is a swirling mass of tension and anxiety. i need to sloooowwww down….

this week – ramping up for a new year of work,  a leaky nmachine, catching up on two contract jobs, a rather intense monologue to my colleagues containing my displeasure at their views of the world, and a minor car accident this morning on my way to work (the veritable last straw for my four wheeled companion of 10 years)….

on the good side – a call from an old friend….and i guess things could be worse (shhh….i don’t want to tempt the fates…).

days fly…

they do…

the past weeks have been a whirl of family and work. visits with family from near and far warmed my heart, and i got to spend some time with my two favorite eight year olds in the world.

i’m back at work on the hill now. and i am still working full time for another job, so i always feel like i am trying to catch up on what i have to do. somewhere along the way i just decided that what i get done will have to be enough. how did i become so zen ? 🙂

this weekend one of my closest friends is coming to visit for the week-end after not seeing each other for over a year. spending time together is like wearing a pair of my most comfortable slippers.

during the family time i stole away with my mom and aunt for a quick trip to coupeville. we stopped for few pix at the breath-taking deception point on whidbey island…

home…

the kathmandu airport is a series of security checks with numerous scans, pats downs and searches. we leave kathmandu on monday afternoon, and arrive, tired already, in bangkok early monday evening. the 4 a.m. wake up call the next morning means an early bedtime, but there is little sleep for me. an upset stomach, an uncomfortable bed, and desire to be home wake me regularly though the night.

the phone wakes us on time, and by 5 a.m. we are on the shuttle to the airport. a call to room service for a pot of coffee had yielded only a weak cup of instant nescafe, so i am still not fully awake.  the suvarnabhumi airport is already bustling. as it is our sixth time through this airport in two weeks, it feels quite familiar to me. after two preliminary security checks i am at the united counter, upgrading our seats to “comfort plus” for the first leg of out flight to vancouver (the extra five inches of leg room more a necessity than a luxury). despite my exhaustion, i don’t sleep on the flights home. instead, i watch an entire season of dexter, and nurse my uspset stomach….

i see the snow capped mountains of the north shore through the airplane window as we descend. the feeling of relief is both gentle and unexpected. i am home….

walking into yvr, i am struck by the light and the airiness. i am very used to this airport, but this time I see it with new eyes (eyes that had grown accustomed to the dark and bleakness of the kathmandu airport, its numerous odd security checks, and gruff rifle toting airport personnel…)

 leaving the airport, i wait for one of my travelling companions to retrieve her car from the parking lot, and i breathe in the welcome sea air as it cleanses my spirit.i think agin “i am home”….

 it takes me a while to adjust to being home. the two or three days awake were cured by a 21 hour sleep, and a stomache parasite by a dose of antibiotics. i still think about the heat, the dirt and dust, the traffic, the myriad of faces, the heat, the elephants, the laughter, the shopping, the heat, our guesthouses, thamel, khao san, my massage, the ferry ride on the river…

the pashupatinath temple

we walk past vendors with the popular yellow chrysanthemums and entre the uneven grounds of the pashupatinath temple, a hindu temple of the lord shiva on the bagmati river. as non-hindus we do not enter the temple, but instead briefly explore the area. 

below the temple is the arya ghat, a widely used cremation site. what was obviously once a flowing river is dried up this day.  boney cattle roam the soggy river bed, and a monkey scrounges for bits of dropped food. they are not the only scroungers though. two young boys are also loading onto an old rusted cart, chunks of burned wood that had been used in the cremations. i don’t know what the boys will use or sell the wood for, but it is obvious that this task is the result of the poverty they live with and in. i look at a skinny, almost hairless dog and wonder about its life. this place is hard to be in…

as we sit on the bank opposite the temple, we witness three cremations at different stages of completion.  the fire is mesmerizing and i think about what the mourners of the deceased are thinking as they go through what seems to be an elaborate process of bidding farewell to the fleshly existence of their friend or family member….

nepal is one of the poorer countries in the world, and it is a hard place for me to be. i  learn to become “hard”, to ignore the pleading of beggars, to not think about the young men asleep on the pavement that we step over on the way  to a restaurant, to act in a way that i think of as rude when confronted by aggressive vendors from the kashmir region.  i shall not forget this place. i will keep sharp memories of the dirt and dust, the poverty, the noise and the chaos of the lanes and roads. i will also smile when i think about the buddhist vendors (easily recognizable by their soft manners), the frequent power outages, and when i think about the garden of our guesthouse, a little oasis in a foreign land….

and a little friend we made who lives at the guesthouse… 🙂