Friday, August 31, 2012

Room with a view

These blues and greens don't mess around!  View from Kopan Monastery.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Alternatively known as Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath is a large area on the top of a hill with a stupa, shrines and temples that is home to many monkeys.  We went on a hot Saturday mid-day and it was busy!  It was great to see all the different people and types of worship done, though we will definitely go back when it is cooler and hopefully not as crowded to get a better chance to explore all the areas Swayambhunath has.

Being around monkeys makes me a little nervous.  We went to a number of monkey temples in India, and learned they can get quite feisty.  We went with no food and kept our distance when we could.

The panorama picture Jeremiah took a couple posts ago was from Swayambhunath, we're hoping next time we visit it is a clear day!

Friday, August 24, 2012


We were invited to "the slab" tonight - a locals hangout in Kirtipur area.  Pretty sure they don't see a lot of foreigners, and when they do they are from our school.  Drinks were poured from up high while we sat on the ground.  We sampled the local chhaang, (the drink in the bottom of the first picture).  Spicy potatoes, momos and meat we think was goat (that accidentally got ordered when they misunderstood our question about a bathroom) rounded out the meal.  Tegan was passed around by the staff and she impressed all by putting her hands together when they said "namaste".  The view was awesome even on a cloudy drizzly afternoon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


In our living room alone we have 3 different outlet plug types; our power goes off at least once a day, often two or three, for between 30 minutes to a couple hours (and this will only increase as winter approaches); there is a machine on top of our fridge that I'm not quite sure what it does except sometimes it keeps the fridge on, and sometimes it turns it off; and in between our living room and guest room there is a big battery-like contraption.

Needless to say electricity in Kathmandu is not as easy as turning on a switch.  Because of limited power we experience load-shedding, which is the (somewhat) systematic way of conserving energy.  Each district is on a schedule and your power is shut off according to that schedule (not always a perfect system however).  Our school has supplied us with an inverter, basically a battery back-up for our house, allowing us to turn on the lights in the room we are in and run small bits of electricity like our laptops through specially configured outlets.  This means big things, like oh, say a fridge or our electric water heater (which is only hooked up to our shower by the way, not the rest of the house), do not work.

We are learning to work within this system, and improving on what we have (like converting the electric water heater to gas so we don't have to have cold showers all winter!).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rainy season

Rainy season is coming to an end, but we've had a few good rains since we've been here.  This one Tegan checked out (and loved):

Friday, August 10, 2012

International flying with an infant

With two long international flights under our belts, and a few domestic ones also, I feel like we may have some advice to offer those who are about to undertake it.  None of this is new information, it's spattered all over the internet, but here you go just the same:

1. Bassinet seats - they didn't work for us since Tegan is not a great sleeper and was pretty big by the time we flew back to the states.  If your little one can sleep on their own in new places though, make sure to reserve a bulkhead bassinet seat!  Airlines vary in their bassinet reservation practices.
2. Get a seat for the baby if you can, the extra space is invaluable.
3. We packed 2 diaper bags, one we kept at our feet and the other in the overhead as back up.  During layovers I restocked and rotated out toys.

4. Bring some favorite toys and some new ones to entertain.  Also, the seatbelt or safety card can be fascinating new objects to explore (side note: some safety cards are better laminated than others, check yours before your sweet one eats the corner off the first page).

5. Pre-boarding is great for getting your stuff on the plane without everyone breathing down your neck to get past you, but not an easy time to sit on the hot plane with baby waiting for takeoff.  If there are 2 of you, have 1 pre-board with all of the stuff and the other hang out with your tot and board towards the end.

6. Nurse, bottle, or pacifier on take-off and landing to help their ears.  We also used a straw sippy cup when Tegan wasn't into nursing.  I recommend waiting until the plane is speeding down the runway to take off before starting any of these otherwise they are done before you are in the air.  Nursing is tricky in those tight spaces - watch their head sticking out into the aisle!  Bonus - sometimes these things combined with the rumble of take off will put them to sleep.  On the way down we started once we noticed our own ears popping.
7. Those things you don't want them to do on a regular basis at home (watch TV, play with your phone, eat sweet puff finger foods)?  I say go for it on the plane!

8. When the seatbelt sign is off walk and stretch as much as you can - you never know when you will be in turbulence and for how long.

9.  Your baby will cry, it's ok.  Most people we've talked to say they feel for the parents more than anything else.

10. Some immigration/passport checks have special lines for pregnant women, families with children and elderly - look for them (Taiwan and Bangkok both have them).

11.  Bring a blanket to lay out and play on during layovers.
12. Find the other babies/kids on the flight.  Let the kids check each other out; commiserate with fellow parents.

13. High fives all around when you land - you made it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What we ate

Lunch at school:

Stuffed with chicken and other goodness.  Those dumplings in the back are momos - more on those later!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


After being carefully delivered around Kathmandu by our school all week, a group of us decided to head out on our own this weekend.  We went nearby to the Boudha (alternatively, Bauddha or Boudhanath) stupa, a site that we came across often in our Nepal googling before we got here. It is a holy Tibetan Buddhist temple, a world heritage site and one of the largest spherical stupas in the world - a great place to start our Nepal exploration.  I was prepared for the site to feel touristy, but surprisingly there were few western folks and the shops around, while I'm sure tourist traps, didn't feel overly commercial.  I'm sure we will go back again.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Home sweet home

We arrived in Kathmandu on Monday after 35 hours of travel.  We were greeted by a group of teachers and since then have been on the go getting oriented and settled into the city and our new school.  We've been shopping for food and home items, got our phones working, have internet, learned the ropes for food/water safety and electricity issues, and met many great, interesting, people.

Below is a picture of our new home.  We will post some pictures of the inside once things are a bit more put together.  It's a great house with lots of charm and is a short walk from school.
We are very excited to be here and loving every bit of it so far!

Friday, August 3, 2012