Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rafting at Pokhara

Pokhara is a very popular spot in Nepal, and despite this being our third year here I had yet to go and Jeremiah was only there for a stop-over.  We ate, shopped, rested and rafted.  Jeremiah stayed behind with the kiddos and I went with the group.  A short van ride and we were at the river.

The following are a sequence of one rapid from start to finish:

And let me tell you, no doubt about it, that water is cold!  Pokhara was definitely warmer than Kathmandu has been (long sleeve shirts versus heavy coats) but that splash shirt did little to keep us warm.  Though the rapids weren't as intense as at Last Resort it was tons of fun and over way too quickly!

Friday, November 7, 2014


We've had a sick house the last couple weeks.  Two of us with fevers that wouldn't quit. 

The nurses and receptionists at the clinic we go to are starting to remember me, and at a travel clinic with expats in and out all the time they NEVER remember you.

Yesterday, day 4 of my fever, I went into the clinic and the doctor described fevers as such: Fevers back home are usually telling you something like, hey - slow down.  Rest.  Take care of yourself.   Most of the time not so serious.  Fevers in Nepal, however, can mean nasty business.

Thanks for speaking my language doctor.

And nasty business it is...maybe.  Turns out typhoid, which is what they think I might have, is a tricky bugger to culture as a definitive positive test.  It's sitting down in the lab still growing.  But it's no good to just sit and wait for some bacteria to grow on a petri dish before doing something about it, so treatment it is.  Daily trips to the clinic for at least 4 days for IV antibiotics.

The good news is, I'm feeling better (as demonstrated by my ability to put together a coherent blog post)!  Fingers crossed (on those freshly washed hands) to better health!

October festivities

Dashain, Tihar and Halloween, plus Tegan's birthday, have meant it was a busy month!

We traveled to Krabi, Thailand for Dashain, and while it rained most of the time we were there it was a restful and fun vacation (check out the pictures of the super kid-friendly hotel we stayed in, not our typical hotel but with a group it was perfect).

Making pancakes with Nutella and banana - yes please!

Rain!  Still Beautiful.

View from our hotel room, yes, the adults did try the kids-only water slides

Kid's play room with all sorts of toys, activities and a ball pit!

Kathmandu got spiffed up for Tihar with mandalas, twinkle lights and strings of marigolds.
Food from a Tihar party

Mandala at our house leading Laxmi (goddess of wealth) into our home

We got in the Halloween spirit with pumpkin carving, caramel apples and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  We trick-or-treated in our neighborhood and via a cab ride at our friends' houses.  Definitely an expat Halloween.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

When visitors come

When visitors come it immediately pulls you back to a time when the sights, smells and experiences you have everyday were not everyday.  Back to when it was all fresh and raw.  

There are cows in the road.  So much poverty.  Sight-seeing.  Mountains.  The saris are beautiful.  Pollution - garbage, air, noise.  Trekking.  Temples.  Namaste.  

It's exciting for awhile, but it is also comforting when you settle back into your norm.  The familiar, routine.  And once again the city is not a tourist destination, it is home.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I'm a sucker for fruit and am always game to try a new variety.  We spent this Dashain holiday in Krabi, Thailand and at breakfast one morning a weird looking fruit was set out.  I thought at first it was a type of lychee, but wasn't.  After some googling I've decided it was Salek, or snakefruit.  No one else in our group wanted to try it.  I wasn't going to be put off by the chicken foot appearance and decided to go for it; it was not good.  I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't ripe and next time I run across it I'll give it another go, but more hesitantly and with less anticipation.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why McDonalds?

When we travel you can usually count on us hitting up a McDonalds or Starbucks where ever we are. Why is that, when at home in the states those are not places we hardly ever eat at? A couple reasons: 1) it's food from home and 2) it's pretty darn consistent.

Sure, we can get a pizza most places we go but you never really know what you are going to get (clams and corn on the "meat lovers"? Yeah, that happened). If you are looking to order favorite foods from home it is best to have your expectations set low; it often comes out at best with something not quite right, and at worst just all wrong. But at McDonalds that quarter pounder and French fries is about the same where ever you go (except of course at places that don't serve beef, then you've got interesting new things to try like the McVeggie. It's also fun to see the local additions - taro pies in Taiwan for example). I can order my Starbucks drink, in English no less, anywhere and I know exactly what I'm getting. So while it's not necessarily what we'd consider good food, or the food we miss the most, it is familiar and there is something comforting in that.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tikka powder

I can't get enough of this stuff, it's beautiful.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Catching up.... or not

You know when you get behind in something and think you'll catch up but the idea of doing so is too daunting so you keep putting it off longer and longer?  That's how it's been with our blogs.  So I'm cutting losses and starting with the here and now: it's Dashain season and in a few days we will have a week vacation!  The Dashain swing at our house finally fell down last month, but Tegan got to play on one that was put up at school.  Monday we will fly kites and Wednesday be on our way to Thailand for some R and R.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Exhausting and so much fun!  A little bit different than the last time we were there.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Road repair

Last week I noted to a friend while we walked home that I thought a dip in our road was getting worse. True enough, the next day on our way to work there was a big hole where the dip once was. Coming home we saw the hole had been "repaired", ie. filled in with rubble.

Shockingly, this method didn't seem to work as this morning the hole was back, this time with a branch poking out to alert drivers.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paris from a different perspective

Both Jeremiah and I had been to Paris before, and I'm glad we had because this trip was totally different than the Paris I think of. Instead of meandering through the Louvre, sipping coffee with croissants, and seeing the sights at night all lit up, we carried children around, managed oozing Nutella crepes and sought out playgrounds. Not that any of that was bad, just different and a wee bit exhausting.
We bought some good kids books...

watched boats go by...

wondered where all the keys were...

put on temporary Shakespeare tattoos with water from the public fountain...

and rode the carousels ("again please, again?")

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Seeing the sights in and around Rodez

While in France for spring break we got to see some of the beautiful architecture and countryside around Rodez. Cathedrals are of course the thing the see while in Europe, and these didn't disappoint (except from Tegan's perspective since she had to be quiet while inside!). It was equally nice to walk small roads of small towns and admire the cobblestone and stone buildings, such a contrast to the brick buildings of Kathmandu.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Moving abroad with young kids

Have an infant or toddler (or both!) and thinking of taking your family abroad to live? Already taken a job abroad and are thinking about what you need to plan for your little ones? Though our kids were born while we were already abroad, we have some thoughts on this based on our experiences and those of others we know.
1. Seek out other families already settled in your new country well before you leave - what advice do they have?

If you are going overseas because of a job that regularly places people overseas they should be able to help with your transition. But if you are on your own find blogs/message boards/etc with families already living in the country or town where you will relocate to and reach out. I get emails all the time and do my best to answer questions. Ask them the questions you know you have, but also ask what their day to day life is like, this can give you a better idea of what to expect.

2. Think ahead to what you might need for the next few stages.
Will your baby start eating solids and need baby food? Start walking and need shoes? Will your toddler hit a growth spurt and need a whole new wardrobe (seemingly overnight as is usually the case)? What medicines will you need? Diapers? Training diapers? Once you have brainstormed, try to figure out what will be available in your new country. It's also good to know about shipping into the country and if there are restrictions.
3. People will have opinions about your move, and will probably voice them. Be ready with your response.
We come across a lot of surprise, polite questioning of motives, the "oh your families must miss you", and "I could never do that because..." (which is really often a judgement in disguise). We know why we live abroad and the benefits for our family and share these to varying degrees depending on the individual. Some will never understand. Some will be inspired. Some will live vicariously through you.

4. Make a plan of communication with family and friends.
Find a time that Skype works for you. Set up a blog. Facebook pictures. Email. Do what works for you and the folks back home.

5. Bring traditions from home and start new ones.
Christmas in a country that is Buddhist will never be the same as Christmas at home. Easter will go by without a blink of an eye. And you will have new holidays to learn and celebrate. Make the best out of all of it. Bring things from home or recreate holiday traditions and find some new things your family can do and possibly take with you when you leave.

6. Find other families to hang out with.
It'll help. For everything ranging from figuring out where to buy the good diapers to what preschool options are out there to venting about ____. Support networks are always a plus.
7. Think of some routines for bed and nap time that are not place specific.
Moving abroad will inevitably involve many different cribs/beds/airplane seats/laps/car seats - you name it - both during the trip there, but in settling-in and travel once you get there.

8. Know that things will be different, and different is ok, it can even be great! (Though fried pork fiber for baby? Not great).
Are you raising a young family overseas? What advice do you have?