reasons to celebrate!

We found a flat! It surpassed our expectations, and I've been wanting to post about it, but we've been questioning if we were actually going to get it up until today. But, tomorrow husband is signing the 2 year lease. It's a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom place on the ground floor so it stays pretty cool. There's a tiny yard for Chini in the front, and the back patio opens up to a park. I love the kitchen, and there's an area for the washing machine so both baths are actually usable. And the spare bathroom has some tiles with camels on it, and frankly, that's just fun. Here are just a few pics, mainly of the outside because the inside still needs a bit of cleaning and prep before our November 1 move in date. It's a 3 story house and our flat is the one on the ground floor (first floor to the American eyes). This house was shown to us on my birthday, and I just know it is a gift from above.

This is the view when we open our back gates. Of course the tree debris will soon be gone. :)

Also this past weekend was the big Festival of Lights. We celebrated with some of our coworkers with taco soup, queso, and crackers...as in fire. Crackers are pretty much the biggest part of this festival, and we didn't want to miss out. Husband turned into a big kid, finding creative ways to light these questionably safe crackers in the street. At one point, a man with a very loud drum came by and played us some mood music which we enjoyed, some of us more than others -ahem, husband- and because my camera's flash was off all the pics look like there are just ghosts in them. The drummer wanted money, and then some other drummers came by for their money, although they had yet to play. When they began asking for money, I asked, "What did you do?" and they responded, "We played the drums!" Oh those tricky silent drums.

The Ghost of Husband dancing for Festival of Lights


happy birthday to me!

Today's my birthday!! It's only 9:30AM and already it's been a fulfilling day! I got to Skype with my in-laws and open the presents they sent me (great stuff!: candles, scrapbooking stuff, books, B&BW, and some velveeta and rotel!) and then immediately after that my mom and dad called to sing Happy Birthday to me, and they even sang in harmony! The property dealer has at least 3 flats lined up for us to check out, so we'll be leaving soon for that. I've never apartment hunted for my birthday, but I have gone to class or work on my big day, so this sure beats taking notes or sitting in front of a spreadsheet all day. Although I do love Excel.

I know exactly what I want for my birthday...a new home. :)


greetings from the Capital!

We've arrived in the Capital and in some ways, I feel like I'm back in America! Yesterday I ran to the market to pick up groceries for today's meals, and it took a total of...wait for it...35 minutes! And that included the walking to and from. So here are the positive differences I've noticed in just 24 hours of living in the Capital:
1. Produce and eggs can be found IN the grocery store.
2. Said produce is packaged.
3. Not only can I get broccoli here, but there is also lettuce and my personal fave, zucchini. Hello again, green veggies!
4. Parmesan cheese is back in my kitchen.
5. When I walked into the store, the three men glanced my way and then quickly began their conversation again. I am no longer such a novelty.

Given my incredible excitement, each one of these items should be followed by an exclamation point or three. However, I luckily realized that would be overkill.

Now before everyone begins reminding me that Capital life is not all zucchini and parmesan, I will say that I know there will be hard times that balance out these great times. I just wanted to share my joys of the moment. Thank you Boss for the small joys and reminders of your grace!


cracker party!

Tonight we had a Cracker Party with Kristof and Katarina. It wasn't a party with fireworks, or crackers as they call them here, although that would've been fun. And it wasn't a party for only white folks, although none of us represent another race. It was actually to eat the perishable food in our refrigerator with crackers. At first it was just an excuse to pig out on a big roll of half eaten summer sausage that we have. But then I realized I had some cream cheese, and an opened salsa jar, some cheddar, and some leftover hummus from this weekend, so the party evolved to crackers. It is rare to eat any meat besides chicken here, and really, the chicken doesn't taste all that good anyway (at least not to me), so a big buffet of USDA approved red meat was nice to indulge in.


the non-golf day

Saturdays are designated Date Day. Husband and I had the idea to go try out the golf course that is an hour north of us. It's billed as one of the highest and oldest golf courses in the world, so of course we had to try that out before probably never having that chance again.

Now I should mention today was going to
be my first ever time to play real golf. Upon arriving, we were told immediately that since we didn't bring any balls with us, all used balls would cost over a dollar a piece. (!) We almost turned around when we heard that, but kept going because we really wanted to play, or in my case, try. After walking up a steep hill to get to the center, we were shown a sign saying that as foreigners we would pay twice as much to play as the locals. That really didn't upset us, even though in principle it should, but we're so used to it already. However, we were told that even though we were only playing 9 holes, we had to pay the 18 hole price. I asked the guy why, thinking he could enlighten me, but he only said, "Those are just the rules." Alright. Then the man told husband, "This is a 10 handicap maximum course," which in golf terms means you're really really good. He was insinuating to us that neither of us were good enough to golf there; he was half right.

Realizing we would be paying double what the locals pay, and then double for 9 holes, we concluded it was actually 4 times the real amount. Then add on to that the fact that it cost an arm and a leg to play at a course that wasn't well maintained and we'd have to fork over more than a dollar per ball, we decided to just take a couple of pictures and then leave. But of course not before I told the man that just because we're white doesn't mean we have a lot of money, and that we weren't going to return. I ended with a flustered, "That's not right," which I for some reason blurted out in half French. Even though he probably didn't understand what I was saying, I felt like the Rosa Parks of foreigners in South Asia. And I'm sure that guy felt like...oh who am I kidding, he didn't care one bit.

The date wasn't entirely lost though. We had a good lunch and the hour ride gave us plenty of good conversation time. We'll just have to save our golfing for the Capital.


sentimental leaving post

Oh come on, you knew it was coming. :) The boss has blessed us so much to live in such a beautiful, picturesque part of the world! Now that we're moving, I've been frantically taking pictures so that I can remember everything. I've been planning to do a scrapbook page on the seasons of this town, and I have each month except winter. I'm really sad about that because with the snow that supposedly comes (didn't happen last year) it should be beautiful. Hopefully I'll get a copy of a picture of the winter scene here from someone, or steal one off the internet. I'm not above pulling off a picture as my own. :) So here are pics of our little Himalayan town from the past year, which we will cherish forever:

Mountain view from my daily walk with Chini






a packing mess!

So just in case you don't know, the big news is that we're moving to the Capital! And as of today, we have 8 days to pack. I was starting to get a bit nervous about how exactly we were supposed to pack without any boxes when husband pulled up on the bike today with 17 kgs of boxes! Apparently there's some recycling place in town that you can buy cut up boxes. It requires quite a bit of our rationed duct tape (in fun colors thanks to my mother in law!), but only cost us just over $2. I think that's worth it, don't you?

So now we're trying to pack up our belongings, and the house is a mess. And anyone who knows me knows that this freaks me out. Oh well. In 8 days, it'll be gone. And luckily the furniture (minus the bed) belongs to the landlord, so big items are at a minimal.