Well, after years of being away from home and traveling all over the world, I've finally decided to take the step into the world of blogging. As most of you know, I will be spending the next four and a half months teaching English in Nepal. And, as I remain a bit unsure about the communication outlets I will have at my disposal, or frequency at which I will be able to access them, I figured this was the quickest and easiest way to get in touch with those who wish to follow my time there. So here you go. As I said, I really don't know how frequently or thoroughly I will be able to update this but hopefully I can provide at least some small anecdotes regularly enough to provide you all will some sort of insight to my time in Nepal. Enjoy :)
Monday, January 24, 2011
I'm back :)
I know, I know...it's been a while since I've written...it's also been a while since I didn't have to use a flashlight to go to the toilet! We are all just pons in the games played by the electricity gods here in Nepal :) But life continues on here, power or no power (this doesn't seem to be much of a problem for the villagers, as they pretty much still live a pre-electricity life, save for a few village women who seem a bit aggitated when they don't get to watch their Indian soaps on the tiny tv that they crowd around in their gathering area)...I have started teaching at the local public school and initially, found it quite overwhelming. The school I taught at in Pokhara had all of 80 students (making the largest class I had about 12 kids)...where as here, the school has over 600 and all the classes I teach have at least 35 students. Which, when you tell them to read a passage and they all begin to read, out loud, at different paces, can get quite loud. And no, they don't seem to understand what "read to yourself" means. But, after getting over the initial shock of it all, I've settled in a bit and am really enjoying it. And, as you would expect from so many kids, there is the typical range of students, from the teachers pet to the group of boys sitting in the back of the class, scarves wrapped around their heads, way too cool for school. But, slowly, I am getting to know them all, trying to memorize their names (NOT EASY) and really loving the time I spend with them. And they are all so eager to learn about me and where I come from. When I told a group of the year 8 boys that I live in Australia, they all went home and studied it that night and came back the next day with this massive list of facts memorized about Australia...many of which I didn't even know! (And yes, to all my Aussie friends, we will be celebrating Australia Day here on Wednesday...we have a full day of cricket playing and beer drinking planned). Outside of the village, I spent this past weekend in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. And, after an exhausting 5 hour bus ride and a rickshaw excursion, I arrived in the most peaceful place I have ever experienced. At the center of the city is a temple which houses a stone that is encased in glass which marks the exact spot where Buddha's mother squatted down, grasping the low branches of a tree, and gave birth to the future god. The rest of the temple was filled with archeologists digging through piles of rubble and brushing away dirt from ancient bricks...I'm assuming to find the fossilized aforementioned tree branches with the gripping nail marks from the "peacefully blessed" event. The rest of the city is made up of temples and monastaries of Buddhists from all over the world, from Cambodia to Germany. On Friday night I stayed in the Korean Monastary, had dinner with the monks and got to sit in the temple and listen to their evening worship (quite a beautifully haunting experience...the dark temple illuminated by candlelight and the monks' chanting echoing throughout). And, at 250 rupees (just under $4) for a bed and two meals...best...deal...EVER! The next morning, as I walked around looking at the other monastaries, there was a thick layer of fog hanging in the air, making the whole atmosphere all the more mystical and peaceful. All in all it was a wonderful weekend. And now the week has begun again...more teaching, more rice eating (I'm actually beginning to crave the stuff), and, I'm sure, many more fun memories.