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 :)
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The rollercoaster week...
Hello all...well this week has been so all over the place, mentally and emotionally, that I don't really know where to begin or really how to summarize it all...so I guess, I'll just start from the beginning. The start of the week was pretty much filled with some of my last classes at the local school. Exams begin this coming week and so we just concentrated mostly on working with the students preparing for their English exams...Which included a practice exam for grade 8, and the following nights being consumed with grading the 44 exams. Favorite moment: grading the exam of one of my best students who in the essay portion, wrote his essay on his favorite book...the English Dictionary. Ha! Awesome...that little nerd never ceases to impress me :) With Wednesday came the national holiday of Shivaratri. The day began with celebrations at the local Hindu temple and women lining up early in the morning at the temple to pray for a good husband. Because apparently this was a particularly auspicious day to do this. Mothers waited with their daughters outside the temple for a chance to enter and make offerings to ensure a good match for the young girls. The rest of the day was filled with more celebrations at the temple and a county-wide volleyball tournement. Highlight match: the Police team vs. the Maoist team...brilliant! It was by far the best match of the day and you could really feel the underlying political tension throughout the crowd. In the end, the Maoists totally blew the Police out of the water and it was quite amusing to see the Maoist team riding off on their motorcycles, one clinging to the commically large winner's check. Wednesday night was filled with more music and dancing at the temple as well as a few older gentlemen and teen boys taking part in the tradition of "getting closer" to the god Shiva (whos birthday it was we were celebrating) by way of his favorite activity...smoking the mary-jane. Thursday was a typical village day, a few were slow to recover from the previous night, but life was back to normal. That is, until Thursday evening when our village was struck with tradgedy. On that night, a young girl in our village decided to take her life. A poisonous liquid was used and, convulsing and foaming at the mouth she was raced to hospital. She was dead before they got her there. Her name was Kamala...she was 13 years old. I am still struggling to come to terms with it all, especially in the face of a people who seem so matter of fact about the whole situation. It really makes you realize how much these people suffer through when they can be so accepting of death. Even my young students know what happened and seem fully understanding of the whole situation. It's just quite jarring to have anyone, let alone kids, speak so frankly and unemotionally about death. This sad event was soon followed on Friday by my last day at the local school. And, again, I still have conflicting emotions here as well. The day itself was lots of fun with singing and dancing in the classes and enjoying my final time with these amazing students. And it really hit me as I walked home from school that that was the last time I would leave that campus, the last time I would make that walk surrounded by all those wonderful kids, the last time that little girl would walk me the whole way to my house, her little hand grasped firmly around my pinkie finger. Part of me knows it's time to move on, and the other part of me is quite sad to go. It was definitely time for a nice break after such a long week, and that's what I got with my journey to the jungle this weekend. I spent two nights in an amazing resort (i.e. it had western toilets and a hot hot shower!) and filled the days with canoe rides, jungle walks, bird watching, cultural shows, and a safari through the jungle on an elephant's back. Animals seen: lots of birds (mostly kingfishers), crocodiles, many many deer, a wild boar (who went crashing into a group of deer with all the style and grace of Pumba from the Lion King), and, best of all, on our elephant ride, we came across a napping mother rhino with her baby. We watched them for a while before they roused themselves, stood up, stretched a bit, and then lumbered off. Pretty cool. But, as all good things must come to an end, so ends the weekend and now I am back in the city, waiting for the bus back out to my village. I have about two and a half weeks left in Padam Pokhari...I really can't believe it's almost over! I don't know how I am going to even begin to say good-bye to this place. I'm not sure good-bye will be possible...I think the best i'll be able to manage is a "see you later".