Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas wishes to all!

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."

-Agnes M. Pahro

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Home again

Have been home for nearly a week now - amazing how one morning you can be in the middle of a place like Bohda - and the next morning you are looking around Ikea in Adelaide!!!! Do miss the sights and smells of Kathmandu - miss Liz and the monks, the Tibetan refugees, the beggars, the freedom! It is hard to stay in the 'zone' once arriving home and responsibility hits!!! Meals - housework - eeek. Orrid.
Managed to get everything home OK - amazing what you can fit in a rucksack - there wasn't an inch of room left. Apart from 20 shawls managed to cram in books, beads, pressies, door curtain, three paintings - and more. Visiting Dev and Nilu - friends from the Cooks we hadn't seen for 19 years was certainly special. They have such a comfortable home - with great views over Kathmandu and a warm, welcoming feeling. Nilu and I found we had so much in common and we were sorry we hadn't connected earlier in the trip as so many places Nilu offered to take me. Next time ?????
Liz and Nick took me out to a Japanese restaurant for the last evening - I was unaware that the place existed and it was beautiful food with the best company. We walked around and around the Stupha exchanging thoughts on plans for home etc.
Two great flights home - pat on the back to the Capitane! Always a relief to land safely - leaving Kathmandu had fantastic views of the snow capped Himalayas. It's great on the plane listening to 'travelers tales' of trekking, rafting etc.
Arrived home to visitors - that wasn't the easiest but we got there.
Now it's sorting work and catching up with everyone - a day sleeping, day with my dear Dad. Alice has been fabulous cooking dinner each night - helping adjust slowly!!! Russ has been very busy at work - he was hardly home the three weeks I was away so didn't have time to get lonely. Next time I'm sure we'll go together tho.
Certainly makes one feel so fortunate being able to visit a country like Nepal where there is so much poverty and come home to our wonderful country safe and sound. Met some friends from Adelaide at Singapore airport - they had been traveling Europe for six weeks and we were going home on the same plane. Amazed when we were in the same row of seats!!!! - and I was one behind them in the duty free shop when we noticed the numbers on the orders. Quite strange.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Last class today

Just finished last English class - it's been a really enjoyable experience and the monks are great and keen to learn. Liz is a really good teacher and I've learned a lot thru the experience.
Have started packing - going out with Liz tonight and off to dinner with my old boss from the Cook Islands tomorrow. Quite a taxi trip I think - other side of town. It has been terrific to see them again - so friendly and we had a lot of memories to share. Looking forward to them coming to Australia now!
Have to soak everything up today and tomorrow - walking out from the Monastery Guest house thismorning on to the street and there are all the wonderful people with beautiful smiles and 'Tashi Dalek' greetings, heading down to the Stupa with their Mala beads. It's great watching the place come to life - the meat being laid out in the 'butcher shops', the street vendors with a piece of canvas on the ground with their wares displayed. Everything from stainless steel plates, western clothing, lime, chili, fruit, veges, very good quality watches!!! - mobile phones etc etc.
Liz ordered a milk tea the other day - the local tea - with extra ginger. Somehow things got mixed up and she received a garlic milk tea. Needless to say it wasn't that good! Ha.
Hmmmm - where will I have lunch. Garden Cafe, Saturday Cafe, Flavours? Will I have momos - or curry - or soup. So many decisions!!!!
Better go. Catch you all next week if I don't get a chance to do another posting.
Love to all! Tashi Dalek! Joy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time to start packing!

Just realized I leave here on Sunday. Talking to Liz thismorning about what plans we have for Sunday - and woops!!!! Makes me nervous thinking about packing and fitting everything into my little rucksack. It's hard not to buy bits and pieces - and it all takes up space. I didn't bring many clothes but did prepare for cooler weather - it's been quite warm, so pity I bought quite so many 'layers'.
Just been to Enlglish classes - it's interesting seeing interpretations of our language. It's hard not to pass on the Aussie accent! Hear things repeated back to me and ooow! Do I really sound so nasal!
Hear that Akira Blount is teaching in Australia next year - that's a coup eh. What an opportunity!
Really have to absorb everything here for the next couple of days - it's all so different. Just walking out onto the street the sights and sounds that greet are amazing. Thismorning walking to classes the vege vendors were out pushing their little carts, people were heading down to the Stupa for morning practice, kids heading off to school - a gorgeous Tibetan man took my eye in traditional dress with several beautiful nose rings, dogs having a stretch, women in saris or shalwar shameez. Then someone spits in the street in front of you - or a motor bike toots right behind and stirs things back into reality.
The traffic is horrendous - tooting, speeding, people, bikes, cars, cycles, push carts all in a jumble somehow getting places - usually safely.
Had a motor bike ride home yesterday - I bought a heap of beautiful woolen shawls and and the shop keeper obviously thought he'd done so well he gave me a ride back on his bike. I'm used to bikes and felt quite safe (even tho HE had the helmet on) - but he kept re-assuring me he'd drive slowly and safely.
The rubbish in the streets is one awful part of the experience - I did see a rubbish truck once - but there doesn't seem to be any regular pick up service - no bins - no feeling that it's wrong to toss things in the street. You really have to watch where you step!
I could go on and on but always scared the power will go out and I'll lose what I've written. Thinking of you all - great to get the odd email here and there. Take care and catch up soon. Cheers Joy

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Back in Kathmandu after an exciting few days in Lumbini! It's hard to describe all of the amazing sights and experiences - it is all so different! Lumbini has a very sacred feeling and with over 1000 monks there it was a special time. Walking around I feel like an alien in another world - a priveliged alien!!!!
12 hour bus trip back to Kathmandu - at about 3 in the afternoon I saw the 100km to Kathmandu sign - 'not long now' thinks the ignorant alien!!!! 4 hours later we were still ducking and weaving thru trucks and tooting cars, motor bikes and pedestrians. The river and valley views were breathtaking - and watching people live is so foreign to us. Pumping water by the street, washing and cleaning teeth, getting a shave, hair cut, toileting, checking out each others hair, eating, cooking, dressing, cutting grain - lives go on in public. Saw a lot of very natural village scenes from the bus - mud homes, thatch roofing, cows in the yard all centered around the hand pump for water. Hay stacked so high on carts it is miracle they get anywhere without an accident!
Life here in town is centred around the Buddhist Stupa - and from early morning the Tibetan people are out and about doing 'Kora' - walking around the Stupa chanting their mantras and prayers. They are very dedicated and it is so special to be part of the 'wheel' walking around and around caught up in the movement.
Thismorning I sat and had a coffee and just watched the world go by - the beggars, street cart vendors, delivery men with four large bottles of water balanced on a push bike, women with woven baskets of vegetables for the market on their back and strapped across the forehead, the Tibetan women in their traditional dress, some with many rings in their nose, the old men in their baggy pants and Tibetan jackets - all carrying their mala of beads. Of course the tourists add to the scene! I watch them deal with the beggars and the salesmen. Very good salesmen! Bought some woven little doo dads thismorning to hang from phones etc - walked away thinking I paid way too much but at the time the guy had me convinced I was cutting his profits so cruely! Of course - they were very inexpensive anyway so have to laugh at how good they are at their job!!!
Time to move. Nice to chat - hope you are all going well at home. Wish I was good at puting up photos - next time! Alice and Russ have sent out all of the orders so hope you are enjoying your magazines!!!! Talk soon. Cheers. Joy

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reporting from Lumbini

After a really interesting bus trip here we are in Lumbini! Up at 4am, two taxi trips to the bus station - an all day trip to 'the turn off' - and then another local bus for about an hour to Lumbini itself. Sometimes I think I've landed on another planet - it's so amazing - so different! - and so wonderful. Feel so very, very blessed to have opportunities like these.
Have had trouble getting on the internet - and trouble phoning home - but hopefully someone is checking in here as all is well and wondering how you are all going back in Australia. In Lumbini it is a big Buddhist 'conference' on World Peace. It is surreal sitting with Liz at the Sakya Monastery listening to the chanting and seeing about 1000 monks seated in front of us. There are very few foreigners - very special to be here. Last night we visited the site of Buddha's birth - and it doesn't matter if you are Buddhist or not it has an amazing feeling with people from all over the world meditation, praying, singing, making offerings etc. Quite overwhelming really in the evening with all the butter lamps burning.
I've been able to get on the web site to read my emails but can't reply - so I'll go back now and see if I have more luck.
Greetings to all!!! Will write more when I get back to Kathmandu in a few days.
Yesterday we ran into some Indian Buddhist monks that Liz new from her travels in India - she introduced me and the older monk said 'May you live long'. Such a special greeting - so 'May you live long'. Cheers Joy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back in Nepal!

Isn't life amazing! Hardly time to write a post in between and back again! Very fortunate. Russ and I had a wonderful time cruising around north of Australia last month viewing the results of magnificent rains - the birds, wildflowers, green grass, water, water everywhere. So many people travelling it's terrific to see - especially while the country is at it's best. When we arrived home a friend I met in Nepal last year suggested I come over while she is here teaching English - so in a few days it all became possible.
I did all the orders in advance (invoices, envelopes etc) for Interweave and Stampington publications - some of the boxes arrived before I left so hopefully the rest are in Russ's hot little hands and he has sent off to their new homes.
The new book by elinor, Barb Willis and Patti Culea has arrived. It probably contains more for the less experienced dollmaker but I decided to grab myself a personal copy as it has some interesting info, dolls, and peeks into their studios etc. $40 inc GST.
Jill Maas has a new pattern too - cute gal and her mouse. If I can get to the info without losing this I'll include the details - and a photo would be good if I'm clever enough! The power does drop out here and there tho - so see what happens! I've ordered the pattern so it will be there when I arrive home!
It is amazing to be here - it is just like landing on another planet - just so different. It's really enjoyable. I've been awake about 3 am every morning - still in Australia time I think - but I don't think I'd sleep much longer anyway as things start to happen in the monastery and there is a lot of noise! Thismorning it started with a heap of monks heading off somewhere about 3.30am. They were so disorganised it was a treat watching them from my window shouting instructions at each other and running back for more gear. Then the drums start and the singing etc etc - so it's good to be up early and watch and listen to what is going on. Then I went down to the Stupa where all the Tibetan refugees go to do their morning prayers. It's just magic watching all the different people and goings on - old ladies, kids. The beggars are a bit sad as you don't really know if they are genuine or not. Some of them have all sorts of tricks up their sleeve - but then again you can't blame them.Then two cappuchinos and a Nepali omelette for breaky and off to the English classes! How good eh! I've a bit of time to myself now so will mooch around and then go to English conversation at 3. We take off to Lumbini on the bus Friday morning early. We were going on the bus with everyone from the centre but it's a night time bus so we decided to go on the tourist bus and travel in the day where we can keep an eye on the driver - and the scenery too of course! Ha. He might need a bit of help using the brakes!
When I was down at the Stupa there were a lot of the butter candles burning and I had some time to reflect on today being Shirley Shaw's funeral back in Australia. It seems such a waste when people develop such wonderful talent and they can't stay around for ever. Each time the Grumpy Goddesses get together we remember Bernarda, Ros and Heather - and now dear Shirley - we will certainly miss her.
What am I doing sitting at the computer! Lovely to chat with everyone tho. Hope all is well back home and you are creating away happily - and getting inspiration from all the new magazines that have just arrived on your door!
Going to put this up before I lose it - and then tackle the photos! Ooow. Catch you soon. Joy