You quickly learn that you can in fact do without a lot of things. I don’t mind the things, habits, or the luxurious of home. You find ways around them. [village has shown me this statement is DUMB you can’t find way around crappy food] For the most part you can find a substitute for anything- or you find a way to get what you are missing. [this isn’t true…. there is no substitute for chicken.] But what you can’t substitute or find a way around is people. I miss people. [this is still true]
I miss my family. They do a great job of keeping in touch. I am glad that took the couple of hours to show my mom twitter, Facebook, and instagram before I left. She keeps me up to date and just likes to talk. I think if I moved home tomorrow I would be up to date on the comings and goings of summerville. Both my parents always have an encouraging word- and I know they miss me a lot. I miss them too.
But the when it comes to conversations- I miss the person I talked to the most. My roommate, best friend, and person. If you aren’t knowledgeable to the term person- it’s a Grey’s Anatomy reference between Yang and Meredith. This little picture kind of describes the relationship….and I would, help her hide a body.
It is hard to go from talking everyday- almost all day to talking once a week if I am lucky and scattered messages, tweets or random instagrams. You might ask, what could you possibly talk about all day- everyday. That is the joy- anything. Today we got to catch up- and for about 15 minutes we chose to talk about what fictional world would we want to walk into. And because we are best friends- we both said Harry Potter- think about it- you can’t pick who you can be, but you pick the world- so a superhero world would be a bad pick because the chance that you are the superhero is slim to none- and now you are a human living in a crappy city that needs a superhero. You are guaranteed to die.
Bottom line: I miss Brooke and my family!
Let me start with I am once again behind on updates, blogs, and laundry. I don’t know what happens. I have had internet access several times since January- but I just think I have time and forget until I am packing my bag to head back home. Anyways.
Our new house!
It isn’t exactly the east side- but it is super nice. Our new digs are about a five minute walk from our old house. You may laugh- but our new house has its own outhouse, water pipe, we built a sink and a smokeless fire stove, we all have a bed, and windows. I think of all the things I am excited about- the best part are the windows. My old room was so gloomy because the only window was the door. So sitting in there just made me tired.
This house is true blessing- we had to move from our old house because of cultural tension between our families. We had an agreement that anyone could come into our house- men and ladies, low caste to high caste… everyone needed to welcomed…except children. never children. Just kidding- but really if kids are alone in the house- something got stolen. After moving in it became clear that agreement wasn’t really true- and it became a real culture clash. Knowing that we are all created equal, living in that house became oppressive. There was no real chance of meeting in the middle- because there was no middle ground. So as our lease closed in we began looking for another house- which was really hard. The houses were either too far away from the community or they were falling apart. It was really stressful.
Making Vin build planters.
Then it was the week of Christmas- Lin was out taking pictures of the snow in the high mountains and someone asked her if she was interesting in renting a brand new house. She went to go look at it and it was amazing! Negotiations started- and eventually we agreed to a fair price (which is still grossly inflated, but that is to be expected) We moved in to the house the second week of February. Poor Vin, in his last week in Nepal, had to help dismantle the green house, irrigation system, and help me pack up the old house to move into the new house.
When we moved in most of the doors weren’t finished- we had only doors to lock the outsides- the fireplace and the sink weren’t built. Our landlord’s family decided to keep their bison at the house. The bathroom didn’t have a door, the cement wasn’t dried on the first floor– but even with all the minor cosmetic issues it was such a huge blessing that God provided us with this new house and open landlords.
The end of March and the first week of April I was able to meet my parents and Brooke in Europe. I know it sounds crazy- but meeting them in Europe was cheaper than coming home to America- and who is going to pass up a semi free trip to Europe. Not this girl, my dad didn’t raise a fool. So I flew into Germany and met my parents (plus kyle got to tag along)
We (they) rented a car and because my dad is my dad- we had to use a map and a GPS- I have no idea why the GPS
A summary in pictures- chapels, pisa, venice, the alps, and most importantly food.
wasn’t good enough– but he proved right when we ended up in the middle of an olive grove inItaly. We stayed at military bases in Bavaria and Italy. We went to Munich for the day, spent time in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, went to Venice, Florence, and Pisa. It was truly amazing- it was so beautiful; like I was looking in a book. It was funny to kind of be back on a schedule after living in a culture where the schedule is the last thing anyone worries about-
I think my favorite thing, besides the food- I mean I was in meat, cheese, olive capital of the world, was the David. It was in Florence and it was breathtaking- for being a chunk of rock it looked like it was breathing. It was beautiful.
After spending time with my parents I met Brooke in London. We rented someone’s spare room- it was right on the Thames and across the way from the O2 (that is a huge arena). It was kind of weird to share an apt with a stranger- and to be fair I have read and seen too many horror movies not to be a little freaked out- but it was really nice much cheaper than getting a hotel. We ended up getting City Passes- and like the people our parents raised us to be- we did enough to not only pay for the pass but to make some extra money. Both of our parents would be proud. We ate at dozens of street vendors (London has some amazing international delicacy because they
Towers, graves, pillow fights, bridges, pipes, and more food.
pretty much owned everyone at some point or another) had Sunday roast which is traditional and saw everything- I think my favorite to look at was Westminster Abbey- all the dead royalty, Jane Austen and CS Lewis. But I really loved the Churchill War Rooms- it was amazing to see his life during the war through photos, memos, and telegraphs. I can see why the man drank a fifth of whiskey and smoked a cigar before 11 am. However- it was international pillow fight day… we missed it but the pictures were hilarious. Also another love of London- the free newspaper on the underground.
It was amazing to spend time with my family and best friend- and to be true a fat kid…eat amazing food.
Over the last 11 months, if I have heard that statement once i have heard it a million times. While this statement is very short it was followed by a very VERY long opinion about anything from the Bible to the best flavor at Buffalo Wild Wings [and it was never ever wrong] .
I met Vinny when he walked off the place with a cowboy hat and a guitar case. The image screamed Texas but he is a proud redneck from Northwest Arkansas. Today, he left the village, wearing the same ridiculous cowboy hat. I can honestly say that I am bummed…and not just because he volunteered to do all the hard chores.
Vin tacking up screens.
I think that i might have fought with Vincenzo the most- and it was really my own fault. I have this sick urge to ask for advice when I really already have an idea and a plan of action. I just want someone else to tell me it’s a good idea. Sadly, I worked closest with Vin– and he could NEVER just say it’s a good plan– he had to tweak it or just flat out arrange everything. It was the most ANNOYING habit. Coupled with the fact that he was only right about half the time- we tended to take forever on joint projects. But, whatever we did get done- worked like a boss. I think sometimes we were sent in opposite directions so we could both get things done quicker.
Vin ate a ridiculous amount of everything- but this is my favorite olan mills photo.
But since writing this- we have rebuilt the greenhouse, chopped all the firewood, constructed the rooftop garden and hauled about 20 kilos of soil…..and I just wish Vin was here. Even if would have disagreed with everything I planned, designed, or thought of-
The way I see it, Vin might be one of the best guys I know. I will miss him more than words can say.
Running down the mountain at 5.30 to make a bus connections.
You see what i did there Vin, I kept it stupid short.
Today kind of sucked because my dog was killed. Franklin was probably the first thing I really loved about our home. He would follow us everywhere- he would go tell stories with us, he would come and check on us, he would go to the jungle with us. He was just a good dog.
This is Franklin.
Long story, short- they thought he had rabies- they decided to stone him- horrifically he didn’t die. Vin had to go over and finish killing him. It was the most depressing thing ever!! He didn’t have rabies- he was just injured and kids treat dogs so bad- so he bit a couple of them. It might be the saddest day ever. I really am going to miss my Nepali dog.
Extra news- The dog did bite Vin though- so lindy brought him a rabies shot.
Josh in lieu of flowers brought us some crackers, dr. pepper, and some spreadable cheese from kathmandu. It might have been the nicest thing ever- When josh and lindy came back from their break they also brought Lindy’s brother and wife. The Burgbachers.
Burgbacher family making pasta in the village.
They stayed in the village with us for two days- and got a sneak peak into the life of a villager. It was funny to see them struggle with the bathroom. They brought us a BUNCH of things from America that a bunch of people bought for us! If you contributed- you are amazing, we love you, and we hate you because it became impossible to lose weight when there is a beef stick hanging around.
Lady Burbs and I.
Our team is made up of people who are here for differing amounts of time. Caro was here in Nepal for 11 months. She is from the Greenville area- she got to Nepal because of a missions trip she took the mountains of India. And she makes probably the best tuna I have ever eaten.
Caro wasn’t allowed to cut grass…so she became the water girl!!
I have no idea how she does it- she puts the weirdest things in there. I was a simple girl before meeting Caro- mayo- sometimes some celery, onion, and olives. Caro puts in mustard, salt, raisins, walnuts, italian seasoning, pepper, olives, oil, sometimes pesto sauce, onions, carrots, cucumber– it is literally the most elaborate tuna I have ever eaten.
This is from our girl’s group. We were making bracelets!
But Caro taught me about more than tuna- she taught me to put caution to the wind and just go with the flow, she showed me how to be about people- I thought I was good with people until I met Caro— then I realized I suck with people. She taught me some spanish 🙂 She always had a good word when you needed and could make me laugh with the craziest things that would pop out of her mouth.
She was also the digital documenter… always with a camera.
She left our family at the end of December- but I am saving some benedryl for you because I am praying you come back! Miss you girl!
We were on our way to Kathmandu for a break!!
Just a warning- the following blog is utterly ridiculous. However, I feel like it says a lot about us and our team. Place the blame on me- she is a work of my imagination..which just goes to say I will always be a fat kid
The team has a lot of together time- It’s safe to say besides sleep we are together almost all day, everyday. While it may seem impossible to think that we would run out of things to say. So to pass the time when working the fields or walking around the village…or cooking in the kitchen- we play games like would you rather, what would you do, or what do you want. The latest of these games is- the MGA. The MGA is the magic grocery angel. She brings all things that are good. And the scenario starts if a magical grocery angel came to our village and offered to bring you anything from the grocery store what would you ask for? This one scenario spanned into what appetizer would you want…then meat, cheese, cookies, crackers, drinks, candy…. the sky is the limit with MGA. The first time we played it was just whatever you wanted- Vinny asked for chicken wings, Alisha wanted cheddar, Josh asked for a porter house steak, Lindy asked for Provolone cheese, Caro asked for doritios, and I asked for mozzarella sticks. Together we had a FANTASTIC fattening meal planned.
Then we ate rice and lentils.
In our village the main crops grown are corn, rice, and wheat. It is like all the flavors of Chex cereal. It started with the corn getting planted before monsoon, then the rice is transplanted during monsoon and then after the rice and corn are harvested wheat is planted.
Because we live here and we don’t have fields to manage we like to volunteer with friends and widows. So, first was corn. You pretty much gather all the ears of corn and take them home. Everyone here loves to eat the base of stalks…its like sweet starchy water. It is a nice snack on a hot day. After hauling home all the ears- you remove the husks and silk. It is dried out and on another day you take off all the kernels of corn and bag it. Favorite part….gathering the ears…least favorite part- taking off the kernels… it really hurts your hands.
Taking a break from harvesting corn. The lower stalk is a treat while you take a break…its like sweet starch water. It is better than it sounds.
After corn was rice harvest- they cut the rice stalks and then let them dry in the field. After a day, they beat the stalks to get off the rice kernels. This can be a difficult process because you don’t want them flying everywhere- so you use your feet and your hands to get off all the rice. Then it is dried and stored for winter.
Can’t wait for the wheat harvest!
Loosening the grains of rice.
We pick all the grains off- rice is money.