Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been doing:
- Mountain-related – Last week was Nepal’s biggest Hindu holiday, Dasain. I got the week off from work and spent it "trekking" with two new-but-feel-like-old friends, Lena and Katherine. The week was full of sweet and wild moments. Highlights included breathing deeply the cold morning mountain air after coming out of my hot sleeping bag, singing 90s songs out of tune as we pummeled downhill, sipping steamy yak tea at every meal, eating finger-fulls of peanut butter at most stops, mingling with yaks, peeing at 16,000 feet and most of all... BEING AMONGST THESE BAD BOYS (see below)!
Shoot. I thought I had a better picture. This one is from the drive there, which ended inside of those white giants in the distance!
- Office-related – I end this work week feeling dry and cracked and longing to be back in the mountains. The last 4 days I've been writing chunks of a proposal for a project that targets “Violence Against Women” in Western Nepal. (Or "VAW ," another fun acronym.) It's due next week to "The Belgians" (their Embassy) but I'm ready to be finished with it now. The guidelines, which were translated from Flemmish, leave me scratching my head alot. (For example, one question asks us to "Motivate the financing request under the Peace-building budget line while taking into account its supplementary character. " HUH?) I send regular emails to my boss saying, "what do you think they mean by THIS?" (On the upside, I'm learning from it - for example, I learned today that 80% of women in rural Nepal report being abused by their husbands. Yikes.) Next week should be a good work week though. I’m supposed to travel to Jajarkot, a hilly district in the West to facilitate a 2-day report-writing training to our Nepali staff there. I'm excited. Excited for the hills and for the chance to do a project that feels fully "mine." (I held my first report writing workshop the week before last. Went well! Hope to post pictures/ snippets from that in coming days.)
- Miscellaneous-related – Things are good on the friend front. It's taken some time, but my 'circle' of friends here is growing larger and cozier. Fun activities on the rise. In the last two weeks friends and I have: played charades on a dusty rooftop, watched the final US presidential debates over chili and cheap wine, biked around the Kathmandu Valley, tried (and failed) to make chapati, a naan-like flat bread, practiced Nepali from a weathered old book, gloried in aforementioned mountain trip.