Monday, June 23, 2008

Forty hours later ...

As the Hoos say ... We are here, we are here, we are here!

Top five things to be grateful for from the EPIC JOURNEY?
1) Even though three out of four threw up at one point - no one got sick on their clothes! (okay - one of those was me - only Swift escaped turbulence unscathed.)
2) To the really nice lady who was not willing to exchange seats so I could sit next to my two year old - I am so glad that he didn't spill your red wine in your lap since he spent almost the entire flight in mine reaching for that pretty red liquid, because, boy howdy, you would have been understandably er, grumpy. (Honestly, I'm not bitter but... man ...)
3) A certain darling little four year old did not have a single tantrum on the whole trip. This, my friends, is proof of divine intervention.
4) No flight delays, stroller actually made every gate check and all luggage arrived. Amen.
5) Indeed there was an angel on every flight. A colleague of my husband's was on the first two flights and just took the car seat for me. And as it turns out someone we know from Bangkok was also on the last two flights. (It was our brother in law's brother in law - it takes a minute to chew on that.)

My only tearful moment was on the LAST two minutes of the descent of the last flight when one of the flight attendants told me I was endangering my child because he was in my lap. She was just doing her job but I hadn't exactly slept much in the last 48 hours and was just a liiiitttlle on the edge.

It is about 2:30 am right now and I am feeding graham crackers to a few little hoodlums who "just can't sleep Mommy!". Ah Sleep, the elusive goddess for desperate Mommies.

I may be posting this time of night for awhile.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Leavin' on a Jet Plane ... or three.

We will leave for the airport in a few hours and I am alllllmost ready. I didn't sleep well last night. I'm not sure if it was nerves or the chocolate mousse I had at 10pm. Bill and I had our last date night for awhile which was great. (Our table was on a small covered bridge over a pool with fountains and candles - it was raining - very romantic!) Why am I doing this again? He doesn't join us until late July and this is just way too long to be apart. For the kids, that's right - that is why we are doing this.

Bill just left for work and now Kit is crying because Daddy isn't going with us. Oh my. This could be a long trip. We are all sad to leave Dad but excited to see friends and family.

Time to bite the bullet. See you on the other side:)! If you are a praying person - we'll take 'em.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just because I like 'em

When are you leaving lady?

Departure day is three days away and I confess I can't get my head around something funny or interesting to tell you about living here when my mind is on the airplane halfway home! I bought a bunch of dried mangoes for the plane ride but I better do a little bit better than that by Friday. I am set with crayons, coloring books, puzzlemania books, other books - all required to fit in one each of those kiddie sized L.L. Bean backpacks. I have to come up with a few "surprises" from the local Nepali Rupee store. Helpful people in parenting magazines (strangle, strangle) say to "wrap" these. What? So sorry, no time for that in my little world. Nice idea though.

And what will this space hold for the next two months while I am home? "Trailing spouse returns to the US from Kathmandu" and has lost her ability to navigate life in her native land. I am confident my children will provide fodder for ridiculousness as they usually do. But ... it will probably be picture less which will be sad for me but I just don't know how I'll swing it using someone else's computer, sans software etc. Any ideas anyone?

Moving on ... today, therefore, is just an excuse to post a few photos ... just because I like 'em.

Balloons during Teej Festival.

Newar women during the Indra Jatra festival.
Oh this one needs to be cropped and edited .. but I'm tired and lazy.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers Day

Oh man. I had one of those "Blonder Than I Pay To Be" moments today. We were at a going away party for some friends. (Life as an expat means that people 'go away' every year and then one year it is your turn. Sigh.) We were discussing Fathers Day and I just needed to insist that it was tomorrow. Here is a bit how that went:

Me: Yep. The girls want to make breakfast in bed for Bill tomorrow. But the Lazy Gringo was giving free drinks to Fathers today - what was that about?
Friends: (Silence for a second) It's Fathers Day.
Me: No, it is tomorrow .... right? Sunday.
Friends: Honey (this friend is from Georgia:)), what day do you usually go to church?
Me. (Silence because the light goes on). I'm a complete idiot. My poor husband.

My only solace is that that his family didn't celebrate these holidays too much. Hallmark Holidays and all that. I still feel terrible because in MY family we DEFINITELY celebrate these holidays. And in my defense ... it is now just Fathers Day morning in the States and mentally I was planning my "Happy Fathers Day" skype call to my own wonderful Dad ... tomorrow morning our time. Aw crud. That doesn't cut it, does it.

Ah and what shall we do to make amends?

And Daddy if you are reading this (am your time that is:). I love you and Happy Fathers Day!


Friday, June 13, 2008


I was told before we came that there were basically two seasons here - Dry and Monsoon. I knew we were arriving in the middle of Monsoon and wasn't sure what to expect. You know - Monsoon rhymes with Typhoon and I had visions of whipping winds and pouring rain for months on end and flooding everywhere. Guess what? They aren't the same! Actually I kind of like Monsoon. It rains and then it clears. It rains again, and clears again. It will usually rain at night which is one of the best sleeping sounds in my book. When the sun is out it is can be quite warm but the rains cool it back down.

My kids loooove Monsoon. When it starts raining they get all excited and put on all their raingear and go out to play in the rain. Or sometimes they just want to play in their bathing suits. I'm of the school that kids should get as much outside time as possible so I love watching them - from inside that is because I am no fun at all.

Officially the Nepalis will tell you that it isn't Monsoon until the calendar says so (the 15th of this Roman month, first of the Nepali month) but I'll tell you - it has been raining for two weeks so ... it is Monsoon.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ding Dong the King is Gone

This is the famed Pink Palace I have told you about! Finally snapped it. Pretty, eh? The Narayanhiti Palace was built in 1963. I don't have words but the obvious does jump out - as in - why pink? Last night its famous (here anyway) occupant finally moved out. I'm not sure why it took so long for the man to read the Himalayan Tea Leaves but he left last night with crowds outside the palace gates both cheering and crying. Royalists tried to throw themselves in front of his limo. Republicans applauded and raised the Nepali flag. We tried to watch all this on TV to no avail because the Nepali channels were scrambled. What, pray tell, was that about?

Every day I drive past these faux snow covered towers at another Palace entrance and try to come up with Disney Theme Park attraction name for them.
It is all being turned into a museum and I will be one of the first in line.
Namaste, Laurel

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Countdown Begins

In ten days we will be on an airplane on our way home for the summer! I say this with not only excitement but much fear and trepidation. Check this trip out.

Friday: Finish up that packing and make sure the kids do NOT ingest large quantities of sugar before heading to the airport. Wouldn't it be better if I finished that packing on Thursday? Hmmm. Have palpitations as my sweet husband kisses us all goodbye to stay here in KTM and enjoy quiet evenings at home for a month, uninterrupted sleep and a general state of order. Take the Thai flight to Bangkok and usher the monkeys to the Airport Hotel where we WILL get room service for dinner because there is no way on the good green earth I am wrangling the hoodlums to the "buffet" downstairs. It is fifteen dollars for a hamburger and I just don't care.

I won't sleep much as I anticipate the next twenty four hours. I will ask for a wake up call and will sleep lightly as we have slept through it before. Makes my stomach churn. OK - night night everyone.

Saturday: Get up at 3 or 4 am! You betcha! Corral the hoodlums back to the airport to get on airplane #2 to Tokyo lasting about 5 hours. When we arrive in Tokyo we have one hour to change planes so if that first one is late ... we are so _____ed. They'll make us go through security again and we'll hop on Plane #3 for the realllllly fun 14 hour flight! We have done this leg enough times to be a repeat customer for a couple of the flight attendants. (And let me tell you - they are not giving us hugs of joy when they see us.)

In the past one or another of the kids has:
1) Thrown up of course.
2) Handed me their underwear after having an accident in the lavatory. Niiice.
3) Pitched a Class A fit starting at check in and lasting through immigration.
4) locked themselves in the bathroom more than once.

They have also been amazing troopers. Numero Uno daughter is in charge of the carry on or pushing the stroller. They carry their little backpacks of surprises, books, toys etc. They are way too cute when they are asleep all over each other on the plane.

The verdict is in. We're insane.

10 more days!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Life not in Kathmandu

This post has nothing to do with living in Kathmandu except if you count that living here means not living in our own home. Well, now there you are.

Ouch! We just found out that our house back home was visited by the neighbor's tree in an up close and personal way during a bad storm last week. Such a bummer. Thankfully no one was hurt - which means you can kind of laugh about it when you aren't the one actually living with a hole in the roof, torn off gutters, front porch railings ripped off and - ok this is the truly sad part for the tenant - his car was CRUSHED in the driveway. Gone. Totalled. See ya sistah.

I will be making the epic journey back home with the three hoodlums late next week (which will provide fodder for a post both before and after the trip I promise) to assess the damage.

As my two year old says .... bummer (where does he get that???:)).

Peace, Laurel

Friday, June 6, 2008

Haircut for Baboo

This is the Hole in the Wall Barbershop

When it comes to getting your hair cut in Kathmandu there are lots of options. First there is the open air variety. Men just set up shop by the side of the road consisting of an upside down bucket to sit on and their bag of tricks (scissors, mirror, shaving paraphernalia etc.). Sometimes you are just driving down the street and there is Jo Nepali getting his cut and a shave! I keep telling Bill he has to try this. Option two is the hole in the side of the building with a curtain variety of barber shop (see above) or "saloon". (Should I clue any of them in on this? Or does it just mean you can get a beer with your cut?) These usually have actual mirrors in them with rough hewn wooden high chairs. There is only natural light available so keep that curtain open. Option three is one of the fancy hotel barber shops/salons (someone has already told them a salon isn't a saloon). A Hair Cuttery or Chi Chi Georgetown Salon you ask? No no no.

So my little guy (aka "Baboo" around here) desperately needed a cut and he has had some truly heinous hair cuts at the hotel barber shops. I am not one of those wondermoms who can cut hair, (I can hear it now - "oh that poor child, what happened to him?") so I decided that we were goin' local and trying one of the hole in the wall places. And here you are.

Oh I'm cute, but I need a haircut.

Baboo thinks Edward Scissorhands is pretty funny.

Almost done.

Chaotic shot but the little man is proud of his new do.

It takes a lot of people to get a good haircut.



Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Baby Shower

Lest anyone think being far from home means no one will throw you a baby shower ... here we are. A few of us had a coed shower for Melissa and Brian last weekend. The men were skeptical but we promised it wouldn't be too girly so I think they had a good time.
Here is our glowing Mama to be.

Barbecue fare just so the men wouldn't get too uncomfortable.

Due in August. Leaving Kathmandu next week to return to the States.

The Ambassador made these herself!

And a little something for Daddy. If I had any forethought whatsoever I would have gone online and found some baby fatigues for this little Army baby!
Blessings on this sweet new family!


I have a love-hate relationship with bedtime. The kids' bedtime that is, not mine - I just love mine.

I love freshly bathed little hoodlums in their jim jams. Their hair is a little wet and dishevelled. They smell like baby shampoo and bubble gum toothpaste. (Swift has no choice in the matter yet - size 6 Pampers for him.) I love reading bedtime stories with them cuddling up next to me. I love them piping up during prayers thanking God for cupcakes and other such important matters.

But then ... I utter the words "It's bedtime kiddos, under the covers!" and it stops being fun. Mostly because it is unpredictable. Sometimes I give and get kisses and they actually go to sleep. Lindsay and Swift both insist I "rest with them" awhile which is logistically difficult because I am actually only one person.

And then there are nights like tonight. Bedtime is at 7:30 and at 9:00pm there were still two little girls who were taking turns coming downstairs with all kinds of lame excuses for being up. This is about when I lose patience which isn't pretty for anyone not to mention embarrassing because I am supposed to be the grown up after all. Sigh.

Thanks. I had to vent about all that. It's my bedtime.

Good night,