Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Memories 2008

As I knew would happen I really didn't get to post much during the month. We had a really wonderful Christmas full of activity, but there was also some time to relax and reflect a bit. My time is short as we have a houseguest arriving tomorrow and the computer is in the guest room! Ah, c'est la vie. Here are some pictures from the past few weeks.

The family Advent service each Sunday and Christmas Day.

Christmas outfits from Nana, waiting for Daddy to come home so we can go to the Christmas Eve Service. The kids even remembered the sermon theme - "This was a VERY special baby!"

Sugar cookies for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer!

Christmas morning ... we are SO ready to go downstairs Mom and Dad!

Daddy and Swift, checking out directions to the Thomas Trains.

Our sweet Asha actually looks a little menacing here! She really enjoyed jumping over the gift wrapping. We do own a doggie Santa hat but we didn't subject her to it this year.

Contextualized Santa at the girl's school. It was amazing -- Santa made at least four different appearances in Kathmandu this year! The sartorial wonder had a different version of the Santa outfit for each occasion! What a busy guy!
Santa wears Tibetan boots and a Doga basket - who knew he was so culturally attuned?
He even arrived in a little green electric car.

Lastly, I love the little hands making Christmas cookies.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all ... and to all a good night!

It is Christmas night. The gift carnage is cleaned up - sort of. The candles are blown out. We are fat and happy. It's time to interview WonderBill.

Me: So honey how are you doing?
Bill: I'm great. I'm happy - we had a very nice Christmas. I'm thankful.

Me: So what was the highlight of Christmas Day for you?
Bill: Probably, Kit taking the sheet off of her bicycle and seeing her be so happy. It was ..

Me: Can I edit.
Bill: Yes

Bill continued: It was great to see Swift playing with his trains and Lindsay with her scooter.

Me: Who is your favorite wife?
Bill: My one and only of course.

Me: Right answer honey! So, did you miss your egg nog?
Bill: I did. But that rum drink was quite tasty. Some Portuguese/Brazilian name I can't pronounce.

Me: And you call yourself a diplomat. That would the Christmas Caipirinha. It was good.
So what other morsels might be of interest to my dear bleaders?
Bill: There is no snow but there is a new wacky shop down our street that is selling blow up Santas and plastic Christmas trees. It is not a holiday here of course. They were offering me Christmas discounts at the stores yesterday though.

Me: Shopping ... yesterday ... Christmas Eve. Oh honey. Well ... I think we are pretty darn exhausted and can't put together two sentences properly so it may be time to end this.

Bill is now counting the number of vehicles in the garage: bicycles, tricycles, plastic cars, push toys etc. etc.

Me: So how do I end this Bills?
Bill: It's bedtime.
Me: Good idea.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Santa and the Hoochie Girl!

The title made you look. Admit it.

Today was the last day of school before the holidays and the traditional "Santa Show" was held to kick off the three weeks of sleeping in and waffles for breakfast. Since my girls go to an International School it was duly multicultural in content. Also, since people come from all types of faith backgrounds it was fairly sanitized but with a very real attempt to give equal time. Mostly it was all fun and frivolity as the kids sang a variety of "holiday" songs, danced around and had a good ol' time.

This would all not be so interesting to blog about except for two things that happened.

1) A highlight of the season! Santa arrived in a green electric car. He is so PC! He was wearing Tibetan shoes and had something wrapped around his head that may have been housing a family of chipmunks. He wore an amazing set of bells around his waist that he shook and rang with every Ho Ho Ho. I understand that a few years ago he came on an elephant. And I thought the rickshaw was hard to beat. He was suitably enthusiastic. He boogied with the best of them. Lindsay still declared him a fake. Cynic. She's only five.

2) Oh where to start with this one? Well it seems that the middle school students have been learning salsa. Their teacher and her partner were there to do a little demo. She came in with silver sequined shoes and a jacket with silver sequins on the shoulders. So far so good - performance attire, I get it. At the last minute she stripped off the jacket and, well, she wasn't wearing much. Yep, those adolescent boys were really bummed. I was thinking about how to explain her attire (or lack thereof) to my little girls. I'm sure the powers that be had no idea this was going to happen - aye yai yai.

I'm being snarky. I almost didn't post this because I am being snarky. But quite honestly I just get both sad and angry at innocence being stolen from my children. I know it won't be the last time something like this happens - but I can still rant a little.

But as a wonderful Nigerian man said to me many years ago .... "Don't let it rob you of your Joy!". He was right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wedding Season

The astrologers consulted the stars and have deemed that this is the auspicious month for weddings. Dotted throughout the city you see the florists decorating the cars that will carry the various members of the wedding party during the multi day festivities.

The other day we heard a band approaching on our street and I grabbed my camera. The kids ran out onto the street in bare feet to get a glimpse of the red sari clad bride and to clap and cheer as the parade passed by. Sometimes the bands are quite rag tag, and sometimes they are decked out in finery, but the spirit of celebration is the same.

For this particular wedding the main ceremony has already taken place and the bride and groom are headed, together, to the groom's home for yet another party.

The horns blow (sometimes during the wee small hours I might add) ...

and the women, old ...

and young, join the throng.

Finally the bride and groom follow along with the men.

There are no "just married" signs but lately I've seen a few hearts with "S+L" written in them. Grin.
Apart from the inevitable ending to a Bollywood movie I haven't been to a wedding ceremony yet. But I would love to! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We are in the midst of the holiday sprint. We have gone to cookie parties, Christmas concerts, gathering after gathering and this week promises a few more. Someone shot off a gun two weeks ago and here we are. And I know, I know that while fun, this is the chaff that is blown away.

We have a house guest we are delighted to have. We have a car full of the church's Angel Tree presents for the children of Nepali inmates. We have Christmas cards waiting to be written. We have gifts waiting to be purchased, wrapped and put under the tree Christmas Eve. We have, we have, we have.

Lord, in the midst of this plenty and this activity let us stop and breathe. Breathe you in so that we may exhale your love and goodness to a broken world and to our own broken souls. May our focus be on the miracle of your loving us enough to come and give true hope. Amen.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Reindeer are so passe!

Kathmandu Christmas Kickoff was Santa arriving on a rickshaw. Poor reindeer. Unemployment is hitting everybody.

Swift wouldn't get near the guy. (And he is the same person who freaked him out by being Fred Flintstone at Halloween. It's a small town.)

This is our third and last Christmas in Kathmandu. Our first Christmas felt like the holiday that almost didn't happen. Our HHE (Household Effects - aka "boxes o' stuff") didn't arrive until the week before Christmas. (We all needed socks, badly.) Christmas came and the kids were delighted but I felt, well, distracted. Then last year we returned to the States for Bill's Dad's military burial at Arlington in December. We arrived back in KTM on the 23rd. Again, Christmas came but I wasn't fully in holiday gear.

This year is different. We are here all month. Lots of time for putting up a tree, celebrating Advent , making cookies (and gingerbread houses, and peppermint bark, and anything else I can come up with) and all the other things that happen at holiday time.

I hope I have time to post a bit this month in spite of the heightened activity level. The kids are are at a great age to both enjoy and understand Christmas. We really just find ourselves incredibly grateful.
Happy second week of Advent!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mustang Pony Trek - The final installment

Where was I? I have no idea so this will be nearly wordless ...

Girl in Jomsom

We stepped aside periodically to let a herd or two pass.

Marpha - the apple capital of Nepal. Who knew?

Sweet picture of Lindsay with her Daddy.


Terrible picture but it made me laugh. These were our guides for the trek: Tek and Dil. I think we were saying "ice cream!" or something like that.

Now this was cool. The girls went fossil hunting along the riverbank in Kagbeni and found several. They made for heavy souvenirs but when was the last time you picked up a fossil?


Trying to keep Swift out of the ritual bathing area at Muktinath Temple.

When you are tired of the pony ... there is always Daddy.

They are SO serious about snack time.

My trek memories are starting to fade already but I wanted to finish posting about it anyway. We were so grateful to be able to see the raw and beautiful landscape that is lower Mustang. Hopefully the pictures will help the kids remember the experience.
Peace this season!