Goodbye Nepal… for now

So on Sunday I leave Pokhara with the INF crew and head to Kathmandu where the INF conference will be happening next week. I sadly will be missing this but will be heading to MCS in Pakistan on Monday for a very short two and half day visit to see friends, students and experience a life once lived. I am very blessed to be staying at the school for the visit (I hope I get my old house back) and am looking forward to the joy at MCS (I am quite excited to see the monkeys again, just saying).

The past week has been crazy and I will hopefully write about it in the coming week. Last night was really hard explaining to Shari (4 years) that I will be leaving on Sunday, Christina was a big help and we talked about how I will be coming back next year (which Shari thinks is too far away, so cute). I am hoping Sunday is not too tearful and that my short time in Thamel by myself can be productive and relaxing.

Here are a very few selected photos from the trip so far (I managed to retrieve my photos off my waterproof camera, and the internet is working whoop!)

WOOL!!!

Home sweet home

Geotechnical drilling at work

mmmmm milkshake

The road to work

INF celebrations, compound gate

The beautiful goats at work

The rosella jam craze

INF birthday lunch

Girls just want to have fun

Darsai swing

Lakeside

Mardi Himal – 4500m (well more like 4176m, but we don’t talk about that)

Taking it in

The valleys from Mardi base camp route

Village life – a small taste, leaving me wanting more

Mount Macchapucchre

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Week way gone

Lakeside, a break from the working world

I had a holiday!! I forgot about my to do list (well most of the time) for four lovely days!

I went trekking up to Mardi base camp (~4500m), the highest I have ever been. It was an easy trek, a mixture of broken cobbles and grass lining a path up through the Annapurna region. The challenge however came with the altitude, early morning starts (as the boys were quite ambitious), a slight isolation due to language (three Germans and a kiwi, let alone, three males and a female) and the need to forget about all that needed/needs to be accomplished before I leave Nepal.

Nepal reminds me of New Zealand, and I can understand the love affair kiwis have with the beauty that is this country. The terrain is similar (however a lot less punishing than the New Zealand forest). The mountains remind me of the South Island, the rhododendrons lining the ground far and wide reminded me of the Waitakeres, and the vast Kauri trees and native bush spanning as far as the eye can see. As we climbed higher, the mountains surrounded us, engulfing our vision and path. To take in the vast array of the mountains was impossible, their beauty, their intricate nature, the never ending journey they travel. The altitude thinned the air, purifying our minds and determination, I can’t say I struggled but I was aware of this change, it was not a burden, it was an awakening of the vast depth these mountains beheld and the greatness of their creations (and their creator).

We made base camp by mid afternoon on the third day, descending over 3000m on the fourth back to Pokhara (~800m). My ankles were badly damaged on the accent to base camp, some serious deep tissue bruising (not much that can be done about that), this provided a challenge on the decent and brought back memories of the last 7km of the Oxfam trail walker many years ago (100km walk) when I compressed the souls of my feet so far every step was agony and a metal torment. At this point, I missed home, I missed my tramping buddies, the people I trust and can be completely honest with (and can read me like a book), I missed people who could communicate with me whole heartedly with that kiwi humour and support I have grown to love. But amidst this yearning, the support given was a blessing, and having to trust those in such a vulnerable situation was humbling but also an overcoming of fear.

I never really miss home when I am away, maybe this trip is so challenging as for once there is so much waiting for me on my return back home, rowing, a move to a new city, new studies, sewing challenges etc. Maybe being home sick is missing that that waits for one on return? Maybe I am finally comfortable in my kiwi skin, comfortable in this world, comfortable in my place in New Zealand even though I know this comfort will not last, as this side of the world beckons my return, even while I am here.

So I managed to leave my camera cable in New Zealand for my outdoors camera, so unless I manage to find some way of recovering my photos you will have to imagine the beauty of the mountains, the snow (yes, I forgot to mention, 20cm of snow!) and the journey I took for another week and a half (but here are some photos from lakeside and INF birthday to keep you happy)

Sailing

INF 60th Anniversary Lunch

In 7 days I will be on a plane to Pakistan. Please pray, if so inclined for my safety on this journey and that I can accomplish the work required of me here in Nepal. My chest flu is still lingering, I have a bit of a bark but apart from fatigue am doing pretty good (thanks for the prayers). There is a lot pondering on my brain (future challenges, relationships with people), please pray for guidance and contentment in these.

Auds

Four days, four posts, take four

Monday, well Monday is work, I am busy trying to get this chicken coup designed (so I can at least tick one project off the list). I left work early to see a tailor (Elaine one of the teachers took me to a lovely tailor from church), I have no idea how my outfits will turn out as it was all confusing and there were far too many decisions to make, without Tabea there (or anyone my age for that matter) it made things a little difficult. We had a trekking meeting straight after, so I am going trekking on Wednesday for 5 days. We are going to Mardi base camp which is in the Annapurna region and is 4500m high (one of the highest in the region). I am going with Artua, his brother (Richard) and Martin. The only major concern is altitude sickness but dad has contacted the doctor and all my heart meds are good, so I am set to go and have a bit of fun (the thing that comes to mind… where are the RAMs forms?).

The best part of the night was going to a local children’s home with Tabea, Karen, Eva, Xinia and Anu (the girls house). The older kids were not there but there were about 20 young ones, all buzzing to see us. They sang, danced and were full of smiles. We got up and sung he’s got the whole world in his hands with actions. The kids were teaching me Nepali over dinner, I was the eldest (apart from Karen, who is like a mum) so all the kids would giggle when I said I was 25 (in English too). It was such a refreshing experience and I loved being with local kids again (reminded me of Cambodia).

Tabea and I got home and baked. We bake a lot! We have a 2kg block of chocolate to get through and have just made it half way.

The next two days are Nepali festival days so everything shuts down (hence the trekking). I will be back late Sunday and hopefully will have some stories to tell.

For those inclined to pray it would be awesome if you could pray that my flu gets better (I have had a chest flu since Sunday, with continuing migraines) and that I do not suffer greatly from altitude sickness (as, well that is kind of a serious one, and I would like to come back to NZ in one piece, with all my brain cells preferably). I am looking forward to the break but know I will be coming back to a mountain of work in my last week, so time management and clear thinking of problem solving would also be awesome to have prayer for.

Talk soon

Auds

Four days, four posts, take three

Sunday I babysat Shari and Tara all by myself (yip, all by myself, with very little German too, oh yeah I don’t know if I have mentioned my German has been pulled out of a dark corner of my closet, I understand more than I can speak, but try not to let that on too much). We had heaps of fun, the house got a bit of a makeover, furniture all over the place, toys, puzzles (it was so awesome when Tara, 2, put together three puzzles all by herself, was so exciting), sand, dirt was dragged around the porch, ah to be a kid again (I can remember making tunnels and huts out of chairs and blankets with my brother in the hallway when we were younger). Shari and Tara’s new favourite game is “lets put grass and dirt on Audsley” got to a point where I had to be rather firm in German to Tara to stop and “lets try and wake Audsley up, oh no lets just stand on her”. The swing was great, we tried so many different combinations, individual, Shari and Tara together, me and Shari, twisting, standing… Best part of the day…. no crying, yip no crying, success, and here I was worried that not being able to speak German was going to be a massive hassle (Shari’s English is really good, and Tara could understand most things).

The afternoon Tabea and I headed to Mahendrapul (ok that is spelt terribly wrong but I cannot find the spelling right now), the plan was sari and bangle shopping (and picking up trekking food). Our plans never work out… Martin ended up coming along (first thing unplanned) and we spent a good amount of time shopping for food (second thing unplanned), then headed to a fabric store where I purchased two lots of material to be made into Kurta Salwar (third thing unplanned, the sari store never got a look and I didn’t even pick out the material, it is good having a guy coming along…), I am getting them made a little conservative so I can wear them in Pakistan (and hopefully Afghanistan in the coming future… ask me about that one sometime). The material colours were blue and navy and a green a brown, I will post photos when the internet improves and I get them back from the tailor.

We parted ways with Martin and headed into a bangle store where I managed to find some nice beaded bangles (gold with brown and gold with clear beads); I will hunt for some blue ones next week. We bumped into the girls from the hostel and were invited back to the hostel for a chat and some food (was so lovely, I really like the girls from the hostel, they are both from Germany and only have Sundays off so it was great to be able to spend some time with them). It was one of those days where your plans don’t work out but what does happen is more perfect than could have been envisioned. It’s been one busy weekend!

Four days, four posts, take two

Why I would get up at 4.20am on a Saturday is beyond me (unless it involves rowing and then it is obvious). But on Saturday I managed to get myself up, dressed and ready for meeting Martin at 4:45am for a prayer meeting at a local children’s outreach ministry. It was cold! Colder than I dressed for but was an amazing way to start the morning, I don’t really know how to describe it; I got the most teaching I have over the whole visit so far. It was just awesome!

Saturday is the Sabbath here, so church followed in the morning then a nice trip to Lakeside with Tabea for “girly” homewear for my new apartment in ChCh. I also had the fun job of purchasing trekking gear as all mine is sitting in its tidy tub back home (I never intended on trekking, but meh, forced holiday). I love going to Lakeside as I can wear my denim shorts, a t-shirt and be a tourist for a few hours (I am craving summer back home).

We meet up with Artua and his brother for a milkshake at Perky Beans (the best place in Lakeside, half litre milkshakes for NZD $3), this is my second weekend in a row I have ended up there (same table too), good times. We also meet up again for dinner at a very dark and bumpy end of Lakeside for a Kebab in a bamboo two storey hut, candle lit, sitting on mats with cushions, it was an experience. I couldn’t resist having LAMB!! ok not Kiwi quality but mmmm lamb, I think the view that was vocalised by a few friends before I left that I am going to end up marrying a farmer is probably true, home kill meat om nom nom nom, ok enough about food.

In short I am very blessed to have been able to pick up some awesome photo frames, a lamp shade and a nice journal for my new room, I am so excited about decorating it! The company was great and it was just nice to relax and settle into a place hopefully one day may be home (?).

Four days, four posts, take one

Wow, so much has happened these past four days I don’t know where to start…

To make things easier on the eye (and sanity), the past four days will be broken into small excerpts, of course not divulging too much (small excerpts), but enough to provide some insight into the joys they have provided.

Friday we had the 60th celebrations for INF, I had a terrible migraine all day so managed to be as cherpy as possible, it was a short 2 hours session of speeches, a play and some singing (all in Nepali, so staying awake was a bit of a challenge). Lunch was a communal Dal Baht (om nom nom) in the beautiful sunshine. It was a lovely day with very little work and lots of fellowship with the community.

In the evening I went to Eva and Artua’s for dinner, Artua’s brother is over visiting and Martin also came along. We had a fun night of food and board games, a slightly modified (and evil) version of Ludo (I am not the best at Ludo, and this version was a little sinister), I really enjoyed it!!

It was a long day but really enjoyable, I got home to a nice cup of tea and a chat with Tabea, a good way to start the weekend.

 

Audsley + Bicycle = Fun

I rode a bike and didn’t fall off! Yes what a strange statement coming from a 25 year old, a girl who was given her first two wheeled bike at the age of 6, they say you can never forget how to ride a bike, well my last visit is still burnt into the memories of some of the INF’ers here and they would beg to differ. To explain, my last visit here I rode a bike for the first time in a few years (as well Auckland is cyclist suicide in my opinion and who cycles when you have a car, the bus or two legs to walk with?), and the seat was a tad high (yep I am going to blame the seat, think what you want), I had a few moments of tipping and a few near misses with some tourists and cars riding to Lakeside, BUT NOT THIS TIME!! Admittedly the seat is a little low, but I can ride (stay vertical) and not be a hazard to the locals and tourists (at least that’s what I think).

To confirm this I rode to Mahendrapul (Pokhara city centre ish) in what we would call rush hour, all for cheese, it was good cheese. I managed to stay on my bike (first achievement), not hit anyone/anything (second achievement) and managed to have a little fun (laughing quite a lot, is this an achievement, yip I think it is, me have fun, never) and dabble in a bit of speed (cycling in rush hour shouldn’t be leisurely, there are cars to battle with for ownership of your strip of road). It was a good experience, one I would never do by myself, I had Martin as leader “driver”, thankfully he is not too crazy and didn’t get us killed, I was a sheep, following my guide. It was admittedly a bit of a ride, my plans that night to have dinner on the table by 7pm were delayed (by three hours), but what’s time when you’re having fun?

So the plan is to ride my brand new road bike (well new to me, I brought her a week before I left) to rowing on my first Sunday back in NZ, I am quite excited, maybe not about managing cleats on the shoes, but cycling is so much fun, was one of my favourite past times back in the day so I am quite excited.

Have an awesome weekend!

Birthday Celebrations

So today is the 60th anniversary of INF, it is a day to celebrate, have good food and have a bit of fun with all the staff. I am not really sure what to expect, I just hope I don’t start stressing about the work needed to be done rather then enjoying the moment.

This week has been testing, I have been a tad ill (I fear the worst is yet to come), Tabea is really sick and work is trying. Sadly the internet has had mind of its own so I haven’t been able to upload any awesome photos (I say awesome because Brian lent me an amazing camera that removes my novice photography look), but maybe next week. Other than that life is good, I am learning a lot about myself and am also realising that I am in desperate need of a good holiday (the problem is I don’t know how to have a holiday, there is always something on my mind to do… hmm… something to work on maybe).

I have been doing a lot of baking and cooking this week (always good living with another girl) and even branched out and painted my nails, and it has been on for longer than 24 hours (some sort of record for me, lasting longer than 2 hours would have achieved this tho).

So in my quiet time I can across some cool pearls of wisdom, wither you are religious or not you may get something out of these as I think they can be applied to varying aspects of life.

Enjoy

“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” – Romans 8:24-25 NIV

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” – Matthew 5:11 NIV

What I have been listening too

So much good music out at the moment, its hard for me to contain myself to one particular genre and artist. Here is a brief list of some music that has been keeping me company these past two weeks…

Taylor Swift – Red – Yes I like Taylor Swift, this album has took a six hour bus ride to grow on me but I love it, State of Grace and Red and two of my favourites, with State of Grace fitting in so well with the travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara.

Opus Orange – Opus Orange EP – I love these guys, I cannot get enough of this EP, the songs are short but so fulfilling, I can see myself doing some filming and having many of these tracks as the accompanying music, if you have not heard them before check them out on Spotify and enjoy!

Ed Sheeran – + – Ed Sheeran is an interesting one, the typical British artist. I really like him, really different and confronting music, it is a nice refreshing change. I love the song Drunk (and the video cracks me up) and also Give me love (such an amazing track, great harmonies, just can’t get enough of it, it leaves you wanting more)

And I shouldn’t forget to mention I brought my flute with me, I do enjoy my current exam pieces, they are a challenge and provide a bit of culture to my current surroundings.

What I have been reading

God Bless the kindle. I have never really been a reader, but in the past few years I seem to reading more and more, more so when I travel. My kindle has barely been put to good use since my last overseas visit in January, but I am so glad to have it with me, its a little piece of comfort, of familiarity, of home.

So my reading is spread over a decent range of books (because one is just too simple, I am a typical female, we like to multitask… sometimes too much). So what am I reading, well…

The Diary if a Young Girl – Anne Frank – Thanks Shirley for this recommendation, easy, humorous and light but something that stirs thoughts and emotions.

A year with C. S. Lewis – C. S. Lewis – I started these daily reading in Pakistan and they set me up for the day, an automatic routine, and a nice one to get back into.

The Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne – So most people I know have read this recently so I thought I would see what the hype is about… oh yeh, not bad, gets me thinking, I can’t say anything oober awesome about it yet (maybe when I have finished it), it is definitely a decent read and is stirring up some contemplative thoughts.

James: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary – John MacArthur – Ok, I love the book of James (happens to be my favourite New Testament book), and John MacArthur, well I don’t need to go into how awesome he writes, conveys information and hits the theological spot (if you don’t know him, google… NOW). I am one of those people who don’t get their Bible out on a daily basis, something that needs to change, I read this in Pakistan and didn’t get too far, but was convicted to get through it and divulge into the book of James again, such a good move.

Books I have started but haven’t picked them up since New Zealand

The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne – I started this book a month back, one of my colleges at work recommended it to me especially because the movie played with my mind so much, the book would go further, and hopefully give a different insight. It is a very easy read and I am really looking forward to seeing how the characters develop.

Out of Oz: The final volume in the wicked years – Gregory Maquire – Ok most of you know I love the Wicked series, this is the fourth and final (Wicked, Son of a witch, A lion among men and Out of Oz, the first three are a definite read, warning Wicked has some X rated sections and can be gruesome at times). I started this book last year, and it is just dragging, I am 37% of the way through (thank you helpful kindle) and this particular section of the book just won’t end, there is only so much one can handle of “desert” like wandering. The first part was amazing, dragons, munchkins uprising, and then the fleeing and wandering in the wilderness. I will somehow gather the strength to get through this section, but for now I am happy to give my sanity some peace.

To read…

I have not forgotten about book club, 1984 by George Orwell is yet to be started but should be completed by my flight back to New Zealand

Looking at this list I guess I like to read.