Nepal – Year 1 (already!)

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It’s hard to believe that our first year here in Nepal has come to a close.  We arrived on July 21 in the midst of the monsoon season and here we are again.  The rains have been exceptionally heavy and the mosquitos plentiful.  I don’t remember there being so much rain last year, but it could just be amnesia.  There was a lot for us to take in during that time so maybe the monsoons were just another part of the overall adventure.  And an adventure it has been!

I am so pleased that we made the decision to come here for two years.  I can’t imagine having to head back to the States already.  Though it has been an incredible year and everything we were looking for, there are still a few more things we want to accomplish.  We aren’t ready to leave just yet.

Our life over the past year, for the most part, has been quite simple (some may even call it boring!)  For us, it has been truly transformative and EXACTLY what we were seeking.  We have had the luxury of time and energy to focus on ourselves, each other, and our community.  We are healthier in body and spirit with a newfound sense of inner peace.  It is such an amazing feeling.

Even though we are on “sabbatical”, time has gone by quickly.  I thought for sure that time would slow down once we were here, but that has certainly not been the case.  We have all been busy in our own way.  Cultivating a yoga practice has been a big part of our life here and that has been my main focus.  Mark continues to work on learning the guitar and Rohin, of course, is growing by leaps and bounds as is typical of most children.

Mark and I both had the opportunity to get away for a few days and do something we have been wanting to do.  Mark went on a trek to Annapurna Base Camp in May and I went on a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in June.  Both experiences were incredible in their own way.  For me, the meditation course was one of the hardest things that I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding.  It was truly life changing!  One of my friends here who has also done this course warned me that it would be intense but she also said to consider it a gift.  She was right.  It was the most precious gift I could have ever given myself.

Over the past year, we also got involved in a couple of community projects.  Last October, one of the parents at The British School collected funds after the earthquake and used those funds to help a local Nepali grade school.  We helped paint classrooms, install new play ground equipment, and do some landscaping…all little things that seemed to make a big difference.

Another project that I was particularly excited about was revitalizing a community park in the neighborhood.  Early in our time here, I posted that one of the hardest things about being here was the lack of public green space, especially playgrounds.  With the energetic efforts and enthusiasm of several people and over the span of about two months, we were able to convert a dilapidated community park into a true playground space for all to enjoy!

Below is a link to an excellent write-up on the park project by Nita Bhave, a dear friend who is also from the U.S. and has been living in Nepal with her family for over two years.  She does a great recap (complete with cost data and pictures) on her blog about the project from inception to completion.  It is definitely worth a read!

Kathmandu Parks and Rec – Grassroots style

The park project was a fantastic (as Rohin likes to say) finish to our first year in Nepal!  We are looking forward to the upcoming year and all it will bring.  We have a few things planned, but for the most part, we are going to take it as it comes.

We loved having Mark’s parents come for a visit in March and are hoping that we get more visitors before we depart this beautiful country next May.  If you are thinking about coming to Nepal, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We would love to see you and welcome you with open arms!

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