Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ewe've made this a Christmas to remember!

That's could time spent with sheep ever not be be memorable???

Translation: We've been back in the U.S. for about 11 days now, and it's been great. We had about a week with my family in Georgia & Louisiana, and especially considering that lots of that was spent with 3 little munch-a-moos, we had an awesome time.

A layover in Dallas landed us in Wichita, where Eric's family greeted us at the airport with a Welcome Home's been really relaxing here (meaning lots of food, lots of sleep, and lots of Dominoes!), and we still have 5 days left before we're NYC-bound.

It's been so nice being back home, having some of the comforts we missed...there are things that we of course miss from our time abroad, but the re-transitioning hasn't been nearly as challenging as we were expecting (yet!). I guess that's what happens when you have good family to welcome you home.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are hopeful for 2008!

Friday, December 14, 2007

I am loving it.

Just as the "MacDonald's" (really just another local store selling vegetables and bread amidst all the other vendors) on a busy Kathmandu street proclaimed, we are leaving one new world and returning to our familiar one, and we are loving where we are.

And by loving it, I mean being tired, excited, nervous, sad, and mostly, grateful. Loving it. Here are some of my closing thoughts in this time of closure and re-entry.

I anticipate seeing Maia's new trick, crawling up the steps
As a Delhi man mimics her, substituting his arms for assumingly paralyzed legs
This world hurts, is joyful

One of our last rickshaw rides
A begging girl taps my leg
And I am reminded of the touch of Ella and Jackson awaiting me

My daydreams take me to the comfortable, consistent mattress I long to meet tomorrow night
I say only farewell to those sleeping on the sidewalks
They're sure to join me in my dreams

Chaotic streets, we began our journey into a different world
Flowing sarees, that world has claimed us
This hungry land of color, dust, light has stained my hands
For much longer than a month

And as for me, Eric, I'm always amazed by life. And breathing. And beauty. I've been lucky enough to experience all these things in Africa, and now India. With Megan. And I'm so thankful that in 36 or so hours, I'll be experiencing them once again with our family.

Thank you all so much for joining us on this journey.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

GMT +5:45

Yes, we've entered one of those weird and wonderful niches of the world that refuse to play by the rules. We're here in Kathmandu, Nepal (since yesterday) and are 11 hours and 45 minutes ahead of our homes in the Central Time Zone. People here are proud of there weirdness. Within an hour or two of landing here (from our Buddha Airlines (!) flight from Darjeeling past Mt. Everest (!!)) we, I think, correctly described Kathmandu as a hippie paradise. There's vegetarian, organic restaurants on every corner, massage, yoga, and treking shops scattered in between, and Buddhist prayer flags fluttering from every rooftop.

Now that we're almost (literally) halfway around the world from our family, and with only about a week to go before we take that long flight home, we're savoring our cultural experiences here while at the same time yearning for those red beans and rice and wheatfields. Travelling these last few days has been bittersweet - seeing and experiencing amazing and unique places, people, smells, and sounds... but only for a few minutes or hours at a time.

Since we arrived here (24 hours ago), we've walked among 900-year-old temples, been charmed by a snake charmer, bought some antique Tibetan turquoise jewelry, prayed at a Buddhist monestery, contemplated a future trek to Everest base camp, and tasted the best chocolate-cinnamon-yogurt you could imagine. It's been fun, to say the least. And impossible not to want to come back.

Next up is a 10 hour bus ride through the mountains back to India, where we'll hopefully put up temporary residence at a Buddhist monestary in Gaya - only steps away from where the Buddha first reached enlightenment centuries ago. We're planning about 4 or 5 days of meditation before we head back to Delhi, and then, finally, on to Atlanta.

Monday, December 3, 2007

So apparently I'm dating Jesus

Greetings from Darjeeling! We've had some really incredible (mostly unexpectedly incredible) experiences the past few days since we left Calcutta. Among them, some highlights:
*Seeing an incredible all-faiths-united temple (i.e. pictures of Jesus & Buddha right next to each other) on our way to Cherapunjee.
*Seeing the most beautiful waterfall ever on our tour to Cherapunjee.
*Going on a 10-mile hike (yes, I'm still sore!) to the rubber tree root bridges, and swimming in a waterfall stream...once in a lifetime kinda thing (those seem to be common these days, huh? :)).
*Meeting an incredible woman from Holland who's been living here for 9 years, and sharing a 3-hr. car ride with her. Very inspiring in terms of living in the present!
*Arriving in Darjeeling today (no good mountain views yet...hopefully with the sunrise tom. AM!)...we've already had 3 cups of tea :)!!! Sidenote, it's so interesting...people in the Northeast look MUCH more Asian than other parts...we've several times asked, "so, are we in China??"
Hope all is well in YOUR worlds. Remember that when your sun is rising, ours is setting...we're still connected! We cannot wait to hear your voices in just less than 2 weeks!!
ps...for those curious ones out there, you may have noticed Eric's "EPIC" beard. Lots of people (meaning 3) in Africa did too...and let him know that he looks like Jesus, or in one case, his brother. No one in India has shared their beard thoughts with us yet, but we'll let you know if so.