Friday, October 4, 2013

30 nights, 24 beds

Last night I set a record. 3 nights in the same bed... the most since we left Paris. It might be the least desirable place I've laid my head. But I'm happy to not be packing up my stuff everyday.  

AND... The Nobel Peace Hotel in Boudha has hot water. There are two things that have kept me from being a missionary: my own bed and hot showers. It seems I've given one up for a year. And thankfully, in all my travels, The Lord has provided hot showers. (Except for Isla Chira, Costa Rica. But I'm pretty sure that place was the hottest place on Earth and I was thankful for cold showers.)  So Tuesday night I was bracing myself for a cold shower, and just as I was about to use shampoo, hot water came out of the faucet. I immediately began singing "Our God, is an awesome God. He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power and love. Our God is an Awesome God..."  The Nobel Peace Prize Hotel (that's what we call it) just earned an extra Trip Advisor star.  Maybe 2. I hadn't had a hot shower in 6 days. I was counting. 

But in this nomadic life, I've had lots of practice to help achieve Goal #3 for this sabbatical year: Flexibility. 

Each day, since Paris, I literally have not known where I was going to be sleeping that night... except for on our overnight flights... of which there have been three. And I keep preparing myself for the fact that each night at Alfred Nobel's hotel could be my last... but Annette and I just had a conversation that barring any significant disturbances (mostly involving what Annette affectionately refers to as "creepy-crawlies") we will be staying here till our time ends in Boudha next week. I'll think about unpacking my bag in its entirety for the first time, ever, tomorrow. 

Upon arrival in Nepal, we planned to spend two days in Kathmandu, head to a children's home in the Chitwan area (near the border with India) for a month, head out on a trek to Everest Base Camp, then return to Chitwan, or another location if the opportunity presented itself.  We wanted to leave our options open. It hasn't actually played out that way. 

Enter opportunity to practice Flexibility! 

We spent 2 nights in Lalitpur (which is basically Kathmandu), and then met with James, our Nepali contact with First Love Ministries who have 3 or 4 children's homes in the country. For reasons that are not clear to me, it seemed that it wasn't the best time to head to Chitwan so James worked some magic and brought us to Boudha, basically Kathmandu as well. The home in Boudha is run James' brother, Muktuk and his wife, Lakba. They have 4 children of their own, 3 of which live there as well. There are 16 kids at the home: 8 boys and 8 girls... and either Annette or I would take home any of the 16, if Nepal were not a closed country for adoptions. (With the exception of Russia, countries seem to close as a result of child trafficking problems... as was the case in Guatemala...) I'm looking forward to telling you more about each of these beautiful faces in a future post.  We love how their personalities are so unique and we are learning each of them!

So our daily schedule has become something like this...
Meet the kids on the road on the way to school in the morning and walk with them the rest of the way. Grab breakfast at The Way Cafe (an Internet Cafe started as an outreach ministry, possibly with a YWAM connection) and check email. Spend the day on a day trip, reading or "office hours", meet the kids at 4 at school.  Walk them home. Wait for them to change out of school uniforms. Help with homework (in between handclap games sung in some Nepali interpretation of the English words.  My best interpretation of what they are singing is: "Tom and Jerry. Tom and Jerry. With Mary. With Mary. I-O-O-O. I-C-C-C. I-O. I-C. Coca-Cola. Pepsi!"  If anyone grew up playing a game like this and has a better interpretation, I'd love to know.). They have snack time (water or hot tea and crackers). Play time consists of marbles, a Nepali hop-scotch game, or a game like jacks but using small stones they have broken into dice size pieces.  They have tried to teach me all these games.  Their patience with me is short and they eventually keep playing with each other, leaving me on the sidelines to observe, happily. I've found I can be a good lap while they wait their turn or to console them if something goes wrong in the game. Playtime leads to fellowship time (singing, prayer time and a Bible story). We leave just after this so we can make it to The Way Cafe in time to eat our daily helping of buff momo before they close.  (I just discovered yesterday that buff is actually buffalo...what we would call water buffalo. Who knew?!?  I've been eating it for 4 days.)  Cafe closes at 8 which turns out to be 7:45, so we head back to the World Peace Hotel for an evening of reading, blogging and talking through the day. 

It seems that we will be here for another week, maybe 10 days, before we head out for Base Camp. But, if plans change, no problem. I'm learning to roll with it!  Yay! Flexibility!  

Another example of flexibility... Wednesday we headed to Thamel Square, where all the Trekkers stock up on knock-off versions of any left behind gear and book last minute treks as well. James was kind enough to get a taxi for us from a friend he assured us wouldn't rip us off. Journey into town was good, but our driver indicated he would meet us at 3 at the corner he dropped us off at. By 3:15, he was not to be seen, and our $13 Nepali phone ran out of batteries after 5 hours. Being, flexible... or creative... or basically desperate, Annette made friends with the "jeweler" who's shop we were standing in front of and he let us use his phone to call James who called the driver who said he had another trip and that we should find another cab.  Only problem is we have no idea how to tell the driver to get where we live because we don't know where we live. No problem... Driver can call James and get directions. Bottom line, thank you, Jesus, for James!  Out of this story, the Good Sammy award was born.  That'll be my next blog post...

Lessons in flexibility continue in learning the culture and things that seem to be lost in translation. I love sharing this experience with Annette because I have someone to debrief the day with. It's funny how we will both be participants in an experience or conversation and we each interpret it in different ways. We are both right, about half the time.  This whole trip would be half as fun without her!  

P.S. If you ever want the Cliffs Notes version of our experiences or a different perspective, check out Annette's blog at


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