I love the small things:
Being in a country for a month and running into people you met 8 hours away.
Keeping in touch with my new friends.
The immediate connection of long-term travelers.
The moment when the pashmina sellers stopped asking me: "Are you cold? Special price on scarf for you!" and started asking me my name once they realized I had walked by 4 times a day for the past week.
Being the only westerner on the microbus and walking through the REAL Pokhara, just a few minutes from the tourist Pokhara.
The simplicity of life yet purposefulness that the trekking life brings. Eat, walk, play cards, sleep, repeat. But constantly moving towards a goal.
One line emails from back home. And the paragraphs my mom and Aunty Nancy send.
When a Nepali asks me where I'm from and the smile they crack when I ask them where they are from.
"First Time Nepal?" The more I'm asked this question, the more I realize I'll be returning someday.
Seeing parents and siblings standing on their door stoop teaching the toddlers to clasp their hands together and greet trekkers with "Namaste!"
Adopting the Nepali way of greeting everyone you see with "Namaste" but it sounds more like "namaSTAAAYYY" as though they are pleading for you to enjoy your time in this unique little piece of the world for a little longer.
The immediate comfort I feel when I'm greeted with "Jaymasi", the Christian alternative to "Namaste" that translates "Victory in Jesus!"
Discovering that I like my eggs "fried one side" (American translation: Sunny side up). There is lesser room for error than "over easy."
Learning the perfect Trekkers breakfast is hard boiled eggs and chapati with honey. Thanks Ho and Ash!
Riding on a motorcycle four times in my life...all in Nepal...all coming and going to children's homes. The things we do for kids...
The perfect weather of Nepal from October to December. I've seen clouds about 6 days in the last 2 months.
My iPhone speakers started working again after a one month hiatus.
Eating at a different breakfast place every morning during my time in Pokhara... That's about 30 mornings.
Finding the best vanilla latte in Nepal made by Sangmu at the Paradise Cafe.
Getting weekly, if not more often, check-ins from my Camino Amigos on What's App...the texting app all the world uses, except the US. Thanks Israelis and Spaniards!
Earplugs and the fact that I MIGHT be cured of my 15-year dependency on white noise to sleep.
Finding the best hot shower in Nepal. No exaggeration... It might be my best shower ever.
Beginning to be able to distinguish a British accent from an Aussie accent from a Kiwi accent from a South African accent. But sometimes I'm still wrong.
Waiting in line with the locals at the water tap at the end of the street to fill up on safe water for the day.
That Nepal might be the cheapest place to live on earth... Hence making the sabbatical budget stretch far... But will make sticking to a budget for next 5 months outside of Nepal that much more crucial.
Frequenting 3 or 4 different restaurants... by noon.
Trekking for 2 weeks out of every 4 to 6 weeks has put me in the best shape of my life.
No longer being phased by various agricultural animals roaming the streets, but still hope I don't have to answer the question "have you been around farm animals during your time abroad?" on any customs forms.
The sometimes decent internet connection that allows me to stream NPR's "All Things Considered" to make me feel a little at home.
Using everything I've packed in my bag.
The time saved by only choosing which of the three shirts or three pairs of pants I should wear today.
Paying someone $5 to do my laundry for a week. They promise it's washed by machine and that soap is used. I'm not naive to think that not all promises are kept... But it does save me about 3 hours of work.
The pretty decent cover band at the Busy Bee. They don't always get the words right but the tune is pretty spot on.
That the life I'm living this year seems completely natural.
Reflecting on what my gifts and interests are and figuring out how to create a profession for myself that I'm not sure totally exists... yet.
Despite my interest in current events and world affairs, being relatively unplugged makes you realize that the rest of the world does go on despite government shut-downs and failed technology.
Taking the time to reflect on the things I love and the things I miss.
I miss the small things:
Brushing my teeth with water from the tap.
Waking up and not having to "get ready" for breakfast.
Walking barefoot in my own house.
Green salads and vegetables that don't have to be cooked.
Cutting down my perfect Christmas tree for the 5th year in a row.
Caroling through Miller Ranch with the Bible Study Beauties.
The Christmas spirit that everyone is sharing on Facebook... but I hope to get my fill at the Christmas Markets in Germany and sharing the season with the Ouimette family!
Black Friday... Oh wait.
The birth of Drake Douglas Leibfried ... and missing "being there" for Gretchen. This is not a small thing... But Drake is, at a very tiny 3 pounds, 12 ounces.
Privacy. It seems that in a place like Nepal, you are never alone.
Sato's Sushi Philly Roll.
Toilet paper that doesn't get wet when you take a shower, because the shower isn't actually on the wall aiming directly for the toilet paper holder.
Throwing toilet paper in the toilet, not the trash can next to it.
Snow. In fact... The reports of snow that has blown up my Facebook page today is probably the inspiration for this post.
Larkburger with truffle fries and a chocolate shake... And convincing the guys at the taxi office to partake with me so I don't feel so glutinous.
The crew at High Mountain Taxi. Have a great and prosperous season!!
Eat! Drink! dates with Claire.
Calvary Chapel Vail Valley.
My cowboy boots.
Tuesday mornings with my Young Life girls.
Eagle Valley High School students.
My feet before they knew what trekking was.
My little home.
Thanks for listening. The end.