Settling In…

Well, it’s hard to believe I’ve been here less than one week. I can’t believe all of the things that have happened so far! Here’s a bit of a recap for you (and yes, this is all original content, not copied, after all, from emails home!). I’m writing it offline in Word and will publish it later. It’s Tuesday night right now.

My flights went quite well on the way here. My overnight in Doha was everything I hoped it would be – namely, a chance to get a Qatar stamp in my passport! – and more! The “more” part means that instead of just a hotel room, I got a full out suite with a separate bedroom (two beds), a kitchen area, a washing machine, and a sitting room (and a bathroom, of course). The buffet dinner was excellent, and I got a bag of “refreshments” (sandwiches, an apple, a bottle of water, and a can of orange pop) when I left in the morning. Because I couldn’t take any carry-on except for my laptop and tiny purse, I didn’t have a change of clothes or pajamas (though I did have fresh underwear!). Now, the only piece of clothing (besides underwear) that I can’t stand the idea of putting BACK ON is socks. So, I went over to explore the washing machine. I thought I had it pretty well figured out, but I ended up putting my socks on a four hour wash cycle. Needless to say, I didn’t mind putting them back on the next day! They were QUITE clean!

Once I arrived in Kathmandu, I made it through the airport fine, except it took quite awhile for the bags to come out. When I went out, I had no trouble finding the driver from the school and my Link person (like a mentor, I think), LB. We drove to the guest house, where I settled into my room (HUGE) and met the super great people I’m living with now!

Since then, with regards to the school, I’ve had an official tour, wandered around my new classroom, been set up on the computer/email system, learned how to use the library search program, learned how the daily program of the school works, had a cultural tour of the city, and started learning Nepali! I just started Nepali lessons today, and I was SO nervous, but I am absolutely loving it so far! I think learning Thai helped from the standpoint that the sounds are easier for me to make because I had to learn them for Thai. I’ll write another post later about some of the new words I’m learning.

Incidently, it only occured to me today that the Thai word for car, “caprote”, and the Thai word for dirty, “socaprote”, are quite similar. Coincidence? … maybe. I haven’t a clue. But it’s interesting! (I know that’s not how you spell those words – it’s just how they sound.)

Outside of school, I have been so enjoying the company of the others at the guest house right now. There is a great family of four from Oregon (son 19 and daughter 21), and they have been such a blessing in so many ways. Then there is another new teacher who’s come for six months from London, and it’s been great getting to hang out with him, too. (Simon blogs here.) We all spent this evening playing Uno together, and considering it’s a fairly standard game, I’m quite sure it will stand out in my mind for a long time to come! It makes the idea of being away from home so much easier to be okay with, when you have such great people around you!

There are two things to mention about life here before I wrap up for the night, because they are worth mentioning!

The first is that it is absolutely FREEZING here – and yes, I am a born and raised Canadian. I figured out the difference is that while Canada gets FAR colder temperatures than Nepal, we also have things like insulation, furnaces, and proper clothing and linens, that all work together to make the general effect not so bad, as a rule. In Nepal, the houses are made of concrete, and while some houses (and the school classrooms) have gas heaters, the guest house doesn’t. And the blankets are thin. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever been this cold at night before in my life! I wear an undershirt, my flannel pajamas with my summer pajamas on top, two pairs of socks, my school sweater, a hat, my gloves, and the eye shade from Qatar Airlines (which serves the dual purpose of keeping the top half of my face warm while also keeping my eyes shut – which accounts for about 30% of my routine difficulties getting to sleep; the other 70% is my overactive mind!). LB has loaned me another blanket, which hopefully will make tonight even more manageable. I’m starting to get the hang of it! By mid-day, the sun is warm, but it’s still not hot… I’ve never seen such variance in temperatures in one day, though, as they get here. It’s pretty crazy. By mid February, it’s supposed to be not quite so cold, and by the time I leave in June, it should be quite hot.

Secondly, the power goes off here on a regular schedule. Right now, it’s off for either 7.5 or 8 hours a day, in two blocks. That takes a bit of getting used to, though there are some lights on batteries to help out a bit during the dark times (“dark times”… that sounds quite profoundly metaphorical… alas, I mean it quite literally…). I heard they’re going to raise it to 12 hours soon. Last year it got up to 16, and LB said one year it was up to 20. Interesting…

Well, I’ve got piles more to say, but I need to be off to bed now. Tomorrow’s another busy day!

Okay, it’s now Wednesday morning and I am happy to report that I found another spare blanket, and thus spent last night quite warm, compared to the other nights. It’s weird because exactly where you are lying gets nice and warm from your body heat, but if you move even an inch over, the bed is icy cold! But having the extra blankets sure helped!!!

I just read Simon’s blog from last night, and he’s mentioned some stuff I failed to include here (church, etc), so you may want to check out his blog if you’re interested in more info about life here. I’m trying to upload photos, but it takes such a very long time… He’s got some up, so you can look at his for now. 🙂

Today we get to meet the CEO of the school, and we start the chunk of our induction program that we get to do together (all of the new hires) – hooray! Then, it’s two more hours of language, and hopefully a nice walk to pick out a cell phone and explore a gym membership.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

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