An Overdue Update

Well, I think I’m certainly overdue for a decent update on how things are going, so hopefully this will make up for lost time…

I think the last thing I posted about was getting ready to go to the Leprosy Hospital (and then the poem after that). So, the Leprosy Hospital event turned out really well. I had a great time, and bought lots of handmade crafts (fundraiser). Most (all?) were made by people with disabilities, and I enjoyed having a fun way to support their efforts (like buying NightLight jewelry – a great way to support people making the effort to pull their lives together).

We went on a hike up a hill to find a view – and I almost didn’t make it up! I could walk for hours and hours on end flat, but up? Oh dear! Here’s a picture of me once I made it to the top.

The next day, we went to church in the morning. I’ve decided to become a “regular” at the International Church nearby and am quite enjoying the services there. They’ve got several people filling in until the new pastor gets here in March, and they are just phenomenal. They are putting together a photo album with personal introductions for the new pastor, and I’ll get my picture taken for that sometime this month. I really enjoy the socializing time afterward, too; there is always yummy chia (which is like the milky masala tea you get on the streets in India) available, and so many new people to meet! Generally speaking, a bunch of us all go out for lunch after service, which is also lots of fun. I can’t believe how many restaurants there are here – ones I would never go in by myself, but when someone tells you they are okay, then you go and find out they are actually really great.

That afternoon, Simon, Emily and I went over to someone’s house (they had power) and watched the first two sets of a big tennis match between a guy who is super fantastic and another guy who was trying to beat him. I was cheering for the second guy because he was from the UK (the other guy was Swiss) and I figured Canada was more closely tied to the UK than to Switzerland… The power cut out after the second set, and then it turned out that our guy lost. I actually quite enjoyed an afternoon of watching sport – which is interesting because although I would not usually describe myself as someone who enjoys watching sports events, every single time I ever have, I’ve really enjoyed it! Interesting… I’m just waiting til I watch my first football (soccer) match – with all of the people here, it’s inevitable I’ll see one eventually – and I’m looking forward to it! [Which is not to say that Canadians and Americans don’t like soccer, but seriously – it pales in comparison to hockey and football!]

Okay, we’re going to skip to the next weekend, and then go back and fill in the chunks about school last week and this week all together.

This Friday night, a bunch of us went down to a hotel open house that the librarian at school and her husband (I believe) are opening. We ate and hung out, and also looked at some artwork that Helena (who lives in the flat upstairs and teaches art at school) did. After that, we all went out bowling. Yep, bowling! Ten pin – which was quite a stretch for me! The bowling alley only had four lanes, and only three were working! 😛 I was awful, but I had a blast just hanging out with everyone.

On Saturday, I don’t remember what I did in the morning – I think I did some lesson planning or something to that effect. After lunch, Mike, Simon, Emily, Jordan and I all went on a long-ish hike to a gorge in our area. It was just beautiful (though the water was black and polluted…). Here is a picture from that walk.

After that, Emily, Peter, Simon and I went over to our friend Edwin’s house for dinner and some games. We had a great time, though we tried to play a new game that Peter brought and I think it was just not everyone’s cup of tea, if you know what I mean. I thought it was great that everyone gave it the good ol’ college try, but even I found it confusing at first, and I’m “used to” “that sort” of game. It was the same style of game as Killer Bunnies, Fightball, and a couple of other ones that we play at home. To be perfectly honest, I think if I were to play it again (and maybe at home with Harley and Marilyn!) it’d be easier to grasp. 😛 After that we played President – which I’ve discovered almost everyone knows, regardless of where they grew up, though by a variety of different names, many of which are unprintable! 😛 We always called it President growing up. Like how I had fun bowling regardless of the game itself, I just really have so much fun being with people…

Sunday brought another church service and another lunch out. Then, Michelle took Emily and I out shopping for fabric to get our kurtas, which was super fun! I love looking at fabric, and being able to BUY fabric is just that much million times better! I was going to get one full outfit, and then one or two more tops, but I found great deals and ended up with three full outfits – and all of the tops are such that I’ll wear them again in Canada. Then we stopped at the tailor’s and he’s going to sew up all the outfits this week. I’ll post pictures here when I finally get them. 🙂 Lastly, we stopped at a coffee shop and I got a *real* iced tea (black tea with ice cubes), and carrot cake with real cream cheese icing (hard to find because it’s so expensive here)! The guys were out with a few other friends playing Ultimate Frizbee until quite late, so we all had dinner together quite late when they got home.

All in all, it was yet another good weekend in Kathmandu!

With regards to school, everything is going really well and I feel like I’m settling into a bit of a routine. I am really enjoying all of my classes. The students are just fantastic, and even when they’re not perfectly behaved, they are still just being kids, you know?

I did my first round of Parent/Teacher Interviews ever, and must say I really enjoyed the experience. The parents I met were really lovely people and I quite enjoyed my conversations with them. At this point, because I don’t know too much about the students, the interview was more about the parents telling me about their child – what they wanted me to know, what their concerns were, etc. I found it quite informative, and it really helped me to understand the students better.

I’m working hard at getting the hang of my grade 1 class. I’m teaching them one period of math everyday. This is the furthest outside of my “comfort zone” of teaching I’ve ever been, but I have purposed in my heart to learn as much as I can from this experience. It seems like every day I leave the classroom with another new idea to try the next day – something to tweak, something spontaneous that worked well that I want to try again, etc. The learning curve is quite steep, but it’s been quite beneficial, so far.

I’m settling nicely into the more routine classes I do with the grade 6s (math and literacy). I’m enjoying teaching those subjects very much, and really like the classroom dynamic that generally exists during those classes.

I am having more difficulty with the combined classes (both 6s and 5s) simply because I feel like it’s harder to get everyone’s attention and keep it. However, it’s not impossible – I’ve taught larger classes before. It’s just a matter of getting the hang of what this particular situation calls for – and I’m still working on figuring that out.

My work with the grade 4s has been so much fun! They are currently working on writing narrative stories in the Native Canadian (there’s a tie to our social studies unit!) style – that is to say, they are explaining how an element of nature came to be the way it is today. We read stories such as How the Bear Lost His Tail, and the Seven Dancing Sisters/Brothers to help them get the hang of the style, and now they are working on their own ideas. They are all such creative students!

Aside from school and weekends, there is still more going on to share about! Wow – crazy how busy things get, eh? Tuesday nights are home group nights. I haven’t found a home group to call “home” yet, but we’re checking out another one next week. I’m really hoping to find one that is quite Bible-based, as opposed to just talks about Christian-themed things, you know? But we’ll see…

Wednesday night has become a regular games night, I think. Last week, several people were sick, so only Jordan came over, but we still played some interesting “games”. First, we all played “find my house on Google Maps Street View” and we soon expanded that to other things such as our schools, churches, etc., etc. Then we played President.

On another note, that awkward stage of living with people has finally settled in for me. I’m surprised it took so long – usually I get like this right off the bat and grow out of it quickly, and this time, it’s only just hit in the past couple of days. I’m quite preoccupied with worrying about stepping on people’s toes! I’m worried about crowding people, about their getting tired of my company, and if someone is quiet or busy or anything else, I some how figure it must be my fault for upsetting them. I feel like I need to apologize, but if I say something and it really was all in my head, that gets weirdly awkward, too. If past experiences hold true, this is all purely all a result of my own insecurities and desires to make sure everyone is happy, and has no basis in reality. However, it doesn’t feel that way right now… I’m praying this phase will pass quickly!

Right now, I’m gearing up for another games night. I think the genre of the night is “theater games”, so something to do with acting. I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful day. God bless!

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