Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Big Foot

Now I've always thought that my size 8 feet were fairly "normal" and sort of middle of the road.  Whenever there were sales at the mall, there were never (hardly ever anyway) size 8 shoes left, so I always knew there were plenty of others with my size. 

Then I moved to Nepal and found out that my feet are not middle of the road anymore!  Apparently size 8 is not so common.  When scanning the shoe aisles, I find plenty of shoes I'd like to try on.

Then when I ask if there is this or that shoe in size 39 (what size 8 is here) I get a look of doubt and am told, "Well, I'm not sure if we have any THAT big, but I'll look."  !!!

Many times they're right!  Occasionally though, they DO find something THAT big and I have bought several nice pairs of shoes.

Today, we were shopping with Jenny, our student missionary. 

She checked out a few pairs of shoes too.  She didn't get these: 

 ...or these:

 Ramon suggested these:

...but she didn't take his suggestion.  She went with a cute pair of tan sandals. 
 
Here we are waiting for the girls to find us some shoes THAT big.  (She wears size 8/39 too.)

Well, I needed some walking shoes and finally found some sturdy looking ones that could withstand the rocks and ruts in the pathways.  The girl helping us sent a young man to the back to find, "the big ones" as I heard her tell him.  He came back holding a box (later I noticed it was this box:)
(yes, this is the box!!!)

and said very politely and seriously to me, "Are you the one with the big feet?"

Isn't that just too funny?!!!

Well, folks, here are my new Harry Potter walking shoes--
the only walking shoes I could find for my big feet!  :)
(By the way, they're SUPER comfortable!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rice!

It's a typical sight here to see beautiful terraces of rice, the production of which is very important to this country's economy and food supply.  80% of the population of Nepal is involved in agriculture and I've read that around 2000 varieties of rice are grown here!  All around us we see the rice terraces, and also, incidentally, a lot of corn. 

Right in our back yard there are some rice fields.  We've been able to watch the rice grow before our eyes just in the last few months.  Here is what we saw when we first got here in July:

By mid-July, we could see the rice growing with the good rains we were having. 

If you enlarge this picture, you can check out this fellow's "raincoat."

  By the beginning of August, the rice was noticeably higher.

By the way, the corn was growing well too.

Mid-August's rice plants were as tall as the people's legs:
How they work like that for hours is beyond me.  I get a back ache just watching them!

One day some cows wandered over and found enough to eat to stay around for a few hours!

By early September, the rice plants were waist high.

And yesterday, mid-September, I took these pictures of these ladies standing in the fields:
(You might have to enlarge to see them!)
(Regular shot)

(Zoom)

I wonder how high it will go!  I'll let you know!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Money

Here in Nepal, the currency is the Nepalese Rupee which was introduced in 1932.  From the middle of the 17th century until 1932, silver and gold coins called mohars were used.  (I suppose if I ever run across some of those, they would be worth something!)
 
From 1932 until 1951 only coins were used.  In 1951 the banknotes for 1, 5, 10, and 100 rupees were issued and in the 1970s the 50, 500, and 1000 notes were issued.  In the early '80s, the 20 notes and the one for 2 rupees came out (the 1 rupee notes had been discontinued, and I've heard that the 2 rupee notes are also now discontinued).

The current exchange rate is about 74.5 rupees per dollar.

Here is what the money looks like:

Here, take a look up close and see how interesting it is:



The shopkeeper who gave me that 1 rupee note in change told me to keep it as a keepsake.   By the way, the coins are called paisa and there are 100 of them in a rupee.

I bought this wallet so I can be organized:

Shopping anyone?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Women's Festival

This past weekend was the three day Hindu Women's Festival of Teej.  The ladies wear red and both feast and fast while praying for their husbands and children, or for their future husbands if not married.  The first day they gather together to sing devotional songs and dance before having a large meal in the evening.  This is because the second day is the fast, when they go without any food or water.  (Some do choose to have a little fruit and water, others choose nothing.)






 On this fasting day, they will gather in/near the temples to pray and worship.  At the end of the day, after the fast (or semi-fast, whichever they choose to do), traditionally they wash the feet of their husband and drink the water.  Yes, you read that right.  (However, again, some choose to do this and some not.)

The third day is the cleansing day when they go to a river and bathe (some 365 times) with red mud (found on the roots and leaves of a certain bush).  There is also more worshiping.



 At some point, they go to their parents' home for food and gifts, but I'm not sure when.


However, here on our campus, everything was business as usual and we had a lovely church service and potluck dinner!

Take care and God bless!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Red Letter Day!

It was a red letter day!

This week when we went to Kathmandu, it started out as just a regular day.  We were glad for the sunshine however, as monsoon season is still going strong (some days that is!).   Look at that blue sky:

We got to the part in the road, on the descent into the valley where we see this statue

and this scenery

and Ramon said, "Look Kathy!  Get some pictures!"  I said, "I already have pictures of this area."  "But look--take some pictures!"  "But I have enough pictures taken here already."  "Just take a look."  So I looked again and I said to myself, "Hey, what is that?  Is that...over there...behind the mountains...wait...YES IT IS!"

Look closely (double click to enlarge) and see if you can see the majesty before my eyes for the very first time~

I said, "Ramon, look!  It's the snow caps of the Himalayas!!!"  I was so excited and started snapping pictures while saying, "Ramon, look!  Look!"  He simply said, "I tried to tell you."  Because of the rains, the clouds were always covering this amazing sight and now, there it was before my eyes!  Oh boy, what a wonderful thing to behold!  These pictures will never win any prizes, but they'll have a special place in my heart to remind me of my first glimpse of these beautiful mountains!  I just want to say, "Thank you Lord!"

Imagine living here and waking up to this view:

or this!

Do these look familiar?  (They were taken from about the same spot as the picture at the beginning of this post that is just after the statue picture.)





Truly awesome!

When we got to Kathmandu, we got to see something else you don't see every day.  The Nepalese Army soldiers were practicing their maneuvers in the square.
 

We joined this crowd for a closer look.


There were a lot of them!
(They were putting their rifles up and down in domino fashion.)

They also practiced marching

while the band played.  They were quite good too!

To continue our excellent day, we ate lunch here.

We highly recommend it!



And rounding off the excellent day, something cute happened in the grocery store believe it or not!  While browsing in the produce department,

we heard a lady say, "Apple," and a chorus of little voices repeat (loudly) after her, "Apple!"  Then, "Pineapple," and the little voices, "Pineapple!" and then, "Watermelon," and "Watermelon!" etc., etc.  It was so cute!  It was an English class field trip!  Adorable!

All in all, it was certainly a red letter day!  We wish everyone some red letter days this week too!