Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thank you Mom!

My mom is a pianist/organist and the piano especially is one of her loves.  Her dream was to have both of her daughters follow in her footsteps.  However, neither one of us had the same dream.  This didn't stop her from trying though!  My sister and I had no choice--we had to take lessons.  Mom was my first teacher.

This didn't last long (I'll spare you the crying scenes) and soon I got a "real" teacher (--a very patient soul)!  I sort of felt like this:  

Well, I actually took lessons for eight years (I was allowed to stop when I could play hymns), but of course I didn't practice like I should have.

But Mom never gave up!  This is what I said to myself (but not outloud!!!) when she made me play in front of visitors:

She would call to me like this when I was practicing:
...only she would say, "Your timing's off!" or "Do that again." or "Don't even think of stopping now!"  

Mom's theme was, "One day you'll thank me!!!"  "One day you'll live somewhere where there's a need for a pianist and THEN you'll thank me!!!"  "I promise that one day you'll be glad you know how to play the piano and then you'll thank me!"  "Don't give up!  You'll never regret knowing how to play the piano!  You'll see.  You'll thank me one day!"   

Well, folks, the day has come!!!!!  I really AM glad I can play the piano!  I really DON'T regret learning how to play!  I really DO and HAVE lived where there has been a need for a pianist!  So, without further ado:
Here I am playing here at our little church in Nepal, and my mind is on my mom and how really thankful I am that she made me take piano lessons!
Again, thank you Mom!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dashain Festival

As mentioned in my previous post, Nepal has been having another festival for the past two weeks.  This one called Dashain is the biggest national religious festival of the year and lasts for 15 days.  It's held right before the rice harvest (although some have started harvesting already) which is currently the month of Kartik here where the Bikram Sambat calendar is observed.  (Remember, now it's the year 2067 here.  We haven't decided if we want to be really old or really young!) 

School has had a two week holiday.  The kids told me this would be a fun festival because they would eat lots of good food and they would swing.  All over Nepal, bamboo poles were erected so the young and young at heart could swing!

We didn't swing.  Ramon was too busy and I got a little car sick on the drive I was able to go on with some of the other missionaries.  I was so happy to go on the drive (and had time because of the holiday).  We were on a most beautiful road and in these mountains not too far from the hospital:

We did stop at a swing and a couple of folks in the car tried their turn to the delight of the villagers.  However, I was a little woozy from the winding drive so I stayed in the car!  Those of you who know me well won't be surprised to learn that (naturally) while we were in the middle of the drive, I had to find a "pit stop."  No easy task.  We stopped in a little village that had a little row of shops and looked fairly promising.  Both of my camera batteries ran out (also naturally), so this is a picture of a very similar place.  The only difference is that this place has all the stores open, but where we stopped only had two stores open because of the holiday, and it was perched more on the side of the mountain.

Well, there was no toilet I could use, (they always say toilet here) but one man kept saying, "Toilet, Sari, toilet, sari."  I think he was hinting that if I had on a sari I could go anywhere and wouldn't have to be looking for a toilet.  Well, since I didn't have on a sari, eventually we had to find a place like this where we stopped and my friend held up her coat while I went back into the bushes.  It was a most beautiful place
with a view like this looking the other way:
Not bad, don't you think?

Well, anyway, during these two weeks, people visit relatives (many will travel long distances) and the buses were slightly (SLIGHTLY) crowded!!!

This one is blurry because it was zooming by me, but I wanted to show you how crowded it was!

We also saw lots of whole families on motorcycles!  The mother here got on just after I took the picture.  The father was so happy and smiling at me and the kids so, so cute!  I've seen several motorcycles with five people but never was able to get a picture.

They also shop!  

This little cutie captured my heart!  Her mom tried on several dresses, but once she got this one on, that was it.  She wasn't taking it off!  :)
Here is another little adorable "shopper" checking out the blankets!

For some families, this is the main (and maybe only) time they can get new clothes and shoes.

The celebrations commemorate the victory of the gods over the demons.  There are lots of songs, prayers, invocations, rituals, offerings, (different things on different days) and sacrifices.  Thousands of animals are slaughtered.  In my last post, I posted a few pictures of people selling/buying animals.  Those who aren't vegetarians eat the meat.  Poorer families will pool their money together to be able to afford something and then share.

Here is a picture of one of the temporary temples put up in Banepa just for the holiday.
At some point during the festival, the elders mix together rice, yogurt, and vermilion and place it on their families' foreheads for blessings.    

They also put barley sprouts in their hair for blessings.

There have been accidents, such as this one, which have kept Ramon and the other doctors very busy.

One patient this week was a lady from California who broke her arm while trekking.  We were the nearest hospital.  Somewhere they found a tiny clinic where she got a splint made from sticks, and then she had to hike out of the mountains for two days (with her Sherpa) until they got to a place where they could get an ambulance which drove for I can't remember how long.  Can  you imagine?!  I had some nice visits with her.  She left this morning with a smile on her face and stories to tell her grandchildren!  (Yes, she was a grandmother!)

Well, that's it for now.  Everything is back to normal now, at least until Diwali, our next festival coming up soon!  

This week our church is having a week of prayer, so please keep that in your prayers!  Thanks and have a nice day! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This past week we celebrated our joint birthday!  We enjoy having the same birthday and Ramon says he married me because it's easy to remember my birthday!  It fell on Wednesday, which is our "town day" when we go to Kathmandu.  Before we left we were called to the Operating Room where we were given a gift (nice picture frame), card, and flowers by the OR staff.  It was really nice!
Ramon told them it was fun to turn 25!

As we drove into Kathmandu, we again were treated with the beautiful sight of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas!  This was my second time (remember The Red Letter Day post?) and it definitely is a sight you never tire of!
(Double click to enlarge if you want.)

Nepal is in the middle of a two week festival (I'll tell about it soon) so it's slightly more crowded than usual when you're out and about.

Goats are in evidence everywhere as people are buying them to sacrifice.

I tend to think that this one is a family pet by the way he was (literally) knocking on the door.

Anyway, when we got to Kathmandu, we first went to the bakery like we usually do.  Yum!

Here is the other side of the street, where you can see a usual site.

Then we headed to Bhat Bhatini, a grocery/department store.  It's the kind of place that my dad would have said this about:  "If they don't have it, you don't need it."  Sometimes we see things that are new to us--at least I haven't seen these flavors before:

Actually, here is what we bought:
Although we are liking Yak cheese, it was REALLY nice to find these!!!!!!

Then we headed to Thamel, the tourist haven.  It's a fun place to walk around.

Lunch was in a nice restaurant with our friends who also had "town day."

After lunch we parted ways with the others and went here:

the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where we ate lunch few weeks ago.  We liked it so much we decided to spend the night for our birthday and go home the next morning with one of the doctors who lives in Kathmandu and travels to Banepa every morning.  

Here's where we ate dinner--and yes, it really was good!

They brought us a cake at the end of our meal, and also brought us one to our room!
(I need to get Ramon's memory card for another picture.  
He takes more time than I do so his pictures are a little better!  
But for now, this will do!)

The happiest part of our birthday was actually when we turned on the TV and discovered that the Chilean miners' rescue was under way!!!  We got to see quite a few come to the surface that night, and we woke up just in time to see the last two come up!!!  Boy, what good news and we wish them all the best!  (We found out that the Bibles sent down to them were from our church!  Ps. 40 had been highlighted, and all the families received Bibles too.)

To round off our birthday celebration, we had a Food and Game Night on Saturday evening when we also celebrated Elena's (one of our volunteers) birthday, which was Sunday.
(That candle is from China.  There was a long flame in the center
at first and then it "sang" Happy Birthday for some time!!)

Thank you Lord for another year of life!