on Monday, March 19, 2012
Reuben and I are leaving for Kathmandu tomorrow! Reuben's 7-day water seminar begins on March 24. We're heading out a few days early and will stay a few days afterward, coming back on April 6th. My preparations:

Download 2 Lonely Planet Nepal chapters - because I can't survive without Lonely Planet, and they are coming out with a new edition in July so I didn't want to buy the current book (plus, it's ridiculously expensive here!) Lonely Planet sells their chapters as PDFs now!

Brushed up on my DSLR camera functions - and I'm bringing a handy guide. If I'm going to take the effort to lug around my huge camera, I'd might as well know how to use it.

Made 2 batches of LARA Bars, which makes about 6 normal size bars. Yum.

Ziplocked (let's pretend that is a real verb because you all know what I mean) my instant oats - because all I need is hot water!

Printed my at-home body-weight workouts - because I need an indoor alternative.

Borrowed jacket - because I didn't even bring one here.

Borrowed books - yay! I just got my card for the Dalat school library. It's practically the best thing that's ever happened to me. I wisely selected my traveling books my based on size and weight. No hardcover books allowed!

Emptied refrigerator - We'll only be gone a little over 2 weeks, but I used up everything perishable in last night's sweet and sour tofu. You really don't know how gross your fridge is until there's nothing in it - so I also got around to cleaning it today.

Our flight leaves from here at 8am, and we'll get into Kathmandu in the early afternoon. They are 2 hours and 15 minutes behind us. Why the 15 minutes? I just learned that here.

I am looking forward to a change in weather - it's been unreasonably hot & humid here and it is currently 73 degrees F in Kathmandu right now. That, to me right now, sounds like bliss. I'm hoping for clear skies so we can see the Annapurnas!

Reject Shop

on Saturday, March 17, 2012

This being Asia, it is quite impossible to find clothes that fit me. I'm by no means large or anything, but I don't think I could even squeeze into an Asian XL. At least it keeps me from shopping, most of the time! Enter Reject Shop. Despite its questionable name, the Reject Shop (and a similar store called FOS) is the Asian equivalent of Ross or TJ Maxx - they sell discount branded clothing from Europe and the U.S. What does this mean? I can find clothes that fit me, in styles I actually might wear! Their clothing often comes from Target stores, H&M, Old Navy, etc. Today I scored and found a pair of perfect fitting JCrew jeans! Hooray.

1st grade

on Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I have been teaching a 1st grade class for the past three days. I've taught them about probability in math (more likely, less likely, equally likely?), the wrath of God (Bible verse of the week, Romans 1:18a), and the Caste system of ancient India. Heavy stuff for 1st grade, no?
Today I also told them the story of Prince Siddhartha (Buddha). This, my friends, is the illustrated history of how the Buddha came to be:

Doesn't he look so blissfully enlightened in the end? I never thought I'd say this, but I love first grade.

Sweaty mess

on Thursday, March 8, 2012
Reuben needed the car on one morning that I had 2 things on my agenda: a run, and a trip to the market. I devised a brilliant plan that would allow me to accomplish both at the same time. At the end of my run I would swing by the market, pick up what I needed, and then walk home. The market is only about 3/4 mile away, and I wasn't going to be picking up that much stuff so I would have a ton to carry (misconceptions starting here - going to the market is like going to Target - you go in for one thing and you end up with a basket full). I normally don't care what I look like when I go to the market, since I usually go in the morning right after I've showered anyway, but coming into the market a hot, sweaty mess (like I am at the end of any run or moderate exertion here in this heat & humidity) was, dare I say, humiliating? I've never noticed how crowded it can get around the produce stands until I was soaking wet, dripping in sweat, and trying not to make any physical contact with anyone around me (no small feat!) I felt badly for those who had to smell me or accept my soggy dollar bills. I graciously tried to not touch anything that I did not plan on purchasing. I will not go to the market like this again.


on Sunday, March 4, 2012
We went to the Botanical Gardens today. We never see monkeys where we live anymore, because I think they all moved there. Signs that ask people not to feed the monkeys do not seem to be effective. I guess they need to be a little more aggressive in their approach and start fining people, like Singapore does.

These are not the cute & cuddly monkeys like the Dusky Leaf monkey. They steal and have fangs.


on Friday, March 2, 2012
Although the alleged monsoon season is considered to be between May-September here in Penang, it seems like we're always having either a dry "wet season" or a wet "dry season". It can go weeks without raining, or it could rain twice every day. If we're at home, we can see the rain coming!

The storm on thursday night was intense. Our balcony table and chairs were flying everywhere (thankfully not OFF the balcony), trees were being blown down from their roots, streets were flooding, roofs were ripped off houses, and lightning struck our guard house and short circuited the automatic gate. How exciting!

Mango passion fruit heaven

on Thursday, March 1, 2012

Have you ever eaten a passion fruit before? I don't think I have until a few months ago. They look super ugly on the outside but on the inside reveal little yellow nuggets of heaven. Press them through a sieve and what do you get? Liquid gold.

Combined with some mango and white sugar, they make a delicious jam. This isn't your run-of-the-mill homemade jam. It is the sort of thing that deserves to be eaten on the beach, under a palm tree, and a drink with an umbrella. It's one of those things that makes me feel lucky to be here, to have such an amazing of tropical goodies to enjoy.

Come to think of it, I've never seen a drink here with one of those paper umbrellas. It's not really that fussy of a place, I guess.