Kathmandu Christmas

So here we are in Kathmandu without eggnog, Frank Sinatra, Macaulay Culkin or Macy’s Parade, we are far away from our family and our hostel isn’t, well very Christmassy and nothing reminds of the home where we normally spend this time of year.¬† So as we are far away from everything we know to be Christmas we are hoping that we might be able to take the oppurtunity to be born into a new type of Christmas, one that we’ve heard about but never really aspired to before. I won’t say the real Christmas because I think what we’ve always had has been real, but it is different. Personally I am more than gratefull to be away from CHRISTMAS SALE and TOP TEN TECH GIFTS 2010 and JINGLE ALL THE WAY and while we certaintly miss our familys and the giving and warmth of all our tradition, I am excited to join maybe a little bit of Christs identity in Christmas and that seems to be one of lonliness and discomfort. As romantic as we’ve made the nativity scene the truth is that Mary had none of her family to help with the birth and donkey poo stinks and hay is scratchy. Christ was born homeless and without much of what we call security. I think it was important for the man Jesus to be born in a way that was going to prepare him for his life of detachment from a worldy system that demands attachment and settlement. Our hope this year is to be born into that, as I think it is key to living a life that is given to others as Christ life was.

That being said we are still celebrating Christmas it is just looking very different. We do have sufjan Stevens Christmas Album on our IPOD and we joined a friend of a friend for the weekend who took us to her Tibetan church for a Christmas service, which was alot of fun. We have also had an amazing time exploring Kathmandu. Our new friend who’s name is Rose lives in a part of Kathmandu where most of the Tibetan Refugees live and getting to meet and talk with some of these people has been amazing as we learn about their journeys and stories and culture. Kathmandu has also amazed us with incredible beauty that we weren’t expecting to find in such a big city. While the lack of electricity and heat has been at times frustrating, overall it has added an element of romanticism to a city that is moving from the ancient to the modern. It has also helped us to really search out our hearts for meaning instead of simply relying on nostalgia and comfort to carry us through this season, not to mention it has perhaps been one of the best spots yet to get some really great photos. So to Everyone back home MERRY CHRISTMAS from Kathmandu, see you next year in Singapore!!!!

Annapurna

Canyons, mules, tea, stone guest houses with wooden fronts, dal bhat, peanut butter from Pokhara to remind us of home, early night and morning sore muscles and cold water- day one.

It feels great to be truly in the middle of nowhere… they are building a road, it took us three days to get past it, there is a place you can land a small plane, but we really are out there, and so far from home.

 

The family sits around the fire, Mel and Eric wash their feet, Michael is sick in bed. We finally hit freezing temps at 9000 feet. The mother is churning yak butter. She made us a nice curry. Hungry travelers are easy to please. I feel like a traveler of old walking from village to village reliant on others for survival.

The mornings are cold and full of magic. Tibetans are hidden amongst the trees gathering fire wood and smoke creeps through the forest disclosing a family’s house otherwise hidden. The people tolerate us and the guest houses welcome us but it is clear we are foreigners.

The peaks rise through the silence, somber giants portioning out only a few hours of sunlight before their shadows reign.

The sound of the horses bells reminds me of Christmas. The sun finally breaks through at 11:30 and the colors of the prayer flags come to life and the rattle of the prayer wheels breaks the stillness.

In a sense we are uninvited guests and we join an army of 60,000 travelers that live off these villages a year, bringing much profit and much reluctance…we tread lightly.

The children are playful the women beautiful and the men mysterious, as glad as I am that we are here part of me wishes we never came, any of us, and all of this was left a hidden sanctuary of simple life surrounded by complex beauty.

Our group is complex held together by our casual demeanors. We each have different motivations and paces and hold-ups yet we press on.

The day haunts us with beauty and it drives our limbs forward against our will somehow. The drought of the valley below and the enormous hight of the himal (that draws the blue sky to our finger tips) calls us forward against the wind and our will. And we pray.